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Australia-Oceania :: Marshall Islands
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Marshall Islands
  • Introduction :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.
  • Geography :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
    9 00 N, 168 00 E
    Oceania
    total: 181 sq km
    land: 181 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and encompasses the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
    about the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    370.4 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
    low coral limestone and sand islands
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
    coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
    agricultural land: 50.7%
    arable land 7.8%; permanent crops 31.2%; permanent pasture 11.7%
    forest: 49.3%
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2011)
    infrequent typhoons
    inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
  • People and Society :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Marshallese
    Marshallese 92.1%, mixed Marshallese 5.9%, other 2% (2006)
    Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
    note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language
    Protestant 54.8%, Assembly of God 25.8%, Roman Catholic 8.4%, Bukot nan Jesus 2.8%, Mormon 2.1%, other Christian 3.6%, other 1%, none 1.5% (1999 census)
    70,983 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 36.6% (male 13,244/female 12,741)
    15-24 years: 17.5% (male 6,305/female 6,087)
    25-54 years: 36.9% (male 13,308/female 12,856)
    55-64 years: 5.7% (male 2,078/female 1,938)
    65 years and over: 3.4% (male 1,187/female 1,239) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 22.5 years
    male: 22.5 years
    female: 22.6 years (2014 est.)
    1.72% (2014 est.)
    26.36 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    4.24 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -4.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 72.4% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 0.59% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MAJURO (capital) 31,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    20.7
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2007 est.)
    total: 21.39 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 24.09 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 18.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 72.58 years
    male: 70.42 years
    female: 74.84 years (2014 est.)
    3.22 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    44.6% (2007)
    16.5% of GDP (2013)
    0.44 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    2.7 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 93.4% of population
    rural: 97.5% of population
    total: 94.5% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 6.6% of population
    rural: 2.5% of population
    total: 5.5% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 84.2% of population
    rural: 55.5% of population
    total: 76.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 15.8% of population
    rural: 44.5% of population
    total: 23.8% of population (2012 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    42.3% (2014)
  • Government :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    conventional short form: Marshall Islands
    local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    local short form: Marshall Islands
    abbreviation: RMI
    former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
    constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 21 October 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004
    name: Majuro
    geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    24 municipalities; Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikini & Kili, Ebon, Enewetak & Ujelang, Jabat, Jaluit, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namdrik, Namu, Rongelap, Ujae, Utrik, Wotho, Wotje
    21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
    Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)
    effective 1 May 1979; amended several times, last in 1990 (2005)
    mixed legal system of US and English common law, customary law, and local statutes
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of the legislature
    elections: president elected by Nitijela (legislature) from among its members for a four-year term; election last held on 3 January 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: Christopher J. LOEAK elected president; Nitijela vote - NA
    description: bicameral legislature consists of the Council of Iroij (12 seats; consists of tribal chiefs chosen by holders of the chieftainship among the constituent islands) and the National Parliament or Nitijela (33 seats; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Council of Iroij advises the Presidential Cabinet and reviews legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice)
    elections: last held on 21 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 33
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and other judges as prescribed by law)
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and upon the approval of the Nitijela; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 72
    subordinate courts: High Court; District Courts; Traditional Rights Court; Community Courts
    traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Michael KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
    NA
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Charles R. PAUL (since 6 September 2011)
    chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
    consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Springdale (AK)
    consulate(s): Agana (Guam)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas H. ARMBRUSTER (since 16 August 2012)
    embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
    mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
    telephone: [692] 247-4011
    FAX: [692] 247-4012
    blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago's position just to the north
    a 24-rayed star; national colors: blue, white, orange
    name: "Forever Marshall Islands"
    lyrics/music: Amata KABUA
    note: adopted 1981
  • Economy :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • US assistance and lease payments for the use of Kwajalein Atoll as a US military base are the mainstay of this small island country. The Marshall Islands received roughly $1 billion in aid from the US during 1986-2001 under the original Compact of Free Association (Compact). In 2002 and 2003, the US and the Marshall Islands renegotiated the Compact's financial package for a 20-year period, from 2004 to 2024. Under the amended Compact, the Marshall Islands will receive roughly $1.5 billion in direct US assistance. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. Tourism holds some potential. The islands and atolls have few natural resources, and imports exceed exports. Under the amended Compact, the US is also funding, jointly with the Marshall Islands, a Trust Fund for the people of the Marshall Islands that will provide an income stream beyond 2024 when direct Compact aid is to end.
