Australia - Oceania :: Tuvalu
  • Introduction :: Tuvalu
  • Background:
    In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" for $50 million in royalties over a 12-year period. The agreement was subsequently renegotiated but details were not disclosed.
  • Geography :: Tuvalu
  • Location:
    Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way from Hawaii to Australia
    Geographic coordinates:
    8 00 S, 178 00 E
    Map references:
    Oceania
    Area:
    total: 26 sq km
    land: 26 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 238
    Area - comparative:
    0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    24 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
    Terrain:
    low-lying and narrow coral atolls
    Elevation:
    mean elevation: 2 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    5 highest point: unnamed location
    Natural resources:
    fish, coconut (copra)
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 60% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 60% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 33.3% (2011 est.)
    other: 6.7% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    over half of the population resides on the atoll of Funafuti
    Natural hazards:
    severe tropical storms are usually rare, but in 1997 there were three cyclones; low levels of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
    Environment - current issues:
    water needs met by catchment systems; the use of sand as a building material has led to beachhead erosion; deforestation; damage to coral reefs from increasing ocean temperatures and acidification; rising sea levels threaten water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note:
    one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
  • People and Society :: Tuvalu
  • Population:
    11,147 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 222
    Nationality:
    noun: Tuvaluan(s)
    adjective: Tuvaluan
    Ethnic groups:
    Tuvaluan 86.8%, Tuvaluan/I-Kiribati 5.6%, Tuvaluan/other 6.7%, other 0.9% (2012 est.)
    Languages:
    Tuvaluan (official), English (official), Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
    Religions:
    Protestant 92.4% (Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu 85.7%, Brethren 3%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.8%, Assemblies of God .9%), Baha'i 2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, Mormon 1%, other 3.1%, none 0.2% (2012 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 29.32% (male 1,675 /female 1,593)
    15-24 years: 18.63% (male 1,078 /female 999)
    25-54 years: 36.91% (male 2,080 /female 2,034)
    55-64 years: 8.86% (male 404 /female 584)
    65 years and over: 6.28% (male 274 /female 426) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age:
    total: 26 years
    male: 25 years
    female: 27.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Population growth rate:
    0.86% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Birth rate:
    23.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Death rate:
    8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Net migration rate:
    -6.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Population distribution:
    over half of the population resides on the atoll of Funafuti
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 62.4% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 2.27% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    7,000 FUNAFUTI (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.69 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 28.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 30.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 25.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 67.2 years (2018 est.)
    male: 65 years (2018 est.)
    female: 69.5 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Total fertility rate:
    2.93 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Health expenditures:
    16.5% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    Physicians density:
    1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 98.3% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 97% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 97.7% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 3% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 86.3% of population (2012 est.)
    rural: 80.2% of population (2012 est.)
    total: 83.3% of population (2012 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 13.7% of population (2012 est.)
    rural: 19.8% of population (2012 est.)
    total: 16.7% of population (2012 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    51.6% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Education expenditures:
    NA
  • Government :: Tuvalu
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Tuvalu
    local long form: none
    local short form: Tuvalu
    former: Ellice Islands
    etymology: "tuvalu" means "group of eight" or "eight standing together" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
    Capital:
    name: Funafuti; note - the capital is an atoll of some 29 islets; administrative offices are in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet
    geographic coordinates: 8 31 S, 179 13 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    7 island councils and 1 town council*; Funafuti*, Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
    Independence:
    1 October 1978 (from the UK)
    National holiday:
    Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
    Constitution:
    history: previous 1978 (at independence); latest effective 1 October 1986 (2017)
    amendments: proposed by the House of Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership in the final reading; amended 2007, 2010, 2013 (2017)
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent only: yes; for a child born abroad, at least one parent must be a citizen of Tuvalu
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: na
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Iakoba TAEIA Italeli (since 16 April 2010)
    head of government: Prime Minister Enele SOPOAGA (since 5 August 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on recommendation of the prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from members of House of Assembly following parliamentary elections
    election results: Enele SOPOAGA elected prime minister by House of Assembly; House of Assembly vote count on 4 August 2013 - 8 to 5; note - Willie TELAVI removed as prime minister by the governor general on 1 August 2013
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral House of Assembly or Fale I Fono (15 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 31 March 2015 (next to be held in 2019)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 15; 12 members reelected
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and not less than 3 appeals judges); High Court (consists of the chief justice); appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: Appeal Court judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the Cabinet; judges' tenure based on terms of appointment; High Court chief justice appointed by the governor general on the advice of the Cabinet; chief justice appointed for life; other judges appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Cabinet after consultation with chief justice; tenure of judges set by terms of appointment
    subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; island courts; land courts
    Political parties and leaders:
    there are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
    International organization participation:
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, IBRD, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS (observer), ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    none; the Tuvalu Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the Embassy; it is headed by Samuelu LALONIU (since 21 July 2017); address: 685 Third Avenue, Suite 1104, New York, NY 10017; telephone: [1](212)490-0534; FAX: [1](212)808-4975
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
    Flag description:
    light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow, five-pointed stars on a blue field symbolizing the nine atolls in the ocean
    National symbol(s):
    maneapa (native meeting house); national colors: light blue, yellow
    National anthem:
    name: "Tuvalu mo te Atua" (Tuvalu for the Almighty)
    lyrics/music: Afaese MANOA

