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Countries > Marshall Islands Marshall Islands Flag

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Capital: Majuro
Population: 62,000
Marshall Islands Map


Location: Oceania, group of atolls and reefs in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea

Geographic coordinates: 9 00 N, 168 00 E

Map references: Oceania

total: 181.3 sq km
land: 181.3 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, and Kwajalein

Area - comparative: about the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 370.4 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea : 12 nm

Climate: wet season from May to November; hot and humid; islands border typhoon belt

Terrain: low coral limestone and sand islands

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

Natural resources: phosphate deposits, marine products, deep seabed minerals

Land use:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: 60%
permanent pastures : NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 40%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons

Environment - current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: two archipelagic island chains of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands; Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is now used as a US missile test range


Population: 73,630 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years:49.1% (male 18,443; female 17,704)
15-64 years : 48.9% (male 18,347; female 17,628)
65 years and over: 48.9% (male 18,347; female 17,628)

Population growth rate: 3.89% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 44.98 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 6.07 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 38.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.18 years
male: 64.35 years
female: 68.09 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.49 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese

Ethnic groups: Micronesian

Religions: Christian (mostly Protestant)

Languages: English (universally spoken and is the official language), two major Marshallese dialects from the malayo-Polynesian family, Japanese

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


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
conventional short form : Marshall Islands
former: Marshall Islands District (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)

Data code: RM

Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 21 October 1986

National capital: Majuro

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

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

National holiday: Proclamation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 1 May (1979)

Constitution: 1 May 1979

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 3 January 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 3 January 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of Parliament
elections:president elected by Parliament from among its own members for a four-year term; election last held 15 November 1999 (next to be held NA November 2003)
election results : Kessai Hesa NOTE elected president; percent of Parliament vote - 100%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections :last held 15 November 1999 (next to be held NA November 2003) note: the Council of Chiefs is a 12-member body that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; High 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 - Kabua Party [Imata KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]

International organization participation: AsDB, ESCAP, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO

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 Michael J. SENKO
embassy: Oceanside, Long Island, Majuro
mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379; Majuro, 20521-4380 (pouch)
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 - overview:US Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. Agricultural production is primarily subsistence and 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 Compact of Free Association, the US provides roughly $39 million in annual aid. Negotiations have continued for an extended agreement. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism and foreign investment due to the Asian financial difficulties, 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 - real growth rate: 1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
industry: 16%
services : 70% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.9% (1999 est.)

Labor force:
total : 28,698
by occupation: agriculture 21.4%, industry 20.9%, services 57.7%

Unemployment rate: 30.9% (1999 est.)

revenues : $42 million
expenditures: $79.6 million, including capital expenditures of $21.6 million (FY94/95 est.)

Industries: copra, fish, tourism, craft items from shell, wood, and pearls, offshore banking (embryonic)

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 16,000 kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 57 million kWh (1994)

Electricity - consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture - products: coconuts, cacao, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens

total value:$9 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: fish, coconut oil, live animals, trochus shells
partners: US, Japan, Australia

total value: $54 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and tobacco
partners: US, Japan, Australia, NZ, Singapore, Fiji, China, Philippines

Debt - external: $86.5 million (FY99/00 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient:approximately $39 million annually from the US

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

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September


Telephones: 4,186 (2001)

Telephone system: 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 shortwave radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes)
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2001)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 2 (both are US military stations) (2002)

Televisions: NA


Railways: 0 km

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

Ports and harbors: Majuro

Merchant marine:
total: 270 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 11,807,839 GRT/19,332,014 DWT
ships by type: bulk 82, cargo 14, chemical tanker 24, combination ore/oil 4, container 46, liquefied gas 8, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 88, vehicle carrier 3
note: the ship's register of the Marshall Islands is a flag of convenience register since essentially none of the vessels on it is owned domestically, includes the following foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: China 1, Cyprus 1, Denmark 9, Germany 70, Greece 54, Hong Kong 2, Japan 4, Monaco 8, Netherlands 8, Norway 10, Poland 16, Singapore 1, Turkey 6, United Kingdom 3, United States 87, Uruguay 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 17 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 13
914 to 1,523 m:10
under 914 m:3 (2001)


Military branches: no regular military forces (a coast guard may be established); Police Force

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: claims US territory of Wake Island

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