Country Summary



Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.



total: 12,189 sq km
land: 12,189 sq km
water: 0 sq km


tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April

Natural resources

manganese, hardwood forests, fish

People and Society


313,046 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Ni-Vanuatu 99%, other 1% (European, Asian, other Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, other) (2020 est.)


Indigenous languages (more than 100) 82.6%, Bislama (official; creole) 14.5%, English (official) 2.1%, French (official) 0.8% (2020 est.)


Protestant 39.9% (Presbyterian 27.2%, Seventh Day Adventist 14.8%, Anglican 12%, Churches of Christ 5%, Assemblies of God 4.9%, Neil Thomas Ministry/Inner Life Ministry 3.2%), Roman Catholic 12.1%, Apostolic 2.3%, Church of Jesus Christ 1.8%, customary beliefs (including Jon Frum cargo cult) 3.1%, other 12%, none 1.4%, unspecified 0.1% (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.59% (2023 est.)


Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Port-Vila (on Efate)

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nikenike VUROBARAVU (since 23 July 2022)
head of government: Prime Minister Sato KILMAN (since 4 September 2023)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members directly elected in 8 single-seat and 9 multi-seat constituencies by single non-transferable vote to serve 4-year terms (candidates in multi-seat constituencies can be elected with only 4% of the vote)


Economic overview

lower-middle income Pacific island economy; extremely reliant on subsistence agriculture and tourism; environmentally fragile; struggling post-pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold rebound; sizeable inflation; road infrastructure aid from Australia

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$888.165 million (2021 est.)
$884.192 million (2020 est.)
$934.627 million (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,800 (2021 est.)
$2,800 (2020 est.)
$3,100 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, roots/tubers, bananas, vegetables, pork, fruit, milk, beef, groundnuts, cocoa


food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning


10.92% of GDP (2020 est.)
8.01% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.85% of GDP (2018 est.)


$88.805 million (2021 est.)
$141.534 million (2020 est.)
$372.711 million (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Thailand 54%, Japan 18%, South Korea 6%, Cyprus 5%, China 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

tuna, floating platforms, cargo ships, perfume plants, mollusks, copra (2021)


$495.858 million (2021 est.)
$429.601 million (2020 est.)
$488.795 million (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 26%, Australia 16%, New Zealand 15%, Fiji 8%, Singapore 7% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fishing ships, poultry meats, delivery trucks, lumber, rice, broadcasting equipment (2021)

Exchange rates

vatu (VUV) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
109.453 (2021 est.)
115.38 (2020 est.)
114.733 (2019 est.)
110.165 (2018 est.)
107.821 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Monday, September 25, 2023