Marshall Islands

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Introduction - Marshall Islands:


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.

Location - 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 one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates

9 00 N, 168 00 E

Map references



total: 11,854.3 sq km
land: 181.3 sq km
water: 11,673 sq km (note - lagoon waters)
note: includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik

Area comparative

about the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


370.4 km

Maritime claims

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

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m

Natural resources

coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals

Land use

arable land: 11.11%
permanent crops: 44.44%
other: 44.45% (2005)

Irrigated land

0 sq km

Natural hazards

infrequent typhoons

Environment current issues

inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels

Environment international agreements

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

Geography note

Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is used as a US missile test range; 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 - Marshall Islands:


61,815 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 38.3% (male 12,061/female 11,622)
15-64 years: 58.9% (male 18,634/female 17,775)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 832/female 891) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 20.7 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 20.7 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

2.207% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

32.37 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

4.66 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

-5.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.038 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.934 male(s)/female
total population: 1.041 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 27.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.61 years
male: 68.61 years
female: 72.71 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.76 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate


Hiv aids people living with hiv aids


Hiv aids deaths



noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese

Ethnic groups



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)


Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 93.6%
female: 93.7% (1999)

Government - Marshall Islands:

Country name

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

Government type

constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 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)

Administrative divisions

33 municipalities; Ailinginae, Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokak, Ebon, Enewetak, Erikub, Jabat, Jaluit, Jemo, Kili, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongrik, Toke, Ujae, Ujelang, Utirik, Wotho, Wotje


21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)


1 May 1979

Legal system

based on adapted Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 5 January 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 5 January 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of the legislature
elections: president elected by Parliament from among its members for a four-year term; election last held 17 November 2003 (next to be held in November 2007)
election results: Kessai Hesa NOTE elected president; percent of Parliament vote - 100%

Legislative branch

unicameral legislature or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 November 2003 (next to be held by November 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 33
note: the Council of Chiefs or Ironij is a 12-member body comprised of tribal chiefs that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice

Judicial branch

Supreme Court; High Court; Traditional Rights Court

Political parties and leaders

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]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Banny DE BRUM
chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
consulate(s) general: Honolulu

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Greta N. MORRIS
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

Flag description

blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; there is a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays on the hoist side above the two stripes

Economy - Marshall Islands:

Economy overview

US Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. The tourist industry, now a small source of foreign exchange employing less than 10% of the labor force, remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. Under the terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association, the US will provide millions of dollars per year to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2023, at which time a Trust Fund made up of US and RMI contributions will begin perpetual annual payouts. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism, and less income from the renewal of fishing vessel licenses have held GDP growth to an average of 1% over the past decade.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$115 million (2001 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$144 million (2005)

Gdp real growth rate

3.5% (2005 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$2,900 (2005 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 31.7%
industry: 14.9%
services: 53.4% (2004 est.)

Labor force

14,680 (2000)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 21.4%
industry: 20.9%
services: 57.7%

Unemployment rate

30.9% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

3% (2005 est.)


revenues: $42 million
expenditures: $40 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)

Agriculture products

coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens


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

Industrial production growth rate



$9.1 million f.o.b. (2000)

Exports commodities

copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish

Exports partners

US, Japan, Australia, China (2006)


$54.7 million f.o.b. (2000)

Imports commodities

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and tobacco

Imports partners

US, Japan, Australia, NZ, Singapore, Fiji, China, Philippines (2006)

Debt external

$86.5 million (FY99/00 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$51.1 million more than $1 billion from the US, 1986-2002 (2004)

Currency code

US dollar (USD)

Exchange rates

the US dollar is used

Communications - Marshall Islands:

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Telephones main lines in use

4,500 (2004)

Telephones mobile cellular

600 (2004)

Telephone system

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 (2001)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (additionally, the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (Central Pacific Network) operate one FM and one AM station on Kwajalein) (2005)

Television broadcast stations

2 (both are US military stations; Marshalls Broadcasting Service, a cable company, operates on Majuro) (2005)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

6 (2006)

Internet users

2,200 (2006)

Transportation - Marshall Islands:


15 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2006)


total: 64.5 km
paved: 64.5 km
note: paved roads on major islands (Majuro, Kwajalein), otherwise stone-, coral-, or laterite-surfaced roads and tracks (2002)

Merchant marine

total: 795 ships (1000 GRT or over) 30,772,611 GRT/50,987,293 DWT
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 178, cargo 53, chemical tanker 133, container 147, liquefied gas 25, passenger 7, petroleum tanker 234, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 7, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 730 (Australia 2, Bermuda 4, Brazil 1, Canada 6, Chile 1, Croatia 2, Cyprus 15, Denmark 1, Finland 2, Germany 194, Greece 199, Hong Kong 7, Isle of Man 1, Italy 1, Japan 7, South Korea 1, Latvia 7, Monaco 8, Netherlands 1, Norway 65, Russia 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 6, Slovenia 3, Spain 3, Switzerland 13, Turkey 20, UAE 3, UK 12, US 143)
registered in other countries: 1 (North Korea 1) (2006)

Ports and terminals


Military - Marshall Islands:

Military branches

no regular military forces; under the 1983 Compact of Free Association, the US has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands; Marshall Islands Police (2006)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 13,465 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 10,792 (2005 est.)

Military note

defense is the responsibility of the US

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 726 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp


This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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