View Text Low Bandwidth Version
Download Publication
Australia-Oceania :: Tuvalu
Page last updated on September 24, 2015
No Photos available for Tuvalu
  no photos available
  • Introduction :: TUVALU

  • 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.
  • Geography :: TUVALU

  • Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
    8 00 S, 178 00 E
    total: 26 sq km
    land: 26 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 238
    0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    24 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
    low-lying and narrow coral atolls
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location 5 m
    fish, coconut (copra)
    agricultural land: 60%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 60%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 33.3%
    other: 6.7% (2011 est.)
    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
    since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities; beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from increasing ocean temperatures and acidification; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
    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
    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

  • noun: Tuvaluan(s)
    adjective: Tuvaluan
    Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%
    Tuvaluan (official), English (official), Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
    Protestant 98.4% (Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%), Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%
    10,869 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    0-14 years: 29.4% (male 1,639/female 1,557)
    15-24 years: 20.27% (male 1,157/female 1,046)
    25-54 years: 36.35% (male 1,946/female 2,005)
    55-64 years: 8.41% (male 373/female 541)
    65 years and over: 5.57% (male 247/female 358) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 25.2 years
    male: 24.1 years
    female: 26.6 years (2015 est.)
    0.82% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    23.74 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    8.74 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    -6.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    urban population: 59.7% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    FUNAFUTI (capital) 6,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.69 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 30.8 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 33.46 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 28.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    total population: 66.16 years
    male: 64.01 years
    female: 68.41 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    3 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    30.5% (2007)
    19.7% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    1.09 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    5.6 beds/1,000 population (2001)
    urban: 98.3% of population
    rural: 97% of population
    total: 97.7% of population
    urban: 1.7% of population
    rural: 3% of population
    total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)
    urban: 86.3% of population
    rural: 80.2% of population
    total: 83.3% of population
    urban: 13.7% of population
    rural: 19.8% of population
    total: 16.7% of population (2012 est.)
    39.6% (2014)
    1.6% (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 126
  • Government :: TUVALU

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Tuvalu
    local long form: none
    local short form: Tuvalu
    former: Ellice Islands
    note: "Tuvalu" means "group of eight" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands
    parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
    name: Funafuti; note - 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)
    7 island councils and 1 town council*; Funafuti*, Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
    1 October 1978 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
    previous 1978 (at independence); latest effective 1 October 1986; amended 2007, 2010 (2010)
    mixed legal system of English common law and local customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Iakoba TAEIA Italeli (since May 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
    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 16 September 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 15; 10 members reelected
    highest court(s): Court of Appeal is the Fiji Court of Appeal on Fiji Island (consists of the chief justice who visits twice a year); High Court, located on Fiji, consists of the chief justice of Fiji who presides over its sessions
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the president of Fiji, upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission, after consulting with the Cabinet Minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70; puisine judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years with mandatory retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; island courts; lands courts
    there are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
    chief of mission: Ambassador Aunese Makoi SIMATI (since 11 January 2013)
    chancery: note - Tuvalu does not have an embassy in Washington, D.C.; UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534
    FAX: [1] (212) 937-0692
    the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
    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
    maneapa (native meeting house); national colors: light blue, yellow
    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

  • 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 $141 million in 2013 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 global financial crisis of 2008. Growing income inequality is one of many concerns for the nation.
    $35 million (2014 est.)
    $34.23 million (2013 est.)
    $33.8 million (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 227
    $38 million (2014 est.)
    2.2% (2014 est.)
    1.3% (2013 est.)
    0.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    $3,300 (2014 est.)
    $3,200 (2013 est.)
    $3,200 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 186
    agriculture: 24.5%
    industry: 5.6%
    services: 70% (2012 est.)
    coconuts; fish
    -26.1% (2012 est.)
    3,615 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    note: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and through overseas remittances (mostly from workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
    26.3% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $42.68 million
    expenditures: $32.46 million (2013 est.)
    109.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    26.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    41.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    43.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    calendar year
    3.3% (2014 est.)
    1.4% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    10.6% (2013 est.)
    10.6% (2012 est.)
    $0 (2014)
    $10 million (2014 est.)
    -$11.68 million (2003)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    $600,000 (2010 est.)
    $1 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    copra, fish
    $136.5 million (2013 est.)
    $238.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
    Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.098 (2013)
    1.67 (2013 est.)
    1.2822 (2009 est.)
  • Energy :: TUVALU

  • 11.8 million kWh (2011)
    0 kWh (2014 est.)
    0 kWh (2014)
    5,100 kW (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    96% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    0% of total installed capacity (2014)
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2014)
    0 cu m (2014)
    0 cu m (2014)
    0 cu m (2014)
    0 cu m (2014)
  • Communications :: TUVALU

  • total subscriptions: 1,500
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    total: 3,800
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications
    domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands
    international: country code - 688; international calls can be made by satellite (2007)
    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)
    AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
    0 (2004)
    total: 4,100
    percent of population: 38.1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
  • Transportation :: TUVALU

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 235
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 8 km
    paved: 8 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    total: 58
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 24, chemical tanker 15, container 1, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 1
    foreign-owned: 33 (China 4, Indonesia 1, Maldives 1, Singapore 19, South Korea 1, Turkey 1, Vietnam 6) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    major seaport(s): Funafuti
  • Military :: TUVALU

  • no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2012)
    males age 16-49: 2,021
    females age 16-49: 2,026 (2010 est.)
    male: 119
    female: 111 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: TUVALU

  • none