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Countries > Faroe Islands Faroe Islands Flag
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Capital: Torshavn
Population: 43,500
Faroe Islands Map

(part of the Danish realm)


Location: Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the north Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway

Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 7 00 W

Map references: Europe

total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)

Area - comparative: eight times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,117 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy

Terrain: rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point : Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m

Natural resources: fish, whales

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures : 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 98% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography - note: archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands


Population: 46,011 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years : 22.3% (male 5,149; female 5,110)
15-64 years: 64% (male 15,650; female 13,801)
65 years and over: 13.7% (male 2,818; female 3,483) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:0.74% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 13.74 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.74 years
male: 75.28 years
female : 82.21 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.27 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun : Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese

Ethnic groups: Scandinavian

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran

Languages: Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

Literacy: NA
note: similar to Denmark proper


Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form : none
local short form: Foroyar

Data code: FO

Dependency status: part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark

Government type: NA

National capital: Torshavn

Administrative divisions: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Independence: none (part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

National holiday: Olaifest, 29 July

Constitution: 5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)

Legal system: Danish

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Birgit KLEIS, chief administrative officer (since 1 November 2001)
head of government :Prime Minister Anfinn KALLSBERG (since 15 May 1998)
cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
elections:the monarch is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held 30 April 1998 (next to be held no later than April 2002
election results:Anfinn KALLSBERG elected prime minister; percent of parliamentary vote - 52.8%
note: coalition of People's Party, Republican Party, and Home Rule Party

Legislative branch: unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections:last held 30 April 2002 (next to be held no later than April 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Union Party 8, Republican Party 8, Social Democrats 7, People's Party 7, Independence Party 1, Center Party 1
note: election of 2 seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 20 November 2001 (next to be held no later than November 2005); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, Union Party 1

Judicial branch: none

Political parties and leaders:Center Party [Tordur NICALSEN]; Home Rule Party [Helena Dam a NEYSTABO]; Independence Party [leader NA]; People's Party [Oli BRECKMANN]; Republican Party [Finnabogi ISAKSON]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Edmund JOENSEN]

International organization participation: NC, NIB

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Flag description: white with a red cross outlined in blue that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)


Economy - overview: The Faroese economy has had a strong performance since 1994, mostly as a result of increasing fish landings and high and stable export prices. Unemployment is falling and there are signs of labor shortages in several sectors. The positive economic development has helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses which in turn help to reduce the large public debt, most of it owed to Denmark. However, the total dependence on fishing makes the Faroese economy extremely vulnerable, and the present fishing efforts appear in excess of what is a sustainable level of fishing in the long term. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate Faroese area, which may eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus lessen dependence on Denmark and Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $910 million (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $20,000 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 27%
industry: 11%
services : 62% (1999)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 5.1% (1999)

Labor force:
total: 24,250 (October 2000)
by occupation: largely engaged in fishing, manufacturing, transportation, and commerce

Unemployment rate: 1% (October 2000)

revenues :$488 million
expenditures: $484 million, including capital expenditures of $21 million (1999)

Industries: fishing, shipbuilding, construction, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1999 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 91,000 kW 000 kW

Electricity - production: 165 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita:153.45 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon farming; fish

total value: $471 million (f.o.b., 1999)
commodities : fish and fish products 92%, animal feedstuffs, transport equipment (ships)
partners: Denmark 32%, UK 21%, France 9%, Germany 7%, Iceland 5%, US 5% (1996)

total value: $469 million (c.i.f., 1999)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment 29%, consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, fuels, fish and salt (1999)
partners : Denmark 28%, Norway 26%, Germany 7%, UK 6% Sweden 5%, Iceland 4%, US (1999)

Debt - external: $64 million (1999)

Economic aid: $135 million (annual subsidy from Denmark) (1999)

Currency: 1 Danish krone (DKr) = 100 oere

Exchange rates:Danish kroner per US dollar - 8.418 (January 2002), 8.323 (2001), 8.083 (2000), 6.976 (1999), 6.701 (1998), 6.604 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 24,851 (1999)

Telephone system: good international communications; good domestic facilities
domestic:digitalization was completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 26,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (plus 43 low-power repeaters) (September 1995)

Televisions: 15,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

total: 463 km
paved: 454 km
unpaved: 9 km (1999)

Ports and harbors: Torshavn, Klaksvik, Tvoroyri, Runavik, Fuglafjordhur

Merchant marine:
total :7 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 100,951 GRT/139,396 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Denmark 3, Norway 1, United Kingdom 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea passenger 1

Airports: 1 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m : 1 (2001)


Military branches: no organized native military forces; only a small Police Force and Coast Guard are maintained

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of Denmark

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none