Australia-Oceania :: PALAU
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  • Introduction :: PALAU

  • After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.
  • Geography :: PALAU

  • Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
    7 30 N, 134 30 E
    total: 459 sq km
    land: 459 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 198
    slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    1,519 km
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
    varying topography from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m
    forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
    agricultural land: 10.8%
    arable land 2.2%; permanent crops 4.3%; permanent pasture 4.3%
    forest: 87.6%
    other: 1.6% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2012)
    typhoons (June to December)
    inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands
  • People and Society :: PALAU

  • 21,347 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    noun: Palauan(s)
    adjective: Palauan
    Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 72.5%, Carolinian 1%, other Micronesian 2.4%, Filipino 16.3%, Chinese 1.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other Asian 3.4%, white 0.9%, other 0.3% (2005 est.)
    Palauan (official on most islands) 66.6%, Carolinian 0.7%, other Micronesian 0.7%, English (official) 15.5%, Filipino 10.8%, Chinese 1.8%, other Asian 2.6%, other 1.3%
    note: Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official) (2005 est.)
    Roman Catholic 49.4%, Protestant 30.9% (includes Protestant (general) 23.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.3%, and other Protestant 2.5%), Modekngei 8.7% (indigenous to Palau), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 8.8%, none or unspecified 1.1% (2005 est.)
    0-14 years: 19.93% (male 2,196/female 2,059)
    15-24 years: 17.02% (male 1,814/female 1,819)
    25-54 years: 46.03% (male 5,997/female 3,829)
    55-64 years: 9.35% (male 697/female 1,299)
    65 years and over: 7.67% (male 429/female 1,208) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 33.3 years
    male: 32.7 years
    female: 34.7 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    0.39% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    11.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    urban population: 87.1% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MELEKEOK (capital) 299 (2012)
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.57 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.54 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.37 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    total: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 12.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    total population: 73.1 years
    male: 69.9 years
    female: 76.5 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    1.71 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    9% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    1.38 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    4.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    urban: 97% of population
    rural: 86% of population
    total: 95.3% of population
    urban: 3% of population
    rural: 14% of population
    total: 4.7% of population (2011 est.)
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    47.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 99.5%
    male: 99.5%
    female: 99.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 17 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 18 years (2013)
  • Government :: PALAU

  • conventional long form: Republic of Palau
    conventional short form: Palau
    local long form: Beluu er a Belau
    local short form: Belau
    former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District
    etymology: from the Palauan name for the islands, Belau, which likely derives from the Palauan word "beluu" meaning "village"
    presidential republic in free association with the US
    name: Ngerulmud
    geographic coordinates: 7 31 N, 134 37 E
    time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol
    1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
    Constitution Day, 9 July (1981), day of a national referendum to pass the new constitution; Independence Day, 1 October (1994)
    ratified 9 July 1980, effective 1 January 1981; amended 1992, 2004, 2008 (2016)
    mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Palau
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: note - no procedure for naturalization
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate; also includes the vice president; the Council of Chiefs consists of chiefs from each of the states who advise the president on issues concerning traditional laws, customs, and their relationship to the constitution and laws of Palau
    elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on separate ballots by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 1 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)
    election results: Tommy REMENGESAU elected president; percent of vote - Tommy REMENGESAU 51.3%, Surangel WHIPPS, Jr. 48.7%; Antonio BELLS elected vice president
    description: bicameral National Congress or Olbiil Era Kelulau consists of the Senate (9 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Delegates (16 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); House of Delegates - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 16
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 3 associate justices organized into appellate trial divisions; also within the Supreme Court organization are the Common Pleas and Land Courts)
    judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by a 7-member independent body consisting of judges, presidential appointees, and lawyers, and appointed by the president; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courts
    chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA (since 12 November 1997)
    chancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
    FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281
    consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Helen P. REED-ROWE (since 27 September 2013)
    embassy: Koror (no street address)
    mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
    telephone: [680] 587-2920
    FAX: [680] 587-2911
    light blue with a large yellow disk shifted slightly to the hoist side; the blue color represents the ocean, the disk represents the moon; Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity; it is also considered a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility
    bai (native meeting house); national colors: blue, yellow
    name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau)
    lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL
    note: adopted 1980
  • Economy :: PALAU

  • The economy consists of tourism and other services such as trade, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Government is a major employer of the work force relying on financial assistance from the US under the Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the US that took effect after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994. The US provided Palau with roughly $700 million in aid for the first 15 years following commencement of the Compact in 1994 in return for unrestricted access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly double that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia.
    Business and leisure tourist arrivals numbered over 125,000 in fiscal year 2014, a 13.4% increase over the previous year. Long-run prospects for tourism have been bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of industrial East Asia, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development. Proximity to Guam, the region's major destination for tourists from East Asia, and a regionally competitive tourist infrastructure enhance Palau's advantage as a destination.
    $272 million (2015 est.)
    $248.7 million (2014 est.)
    $238.6 million (2013 est.)
    note: GDP estimate includes US subsidy
    country comparison to the world: 217
    $287 million (2015 est.)
    9.4% (2015 est.)
    4.2% (2014 est.)
    -2.4% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $15,100 (2015 est.)
    $13,800 (2014 est.)
    $13,300 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 106
    agriculture: 3.2%
    industry: 20%
    services: 76.8% (2012 est.)
    coconuts, copra, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish
    tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
    10,470 (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    agriculture: 20%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA% (1990)
    4.2% (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $123.6 million
    expenditures: $97.53 million (2012 est.)
    43.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    9.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    1 October - 30 September
    2.2% (2015 est.)
    4% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    -$1 million (2015 est.)
    -$30 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    $19.1 million (2014 est.)
    $14.4 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
    $177.7 million (2014 est.)
    $146.5 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
    $18.38 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $16.47 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    the US dollar is used
  • Energy :: PALAU

  • population without electricity: 8,752
    electrification - total population: 59%
    electrification - urban areas: 62%
    electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
  • Communications :: PALAU

  • total subscriptions: 7,204
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    total: 24,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services available with a combined subscribership of over 140 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 680; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
    no TV stations; a cable TV network covers the major islands and provides access to rebroadcasts, on a delayed basis, of a number of US stations, as well as access to a number of real-time satellite TV channels; about a half dozen radio stations (1 government-owned) (2009)
    total: 7,650
    percent of population: 36.0% (July 2015 est.)
  • Transportation :: PALAU

  • number of registered air carriers: 1
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    3 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
    major seaport(s): Koror
  • Military and Security :: PALAU

  • no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)
    defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there (2008)
  • Transnational Issues :: PALAU

  • maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia