Tonga

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. It withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.

Geography

Area

total: 747 sq km

land: 717 sq km

water: 30 sq km

Climate

tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Natural resources

arable land, fish

People and Society

Population

105,517 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Tongan 97%, part-Tongan 0.8%, other 2.2%, unspecified <0.1% (2016 est.)

Languages

Tongan and English 76.8%, Tongan, English, and other language 10.6%, Tongan only (official) 8.7%, English only (official) 0.7%, other 1.7%, none 2.2% (2016 est.)

Religions

Protestant 64.1% (includes Free Wesleyan Church 35%, Free Church of Tonga 11.9%, Church of Tonga 6.8%, Assembly of God 2.3%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.2%, Tokaikolo Christian Church 1.6%, other 4.3%), Church of Jesus Christ 18.6%, Roman Catholic 14.2%, other 2.4%, none 0.5%, unspecified 0.1% (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.26% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Nuku'alofa

Executive branch

chief of state: King TUPOU VI (since 18 March 2012); Heir Apparent Crown Prince Siaosi Manumataogo 'Alaivahamama'o 'Ahoeitu Konstantin Tuku'aho, son of the king (born 17 September 1985); note - on 18 March 2012, King George TUPOU V died and his brother, Crown Prince TUPOUTO'A Lavaka, assumed the throne as TUPOU VI

head of government: Prime Minister Siaosi SOVALENI (since 27 December 2021)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats); 17 people's representatives directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, and 9 indirectly elected by hereditary leaders; members serve 4-year terms)

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income Pacific island economy; enormous diaspora and remittance reliance; key tourism and agricultural sectors; major fish exporter; rapidly growing Chinese infrastructure investments; rising methamphetamine hub

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$670 million (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$6,400 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, gourds, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, yams, taro, roots/tubers nes, plantains, lemons/limes

Industries

tourism, construction, fishing

Exports

$90 million (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

United States 38%, South Korea 18%, Australia 14%, New Zealand 14%, Japan 6%,  (2019)

Exports - commodities

squash, fish, various fruits and nuts, antiques, coral and shells (2019)

Imports

$300 million (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

Fiji 29%, New Zealand 23%, China 14%, United States 8%, Australia 6%, Japan 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, poultry meats, audio equipment, mutton, goat meat, broadcasting equipment (2019)


Page last updated: Thursday, May 12, 2022