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Countries > Tuvalu Tuvalu Flag

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Capital: Funafuti Atoll
Population: 10,500
Description: Tuvalu became a British protectorate as the Ellice Islands in 1892. It was administered as a colony along with the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati) in 1915. It became independent as a constitutional monarchy within the commonwealth in 1978.
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Tuvalu Map


Location: Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 S, 178 00 E

Map references: Oceania

total : 26 sq km
land: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 24 km

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

Climate: tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)

Terrain: very low-lying and narrow coral atolls

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other : 100% (1998 est.)
note: Tuvalu's nine coral atolls have enough soil to grow coconuts and support subsistence agriculture

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: severe tropical storms are rare

Environment - current issues: since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, all water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities; beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the crown of thorns starfish

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea


Population: 11,146 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.6% (male 1,851; female 1,785)
15-64 years : 62.3% (male 3,335; female 3,607)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 233; female 335) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.4% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:21.44 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 7.45 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:0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 22 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.98 years
male: 64.83 years
female :69.23 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Tuvaluan(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan

Ethnic groups: Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%

Religions: Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%

Languages: Tuvaluan, English

Literacy: NA; note - education is free and compulsory from ages 6 through 13


Country name:
conventional long form : none
conventional short form: Tuvalu
former: Ellice Islands

Data code: TV

Government type: democracy; began debating republic status in 1992

National capital: Funafuti

Administrative divisions: none

Independence: 1 October 1978 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 October (1978)

Constitution: 1 October 1978

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Tomasi PUAPUA, M.D. (since 26 June 1998)
head of government : Prime Minister Koloa TALAKE (since 13 December 2001); TALAKE took over after Prime Minister Faimalaga LUKA was ousted in a vote of no-confidence
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections:the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of Parliament; election last held 13 December 2001 (next to be held by August 2002)
election results: BKoloa TALAKE elected prime minister; percent of Parliament vote - 53%

Legislative branch:unicameral Parliament or Fale I Fono, also called House of Assembly (15 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 July 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results : percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 15

Judicial branch: High Court; note - a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over sessions of the High Court

Political parties and leaders: there are no political parties but members of Parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings

International organization participation: AsDB, C (special), ESCAP, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:Tuvalu does not have an embassy in the US - the country's only diplomatic post is in Fiji - Tuvalu does, however, have a UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017, telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534

Diplomatic representation from the US:the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu

Flag description: light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow five-pointed stars symbolizing the nine islands


Economy - overview: Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and worker remittances. About 1,000 Tuvaluans work in Nauru in the phosphate mining industry. Nauru has begun repatriating Tuvaluans, however, as phosphate resources decline. Substantial income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this Fund has grown from an initial $17 million to over $35 million in 1999. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu, with 1999 payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries at about $9 million, a total which is expected to rise annually. In an effort to reduce its dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts of up to 7%. In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of its area code for "900" lines and in 2000, from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name. Royalties from these new technology sources could raise GDP substantially over the next decade. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and investment income from overseas assets.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.2 million (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2000 est.)

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

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 5% (2000 est.)

Labor force: 7,000 (2001 est.)
by occupation :people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
note: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those working abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $22.5 million
expenditures: $11.2 million, including capital expenditures of $4.2 million (2000 est.)

Industries: fishing, tourism, copra

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 2,600 kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 3 million kWh (1995)

Electricity - consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture - products: coconuts; fish

total value:$276,000 (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: copra
partners: Sweden, Fiji, Iceland, Germany, Greece (2000)

total value: $7.2 million (c.i.f., 1998)
commodities : food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
partners:Fiji, Australia, Portugal, NZ (2000)

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: $13 million (1999 est.); note - major donors are Japan, Australia, and the US

Currency: 1 Tuvaluan dollar ($T) or 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.9354 (January 2002), 1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 1,000 (1997)

Telephone system: serves particular needs for internal communications
domestic:radiotelephone communications between islands
international: NA

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1999)

Radios: 4,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 0

Televisions: 800


Railways: 0 km

total: 19.5 km
paved: NA km
unpaved: 19.5 km (2002)

Ports and harbors: Funafuti, Nukufetau

Merchant marine:
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 31,021 GRT/52,198 DWT
ships by type: cargo 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1

Airports: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)


Military branches: no regular military forces; Police Force (includes Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance operations)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: NA

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: NA

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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