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Europe :: Faroe Islands
(part of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Page last updated on July 13, 2016
 
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Faroe Islands
  • Introduction :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was granted the Faroese in 1948, who have autonomy over most internal affairs while Denmark is responsible for justice, defense, and foreign affairs. The Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union.
  • Geography :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between Iceland and Norway
    62 00 N, 7 00 W
    Europe
    total: 1,393 sq km
    land: 1,393 sq km
    water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    eight times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    1,117 km
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
    mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
    rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
    fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
    agricultural land: 2.1%
    arable land 2.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 0.1%
    other: 97.8% (2011 est.)
    NA
    NA
    party to: Marine Dumping - associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution
    archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
  • People and Society :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Faroese
    Faroese 89.2% (Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon descent), Danish 7.1%, other 3.7% (includes Icelander, Norwegian, Greenlander, Filipino, Thai, British)
    note: data represent respondents by country of birth (2011 est.)
    Faroese 93.8% (derived from Old Norse), Danish 3.2%, other 3% (2011 est.)
    Christian 89.3% (predominantly Evangelical Lutheran), other 0.7%, more than one religion 0.2%, none 3.8%, unspecified 6% (2011 est.)
    50,196 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0-14 years: 20.1% (male 5,224/female 4,866)
    15-24 years: 14.96% (male 3,848/female 3,662)
    25-54 years: 37.04% (male 10,090/female 8,502)
    55-64 years: 11.73% (male 3,033/female 2,854)
    65 years and over: 16.17% (male 3,926/female 4,191) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 37.7 years
    male: 37.1 years
    female: 38.4 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    0.51% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    13.77 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    8.71 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    urban population: 42% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 0.47% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    TORSHAVN (capital) 21,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 5.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 5.86 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 5.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    total population: 80.24 years
    male: 77.73 years
    female: 82.93 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    2.37 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    4.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    NA
    NA
    NA
  • Government :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Faroe Islands
    local long form: none
    local short form: Foroyar
    etymology: the archipelgo's name may derive from the Old Norse word "faer," meaning sheep
    part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
    parliamentary democracy (Faroese Parliament); part of the Kingdom of Denmark
    name: Torshavn
    geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 6 46 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 30 municipalities
    none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    Olaifest (Olavsoka), 29 July
    5 June 1953 (Danish Constitution), 23 March 1948 (Home Rule Act), and 24 June 2005 (Takeover Act) serve as the Faroe Islands constitutional position in the Unity of the Realm (2016)
    the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
    see Denmark
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Dan Michael KNUDSEN, chief administrative officer (since 2008)
    head of government: Prime Minister Aksel V. JOHANNESEN (since 15 September 2015)
    cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held on 1 September 2015
    election results: Aksel V. JOHANNESEN elected prime minister; Parliament vote - NA
    description: unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    note: election of 2 seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 18 June 2015 (next to be held no later than June 2019); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Social Democratic Party 1, Republic 1
    elections: last held on 1 September 2015 (next to be held no later than October 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Social Democratic Party 25.1%, Republic 20.7%, People's Party, 18.9%, Union Party 18.7%, Progressive Party 7.0%, Center Party 5.5%, Self-Government Party 4.1%; seats by party - Social Democratic Party 8, Republic 7, People's Party 6, Union Party 6, Center Party 2, Progressive Party 2, Self-Government Party 2
    the Faroese Court or Raett (Ret - Danish) decides both civil and criminal cases; the Court is part of the Danish legal system
    Center Party (Midflokkurin) [Jenis av RANA]
    Independence (or Self-Govenment) Party (Sjalvstyrisflokkurin) [Jogvan SKORHEIM]
    People's Party (Folkaflokkurin) [Jorgen NICLASEN]
    Progressive Party (Framsokn) [Poul MICHELSEN]
    Republic (Tjodveldi) (formerly the Republican Party) [Hogni HOYDAL]
    Social Democratic Party (Javnadarflokkurin) [Aksel V. JOHANNESEN]
    Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin) [Bardur a STEIG NIELSEN]
    other: conservationists
    Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UNESCO (associate), UPU
    none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); referred to as Merkid, meaning "the banner" or "the mark," the flag resembles those of neighboring Iceland and Norway, and uses the same three colors - but in a different sequence; white represents the clear Faroese sky as well as the foam of the waves; red and blue are traditional Faroese colors
    ram; national colors: red, white, blue
    name: "Mitt alfagra land" (My Fairest Land)
    lyrics/music: Simun av SKAROI/Peter ALBERG
    note: adopted 1948; the anthem is also known as "Tu alfagra land mitt" (Thou Fairest Land of Mine); as a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark, the Faroe Islands are permitted their own national anthem
  • Economy :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • The Faroese economy has experienced a period of significant growth since 2011, due to increases in fish prices, salmon farming, and catches in the pelagic fisheries. Nominal GDP growth was an estimated 7.5% in 2013 and 5.9% in 2014. The fisheries sector accounts for about 95% of exports and half of GDP. Unemployment is low, estimated at 2.9% in mid-2015.
