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Australia - Oceania :: Tuvalu Print
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  • Introduction :: Tuvalu
  • Background field listing
    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 field listing
    Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way from Hawaii to Australia
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    8 00 S, 178 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Oceania
    Area field listing
    total: 26 sq km
    land: 26 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 238
    Area - comparative field listing
    0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    24 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate field listing
    tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
    Terrain field listing
    low-lying and narrow coral atolls
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 2 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    5 highest point: unnamed location
    Natural resources field listing
    fish, coconut (copra)
    Land use field listing
    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 field listing
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    over half of the population resides on the atoll of Funafuti
    Natural hazards field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    11,147 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 222
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Tuvaluan(s)
    adjective: Tuvaluan
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Tuvaluan 86.8%, Tuvaluan/I-Kiribati 5.6%, Tuvaluan/other 6.7%, other 0.9% (2012 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Tuvaluan (official), English (official), Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
    Religions field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    total: 26 years
    male: 25 years
    female: 27.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.86% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Birth rate field listing
    23.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Death rate field listing
    8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Net migration rate field listing
    -6.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Population distribution field listing
    over half of the population resides on the atoll of Funafuti
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 62.4% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 2.27% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    7,000 FUNAFUTI (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    2.93 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Health expenditures field listing
    16.5% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    Physicians density field listing
    1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    51.6% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Education expenditures field listing
    NA
  • Government :: Tuvalu
  • Country name field listing
    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 field listing
    parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
    Capital field listing
    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 field listing
    7 island councils and 1 town council*; Funafuti*, Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
    Independence field listing
    1 October 1978 (from the UK)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
    Constitution field listing
    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 field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    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 field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    there are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
    International organization participation field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
    Flag description field listing
    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) field listing
    maneapa (native meeting house); national colors: light blue, yellow
    National anthem field listing
    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 field listing

    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) field listing
    $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) field listing
    $40 million (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    3.2% (2017 est.)
    3% (2016 est.)
    9.1% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $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 field listing
    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 field listing
    agriculture: 24.5% (2012 est.)
    industry: 5.6% (2012 est.)
    services: 70% (2012 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    coconuts; fish
    Industries field listing
    fishing
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    -26.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Labor force field listing
    3,615 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 225
    Labor force - by occupation field listing

    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 field listing

    NA

    Population below poverty line field listing
    26.3% (2010 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    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 field listing
    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 (-) field listing
    25.6% (of GDP) (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Public debt field listing
    37% of GDP (2017 est.)
    47.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    4.1% (2017 est.)
    3.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing
    10.6% (31 December 2013 est.)
    10.6% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Market value of publicly traded shares field listing
    $0 (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Current account balance field listing
    $2 million (2017 est.)
    $8 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Exports field listing
    $600,000 (2010 est.)
    $1 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    Exports - commodities field listing
    copra, fish
    Exports - partners field listing
    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 field listing
    $19.09 billion (2017 est.)
    $238.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Imports - commodities field listing
    food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
    Imports - partners field listing
    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 field listing

    NA

    Exchange rates field listing
    Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.311 (2017 est.)
    1.3442 (2016 est.)
  • Energy :: Tuvalu
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 6,137 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 45% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 57% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 32% (2012)
    Electricity - production field listing
    11.8 million kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    5,100 kW (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    96% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 205
  • Communications :: Tuvalu
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 2,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 7,600 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Telephone system field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    .tv
    Internet users field listing
    total: 5,042 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 46% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    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 field listing
    T2 (2016)
    Airports field listing
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 237
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 8 km (2011)
    paved: 8 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    Merchant marine field listing
    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 field listing
    major seaport(s): Funafuti
  • Military and Security :: Tuvalu
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Tuvalu
  • Disputes - international field listing
    none