Faroe Islands

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Faroe Islands
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Faroe Islands
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Map of Faroe Islands
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NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF FAROE ISLANDS
 

Introduction

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The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was granted the Faroese in 1948, who have autonomy over most internal affairs while Denmark is responsible for justice, defense, and foreign affairs. The Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union.
 
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Geography

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Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Iceland and Norway
 
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62 00 N, 7 00 W
 
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total: 1,393 sq km
country comparison to the world: 183
land: 1,393 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
 
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eight times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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1,117 km
 
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territorial sea: 3 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
 
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mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
 
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rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
 
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fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
 
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arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2005)
 
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0 sq km
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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party to: Marine Dumping - associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese
 
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Scandinavian
 
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Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
 
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Evangelical Lutheran 83.8%, other and unspecified 16.2% (2006 census)
 
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49,267 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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0-14 years: 21% (male 5,362/female 4,975)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 16,837/female 14,788)
65 years and over: 14.8% (male 3,487/female 3,818) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 37.3 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 38.1 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.428% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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12.95 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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8.67 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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urban population: 40% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.071 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 6.06 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 176
male: 6.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 79.72 years
country comparison to the world: 33
male: 77.25 years
female: 82.35 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.42 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA; note - probably 99%, the same as Denmark proper
 
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NA
 
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total: 9.4%
country comparison to the world: 105
male: 6.9%
female: 12.5% (2005)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Foroyar
 
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part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
 
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NA
 
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name: Torshavn
geographic coordinates: 62 01 N, 6 46 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
 
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none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities
 
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none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
 
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Olaifest (Olavsoka ), 29 July
 
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5 June 1953 (Danish Constitution)
 
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the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Dan Michael KNUDSEN, chief administrative officer (since 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN (since 26 September 2008)
cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held on 19 January 2008 (next to be held no later than January 2012)
election results: Joannes EIDESGAARD elected prime minister in 2008; governing coalition collapses in September 2008, Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN becomes prime minister
 
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unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 29 October 2011 (next to be held no later than October 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 24.7%, People's Party 22.5%, Republican Party 18.3%, Social Democratic Party 17.7%, Progressive Party 6.3%, Center Party 6.2%, Self-Government Party 4.2%, other 0.1%; seats by party - Union Party 8, People's Party 8, Republican Party 6, Social Democratic Party 6, Progressive Party 2, Center Party 2, Self-Government Party 1
note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 13 November 2007 (next to be held no later than November 2011); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, Union Party 1
 
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none
 
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Center Party [Jenis av RANA]; Independence Party [Kari P. HOJGAARD]; People's Party [Jorgen NICLASEN]; Republican Party [Hogni HOYDAL]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]
 
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conservationists
 
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Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UNESCO (associate), UPU
 
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none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
 
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none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
 
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white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); referred to as Merkid, meaning "the banner" or "the mark," the flag resembles those of neighboring Iceland and Norway, and uses the same three colors - but in a different sequence; white represents the clear Faroese sky as well as the foam of the waves; red and blue are traditional Faroese colors
 
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ram
 
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name: "Mitt alfagra land" (My Fairest Land)
lyrics/music: Simun av SKAROI/Peter ALBERG
note: adopted 1948; the anthem is also known as "Tu alfagra land mitt" (Thou Fairest Land of Mine); as an autonomous overseas division of Denmark, the Faroe Islands are permitted their own national anthem
 
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Economy

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The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price swings. The sector accounts for about 95% of exports and nearly half of GDP. In early 2008 the Faroese economy began to slow as a result of smaller catches and historically high oil prices that continue to trouble the economy. Reduced catches, especially of cod and haddock, have continued to strain the Faroese economy. GDP grew 0.5% in 2008-09. The slowdown in the Faroese economy followed a strong performance since the mid-1990s with annual growth rates averaging close to 6%, mostly a result of increased fish landings and salmon farming, and high export prices. Unemployment reached its lowest level in the first half of 2008, but increased to 3.9% in 2009 and is rising. The Faroese Home Rule Government produced increasing budget surpluses that helped to reduce the large public debt, most of it to Denmark. However, total dependence on fishing and salmon farming make the Faroese economy very vulnerable to fluctuations in world demand. In addition, budget surpluses turned to deficits in 2008-09, and the economy at both the country and local level is running large deficits. Initial discoveries of oil in the Faroese area give hope for eventual oil production, which may provide a foundation for a more diversified economy and less dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark amounting to about 6% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living almost equal to that of Denmark and Greenland.
 
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$1.59 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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$2.45 billion (2008 est.)
 
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0.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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$32,900 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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agriculture: 16%
industry: 29%
services: 55% (2007 est.)
 
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34,680 (November 2008)
country comparison to the world: 201
 
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agriculture: 10.2%
industry: 20.5%
services: 69.2% (2008)
 
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3.9% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 33
1.2% (2008)
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $1.163 billion
expenditures: $1.139 billion
note: Denmark supplies the Faroe Islands with almost one-third of their public funds (2006)
 
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47.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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1% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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-1.1% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 4
6.4% (2008)
 
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milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
 
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fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
 
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8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
 
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251.9 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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234.3 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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5,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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4,776 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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$848 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 158
$634 million (2006)
 
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fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships
 
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Denmark 33%, UK 19.8%, Nigeria 12.5%, US 10%, Netherlands 5.4%, Norway 4.8% (2010)
 
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$983 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 171
$751 million (2006)
 
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consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, machinery and transport equipment 29%, fuels, fish, salt
 
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Denmark 51.1%, Norway 22.4%, Sweden 6.7%, UK 4.2%, Iceland 4.1% (2010)
 
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$68.1 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
5.624 (2009)
5.0236 (2008)
5.4797 (2007)
5.9468 (2006)
 
 
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Communications

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20,200 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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59,400 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 197
 
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general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
domestic: conversion to digital system completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
international: country code - 298; 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
 
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1 publicly-owned TV station; the Faroese telecommunications company distributes local and international channels through its digital terrestrial network; publicly-owned radio station supplemented by 2 privately-owned stations broadcasting over multiple frequencies (2008)
 
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.fo
 
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8,936 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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37,500 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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Transportation

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1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 221
 
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total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 463 km (2006)
country comparison to the world: 196
 
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total: 26
country comparison to the world: 90
by type: cargo 11, chemical tanker 6, container 2, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 11 (Norway 6, Sweden 5) (2010)
 
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Fuglafjordur, Torshavn, Vagur
 
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Military

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no regular military forces
 
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males age 16-49: 11,831 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 9,827
females age 16-49: 8,418 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 372
female: 373 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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defense is the responsibility of Denmark
 
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Transnational Issues

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because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
 
 
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