Marshall Islands

Country Summary



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. Kwajalein hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system.



total: 181 sq km
land: 181 sq km
water: 0 sq km


tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt

Natural resources

coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals

People and Society


80,966 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Marshallese 95.6%, Filipino 1.1%, other 3.3% (2021 est.)


Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 est.)


Protestant 79.3% (United Church of Christ 47.9%, Assembly of God 14.1%, Full Gospel 5%, Bukot Nan Jesus 3%, Salvation Army 2.3%, Reformed Congressional Church 2.2%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.7%, New Beginning Church 1.4%, other Protestant 1.6%), Roman Catholic 9.3%, Church of Jesus Christ 5.7%, Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, other 3.3%, none 1.1% (2021 est.)

Population growth rate

1.3% (2023 est.)


Government type

mixed presidential-parliamentary system in free association with the US


name: Majuro; note - the capital is an atoll of 64 islands; governmental buildings are housed on three fused islands on the eastern side of the atoll: Djarrit, Uliga, and Delap

Executive branch

chief of state: President David KABUA (since 13 January 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President David KABUA (since 13 January 2020)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament consists of:
Nitijela (33 seats; members in 19 single- and 5 multi-seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Council of Iroij, a 12-member group of tribal leaders advises the Presidential Cabinet and reviews legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice); members appointed to serve 1-year terms


Economic overview

upper middle-income Pacific island economy; US aid reliance; large public sector; coconut oil production as diesel fuel substitute; growing offshore banking locale; fishing rights seller; import-dependent

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$250.694 million (2021 est.)
$247.93 million (2020 est.)
$252.582 million (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$6,000 (2021 est.)
$5,700 (2020 est.)
$5,600 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products



copra, tuna processing, tourism, craft items (from seashells, wood, and pearls)


12.82% of GDP (2020 est.)
13.55% of GDP (2019 est.)
14.34% of GDP (2018 est.)


$1.37 billion (2021 est.)
$773 million (2020 est.)
$1.17 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Denmark 33%, South Korea 20%, Germany 15%, Poland 9%, Cyprus 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

ships, recreational boats, skipjack, tuna, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment (2021)


$10.7 billion (2021 est.)
$12 billion (2020 est.)
$9.1 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

South Korea 33%, China 30%, Japan 11%, Greece 3%, Cyprus 3% (2021)

Imports - commodities

ships, refined petroleum, centrifuges, recreational boats, boat propellers (2019)

Page last updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2023