Palau

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 14, 2011
Flag of Palau
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Palau
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Map of Palau
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NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF PALAU
 

Introduction

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After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
 
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7 30 N, 134 30 E
 
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total: 459 sq km
country comparison to the world: 198
land: 459 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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1,519 km
 
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territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
 
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varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m
 
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forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
 
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arable land: 8.7%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 86.95% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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typhoons (June to December)
 
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inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands
 
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People and Society

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noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan
 
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Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 69.9%, Filipino 15.3%, Chinese 4.9%, other Asian 2.4%, white 1.9%, Carolinian 1.4%, other Micronesian 1.1%, other or unspecified 3.2% (2000 census)
 
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Palauan (official on most islands) 64.7%, Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000 census)
note: Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)
 
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Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3%, Modekngei 8.8% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%, Mormon 0.6%, other 3.1%, unspecified or none 16.4% (2000 census)
 
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20,956 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219
 
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0-14 years: 21.5% (male 2,329/female 2,187)
15-64 years: 72% (male 8,355/female 6,724)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 402/female 959) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 32.6 years
male: 32.3 years
female: 33.3 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.363% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
 
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10.74 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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7.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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0.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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urban population: 83% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.064 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.25 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.43 male(s)/female
total population: 1.13 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 12.43 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 131
male: 14.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 71.78 years
country comparison to the world: 132
male: 68.63 years
female: 75.12 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.73 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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11.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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4.9 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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improved:
urban: 78% of population
rural: 95% of population
total: 83% of population
unimproved:
urban: 22% of population
rural: 5% of population
total: 17% of population (2000)
 
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improved:
urban: 92% of population
rural: 52% of population
total: 80% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8% of population
rural: 48% of population
total: 20% of population (2000)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92%
male: 93%
female: 90% (1980 est.)
 
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total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2001)
 
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Government

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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, Palau District
 
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constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 1 October 1994
 
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name: Melekeok
geographic coordinates: 7 29 N, 134 38 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol
 
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1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
 
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Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)
 
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1 January 1981
 
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mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Johnson TORIBIONG (since 15 January 2009); Vice President Kerai MARIUR (since 15 January 2009)
cabinet: NA
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elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Johnson TORIBIONG elected president; percent of vote - Johnson TORIBIONG 51%, Elias Camsek CHIN 49%
 
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bicameral National Congress or Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) consists of the Senate (9 seats; members elected by popular vote on a population basis to serve four-year terms) and the House of Delegates (16 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Delegates - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 16
 
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Supreme Court; Court of Common Pleas; Land Court
 
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none
 
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NA
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA
chancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281
consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Helen P. REED-ROWE
embassy: Koror (no street address)
mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX: [680] 488-2911
 
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light blue with a large yellow disk shifted slightly to the hoist side; the blue color represents the ocean, the disk represents the moon; Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity; it is also considered a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility
 
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name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau)
lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL
note: adopted 1980
 
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Economy

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The economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. The government is the major employer of the work force relying heavily on financial assistance from the US. The Compact of Free Association with the US, entered into after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994, provided Palau with up to $700 million in US aid for the following 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 85,000 in 2007. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly 50% higher than that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for the key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.
 
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$164 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218
$124.5 million (2004 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP estimate includes US subsidy
 
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$164 million (2008)
 
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NA% (2009)
5.5% (2005 est.)
 
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$8,100 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
$7,600 (2005 est.)
 
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agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 12%
services: 81.8% (2003)
 
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9,777 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 215
 
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agriculture: 20%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (1990)
 
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4.2% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $114.8 million
expenditures: $99.5 million (2008 est.)
 
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70% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
 
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9.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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2.7% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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$NA
 
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coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish
 
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tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
 
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NA%
 
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$15.09 million (FY03/04)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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$5.882 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
 
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shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
 
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$107.3 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
 
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machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
 
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$0 (FY99/00)
country comparison to the world: 200
 
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the US dollar is used
 
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Communications

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7,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 208
 
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14,500 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 211
 
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general assessment: NA
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services available with a combined subscribership of roughly 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 680; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2008)
 
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no television broadcast stations; a cable television network covers the major islands and provides access to rebroadcasts, on a delayed basis, of a number of US stations as well as access to a number of real-time satellite TV channels; about a half dozen radio stations with 1 government-owned (2009)
 
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.pw
 
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3 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 228
 
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Transportation

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3 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 192
 
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2010)
 
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Koror
 
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Military

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no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 6,987 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 5,272
females age 16-49: 3,969 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 216
female: 222 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there (2008)
 
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Transnational Issues

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maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia
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