    The public budget has exhibited deficits since 2008, which were financed through increased borrowing. Public debt reached 38% of GDP in 2015. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark amounting to about 4% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living equal to that of Denmark.
    Dependence on fishing makes the economy vulnerable to price fluctuations. Projections for fish prices are favorable and increasing public infrastructure investments are likely to lead to continued growth in the short term.
    $1.831 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.729 billion (2013 est.)
    $1.471 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    $2.32 billion (2010 est.)
    5.9% (2014 est.)
    7.5% (2013 est.)
    2.9% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $36,600 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    agriculture: 16%
    industry: 29%
    services: 55% (2007 est.)
    milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, herring, mackerel and other fish
    fishing, fish processing, tourism, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
    3.4% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    25,000 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    agriculture: 10.7%
    industry: 18.9%
    services: 70.3% (November 2010)
    2.9% (2015 est.)
    3.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    NA%
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $1.025 billion
    expenditures: $1.301 billion
    note: Denmark supplies the Faroe Islands with almost one-third of their public funds (2010 est.)
    44.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    -11.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    calendar year
    2.3% (2011)
    0.4% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    $824 million (2010)
    $767 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    fish and fish products 95%, ships (2009 est.)
    Russia 20.2%, UK 16.6%, Denmark 16.3%, Nigeria 11.6%, China 9.3%, US 7.2%, Netherlands 5.6%, Norway 4% (2015)
    $776 million (2010)
    $786 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    goods for household consumption, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials and semi-manufactures, cars
    Denmark 43.9%, Turkey 12.3%, Norway 10%, China 6.2%, Netherlands 4.9%, Germany 4.4% (2015)
    $888.8 million (2010)
    $68.1 million (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
    6.588 (2011)
    5.3687 (2011)
    5.3687 (2011)
    5.79 (2012 est.)
    5.3687 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • 281 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    261.3 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    108,100 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    60.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    36.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    3.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    4,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    4,879 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    753,400 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
  • Communications :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • total subscriptions: 17,300
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    total: 61,400
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
    domestic: conversion to digital system completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
    international: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable (2011)
    1 publicly owned TV station; the Faroese telecommunications company distributes local and international channels through its digital terrestrial network; publicly owned radio station supplemented by 3 privately owned stations broadcasting over multiple frequencies (2015)
    AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
    3 (plus 43 repeaters) (September 1995)
    .fo
    7,575 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    total: 44,000
    percent of population: 88.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
  • Transportation :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 960 km (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    total: 37
    by type: cargo 20, chemical tanker 7, container 2, passenger/cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 2
    foreign-owned: 28 (Iceland 4, Norway 13, Sweden 11) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    major seaport(s): Fuglafjordur, Torshavn, Vagur
  • Military and Security :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • no regular military forces; the Government of Denmark has responsibility for defense; as such, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command is responsible for territorial defense of the Faroe Islands (2016)
    defense is the responsibility of Denmark
  • Transnational Issues :: FAROE ISLANDS

  • because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
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