    $197 million (2014 est.)
    $190.9 million (2013 est.)
    $184.4 million (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $183 million (2014 est.)
    3.2% (2014 est.)
    3% (2013 est.)
    4.7% (2012 est.)
    $3,700 (2014 est.)
    $3,600 (2013 est.)
    $3,500 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 180
    agriculture: 4.4%
    industry: 9.9%
    services: 85.7% (2013 est.)
    coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens
    copra, tuna processing, tourism, craft items (from seashells, wood, and pearls)
    NA%
    10,670 (2013 est.)
    agriculture: 11%
    industry: 16.3%
    services: 72.7% (2011 est.)
    36% (2006 est.)
    30.9% (2000 est.)
    NA%
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $116.7 million
    expenditures: $113.9 million (2013 est.)
    63.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    1.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    51.3% of GDP (2013)
    1 October - 30 September
    1.9% (2013 est.)
    4.3% (2012 est.)
    $-23 million (2013)
    $-14.4 million (2012)
    $53.7 million (2013 est.)
    $58.1 million (2012)
    copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish
    $133.7 million (2013 est.)
    $120.9 million (2012)
    foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages, tobacco
    $97.96 million (2013 est.)
    $87 million (2008 est.)
    the US dollar is used
  • Communications :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • 4,400 (2010)
    3,800 (2010)
    general assessment: digital switching equipment; modern services include telex, cellular, Internet, international calling, caller ID, and leased data circuits
    domestic: Majuro Atoll and Ebeye and Kwajalein islands have regular, seven-digit, direct-dial telephones; other islands interconnected by high frequency radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes) and mini-satellite telephones
    international: country code - 692; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2005)
    no TV broadcast station; a cable network is available on Majuro with programming via videotape replay and satellite relays; 4 radio broadcast stations; American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) provides satellite radio and television service to Kwajalein Atoll (2009)
    AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (additionally, the American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (Central Pacific Network) operates one FM and one AM station on Kwajalein Island) (2005)
    2 (both are US military stations; Marshalls Broadcasting Service, a cable company, operates on Majuro) (2005)
    .mh
    3 (2012)
    2,200 (2009)
  • Transportation :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • 15 (2013)
    total: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 11
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    total: 2,028 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2007)
    total: 1,593
    by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 524, cargo 65, carrier 1, chemical tanker 351, container 226, liquefied gas 88, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 297, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 9, vehicle carrier 10
    foreign-owned: 1,468 (Belgium 1, Bermuda 35, Brazil 1, Canada 8, China 14, Croatia 12, Cyprus 40, Denmark 7, Egypt 1, France 7, Germany 248, Greece 408, Hong Kong 3, India 10, Indonesia 1, Iraq 2, Ireland 6, Italy 1, Japan 59, Jersey 11, Kuwait 2, Latvia 19, Malaysia 11, Mexico 2, Monaco 30, Netherlands 21, Norway 75, Pakistan 1, Qatar 29, Romania 2, Russia 5, Singapore 30, Slovenia 6, South Korea 41, Sweden 1, Switzerland 12, Taiwan 8, Turkey 70, UAE 12, UK 12, Ukraine 1, US 200) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Enitwetak Island, Kwajalein, Majuro
  • Military :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • no regular military forces; Marshall Islands Police (2012)
    males age 16-49: 16,446 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 13,568
    females age 16-49: 13,606 (2010 est.)
    male: 653
    female: 631 (2010 est.)
    defense is the responsibility of the US
  • Transnational Issues :: MARSHALL ISLANDS

  • claims US territory of Wake Island
    current situation: The Marshall Islands is a source and destination country for Marshallese women and girls and women from East Asia subjected to sex trafficking; Marshallese and foreign women are reportedly forced into prostitution in businesses frequented by crew members of fishing and transshipping vessels; some Chinese women are recruited to the Marshall Islands with promises of legitimate work and are subsequently forced into prostitution
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – The Marshall Islands do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; government officials publically acknowledged the existence of human trafficking and an investigation into women being forced into prostitution was initiated in 2013; the government has not provided evidence of implementing 2011 anti-trafficking legislation or providing training to law enforcement or judges on the law; no trafficking prosecutions have been reported since 2011; in 2013, no proactive efforts were made to identify victims among vulnerable groups, such as women in prostitution or foreign men in the fishing industry; several public awareness campaigns were conducted in 2013 (2014)
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