source: CIA World Factbook 1998
[Country Flag of Palau]
[Country map of Palau]

Palau Government, History, Population & Geography


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Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines

Geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 30 E

Map references: Oceania

total: 458 sq km
land: 458 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,519 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
extended fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: wet season May to November; hot and humid

Terrain: varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Ngerchelchauus 242 m

Natural resources: forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals

Land use:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: NA%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)

Environment—current issues: inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands; archipelago of six island groups totaling over 200 islands in the Caroline chain


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Population: 18,110 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27% (male 2,555; female 2,405)
15-64 years: 68% (male 6,727; female 5,535)
65 years and over: 5% (male 416; female 472) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.96% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 21.26 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.9 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 6.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 18.82 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.54 years
male: 64.49 years
female: 70.78 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.6 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan

Ethnic groups: Palauans are a composite of Polynesian, Malayan, and Melanesian races

Religions: Christian (Catholics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Assembly of God, the Liebenzell Mission, and Latter-Day Saints), Modekngei religion (one-third of the population observes this religion which is indigenous to Palau)

Languages: English (official in all of Palau's 16 states), Sonsorolese (official in the state of Sonsoral), Angaur and Japanese (in the state of Anguar), Tobi (in the state of Tobi), Palauan (in the other 13 states)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92%
male: 93%
female: 90% (1980 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Palau
conventional short form: Palau
local long form: Beluu er a Belau
local short form: Belau
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

Data code: PS

Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 1 October 1994

National capital: Koror
note: a new capital is being built about 20 km northeast in eastern Babelthuap

Administrative divisions: there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 16 states named Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngardmau, Ngaremlengui, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngerchelong, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol, Tobi

Independence: 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN Trusteeship)

National holiday: Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)

Constitution: 1 January 1981

Legal system: based on Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Kuniwo NAKAMURA (since 1 January 1993) and Vice President Tommy E. REMENGESAU Jr. (since 1 January 1993); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kuniwo NAKAMURA (since 1 January 1993) and Vice President Tommy E. REMENGESAU Jr. (since 1 January 1993); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 11 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 2000)
election results: Kuniwo NAKAMURA reelected president; percent of vote—Kuniwo NAKAMURA 64%, Chief Ibedul Yutuka GIBBONS 36%; Tommy E. REMENGESAU Jr. reelected vice president; percent of vote—Tommy E. REMENGESAU Jr. 69%, Kione ISECHAL 31%

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) consists of the Senate (14 seats; members elected by popular vote on a population basis to serve four-year terms) and the House of Delegates (16 seats—one from each state; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held 11 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 2000); House of Delegates—last held 11 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 2000)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—NA; House of Delegates—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; National Court; Court of Common Pleas

Political parties and leaders: Palau Nationalist Party, Polycarp BASILIUS

International organization participation: ESCAP, IBRD, ICAO, IMF, SPC, SPF, UN, WHO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA
chancery: 1150 18th Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Thomas C. HUBBARD (resident in Manila); Charge d'Affaires Gerald PASCUA
embassy: address NA, Koror
mailing address: P.O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX: [680] 488-2911

Flag description: light blue with a large yellow disk (representing the moon) shifted slightly to the hoist side


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Economy—overview: The economy consists primarily of subsistence agriculture and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force, relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. The population enjoys a per capita income of more than twice that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for the tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific and the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$160 million (1997 est.)
note: GDP numbers reflect US spending

GDP—real growth rate: 10% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$8,800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: NA

Unemployment rate: 7%

revenues: $52.9 million
expenditures: $59.9 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), some commercial fishing and agriculture

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 62,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 195 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 11,704 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes

total value: $14.3 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: trochus (type of shellfish), tuna, copra, handicrafts
partners: US, Japan

total value: $72.4 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: NA
partners: US

Debt—external: about $100 million (1989)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
note: the Compact of Free Association with the US, entered into after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994, will provide Palau with up to $700 million in US aid over 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities

Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 October—30 September


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Telephones: 1,500 (1988 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 9,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 2

Televisions: 1,600 (1993 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

total: 61 km
paved: 36 km
unpaved: 25 km

Ports and harbors: Koror

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: NA

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

source: CIA World Factbook 1998

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