    note: adopted 1978; the anthem's name is also the nation's motto

  • Economy :: Tuvalu
  • Economy - overview:

    Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. Only eight of the atolls are inhabited. It is one of the smallest countries in the world, with its highest point at 4.6 meters above sea level. The country is isolated, almost entirely dependent on imports, particularly of food and fuel, and vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels, which pose significant challenges to development.

    The public sector dominates economic activity. Tuvalu has few natural resources, except for its fisheries. Earnings from fish exports and fishing licenses for Tuvalu’s territorial waters are a significant source of government revenue. In 2013, revenue from fishing licenses doubled and totaled more than 45% of GDP.

    Official aid from foreign development partners has also increased. Tuvalu has substantial assets abroad. The Tuvalu Trust Fund, an international trust fund established in 1987 by development partners, has grown to $104 million (A$141 million) in 2014 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government's budget. While remittances are another substantial source of income, the value of remittances has declined since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, but has stabilized at nearly $4 million per year. The financial impact of climate change and the cost of climate related adaptation projects is one of many concerns for the nation.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $42 million (2017 est.)
    $40.68 million (2016 est.)
    $39.48 million (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 226
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $40 million (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    3.2% (2017 est.)
    3% (2016 est.)
    9.1% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $3,800 (2017 est.)
    $3,700 (2016 est.)
    $3,600 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 180
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    government consumption: 87% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 24.3% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 43.7% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -66.1% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 24.5% (2012 est.)
    industry: 5.6% (2012 est.)
    services: 70% (2012 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    coconuts; fish
    Industries:
    fishing
    Industrial production growth rate:
    -26.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Labor force:
    3,615 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 225
    Labor force - by occupation:

    note: most people make a living through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls - and through overseas remittances (mostly from workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)

    Unemployment rate:

    NA

    Population below poverty line:
    26.3% (2010 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 42.68 million (2013 est.)
    expenditures: 32.46 million (2012 est.)

    note: revenue data include Official Development Assistance from Australia

    Taxes and other revenues:
    106.7% (of GDP) (2013 est.)

    note: revenue data include Official Development Assistance from Australia

    country comparison to the world: 1
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    25.6% (of GDP) (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Public debt:
    37% of GDP (2017 est.)
    47.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    4.1% (2017 est.)
    3.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    10.6% (31 December 2013 est.)
    10.6% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Market value of publicly traded shares:
    $0 (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Current account balance:
    $2 million (2017 est.)
    $8 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Exports:
    $600,000 (2010 est.)
    $1 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    Exports - commodities:
    copra, fish
    Exports - partners:
    US 18.2%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 17%, Fiji 14.8%, Nigeria 14.2%, Germany 8.2%, South Africa 5.9%, Colombia 5.1% (2017)
    Imports:
    $19.09 billion (2017 est.)
    $238.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Imports - commodities:
    food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
    Imports - partners:
    Singapore 33.4%, South Korea 11.5%, Australia 10.8%, NZ 8%, Fiji 7.5%, Chile 6.1%, South Africa 5%, Japan 5% (2017)
    Debt - external:

    NA

    Exchange rates:
    Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.311 (2017 est.)
    1.3442 (2016 est.)
  • Energy :: Tuvalu
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 6,137 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 45% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 57% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 32% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    11.8 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    5,100 kW (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    96% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 205
  • Communications :: Tuvalu
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 2,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 7,600 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications (2015)
    domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands (2015)
    international: country code - 688; international calls can be made by satellite (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    no TV stations; many households use satellite dishes to watch foreign TV stations; 1 government-owned radio station, Radio Tuvalu, includes relays of programming from international broadcasters (2009)
    Internet country code:
    .tv
    Internet users:
    total: 5,042 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 46% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 1,000 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
  • Transportation :: Tuvalu
  • Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    T2 (2016)
    Airports:
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 237
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 8 km (2011)
    paved: 8 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    Merchant marine:
    total: 245 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 18, container ship 2, general cargo 36, oil tanker 27, other 162 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Funafuti
  • Military and Security :: Tuvalu
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Tuvalu
  • Disputes - international:
    none