Tonga

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Tonga
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Tonga
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Map of Tonga
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Introduction

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Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
 
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20 00 S, 175 00 W
 
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total: 747 sq km
country comparison to the world: 190
land: 717 sq km
water: 30 sq km
 
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four times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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419 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
 
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tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
 
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most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation on Kao Island 1,033 m
 
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fish, fertile soil
 
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arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 65.33% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
volcanism: the Tonga Islands experience volcanic activity; Fonualei (elev. 180 m) has shown frequent activity in recent years, while Niuafo'ou (elev. 260 m), which last erupted in 1985, has forced evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Late and Tofua
 
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deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
 
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People and Society

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noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan
 
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Polynesian, Europeans
 
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Tongan (official), English (official)
 
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Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
 
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105,916 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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0-14 years: 37.2% (male 20,023/female 19,393)
15-64 years: 56.7% (male 30,125/female 29,959)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 2,986/female 3,430) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 21.4 years
male: 21 years
female: 21.8 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.243% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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25.27 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
 
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4.9 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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-17.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219
 
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urban population: 23% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 13.65 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 125
male: 14.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 75.16 years
country comparison to the world: 88
male: 73.79 years
female: 76.58 years (2011 est.)
 
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3.65 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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6.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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0.2912 physicians/1,000 population (2002)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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2.44 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 96% of population
total: 96% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 4% of population
total: 4% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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56% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
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3.9% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 98.9%
male: 98.8%
female: 99% (1999 est.)
 
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total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2007)
 
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total: 11.9%
country comparison to the world: 91
male: 9.9%
female: 15.1% (2003)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands
 
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constitutional monarchy
 
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name: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
 
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4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
 
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National Day, 4 November (1875)
 
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4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967
 
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English common law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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21 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: King George TUPOU V (since 11 September 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO (since 22 December 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet is nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
note: there is also a Privy Council that advises the monarch
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of parliament and appointed by the monarch
election results: Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO elected by parliament on 21 December 2010 with 14 of 26 votes
 
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unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats - 9 for nobles elected from among the country's 29 nobles, 17 members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 November 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - independents 67.3%, Democratic Party 28.5%; seats - Democratic Party 12, independents 5
 
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Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (Chief Justice and high court justices from overseas chosen and approved by Privy Council)
 
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Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands [Samuela 'Akilisi POHIVA]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]; Sustainable Nation-Building Party [Sione FONUA]; Tonga Democratic Labor Party [NA]; Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM [Uliti UATA]
 
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Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]; Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Sonatane Tu'akinamolahi TAUMOEPEAU-TUPOU
chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
 
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the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
 
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red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity
 
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red cross on white field; arms equal length
 
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name: "Ko e fasi `o e tu"i `o e `Otu Tonga" (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)
lyrics/music: Uelingatoni Ngu TUPOUMALOHI/Karl Gustavus SCHMITT
note: in use since 1875; the anthem is more commonly known as "Fasi Fakafonua" (National Song)
 
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Economy

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Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 39,000 visitors in 2006. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. High unemployment among the young, a continuing upturn in inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.
 
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$751 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
$749.1 million (2009 est.)
$750.9 million (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$363 million (2010 est.)
 
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0.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
-0.3% (2009 est.)
1.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$6,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$6,200 (2009 est.)
$6,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 20.4%
industry: 17.9%
services: 61.7% (2010 est.)
 
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39,960 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 194
 
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agriculture: 31.8%
industry: 30.6%
services: 2,003% (2003 est.)
 
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13% (FY03/04 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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24% (FY03/04)
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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26.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
 
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revenues: $104.9 million
expenditures: $104.9 million (2010 est.)
 
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28.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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0% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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3.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
1.4% (2009 est.)
 
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11.53% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
12.13% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$54.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
$44.54 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$171.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
$153.5 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$165.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$150.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish
 
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tourism, construction, fishing
 
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1% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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40 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
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37.2 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
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0 kWh (2009)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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1,202 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
 
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-$23 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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$22 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops
 
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Hong Kong 26.8%, US 17.9%, Fiji 10.7%, Samoa 9%, NZ 7.9%, Japan 6.1%, American Samoa 5.7% (2010)
 
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$139 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 208
 
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foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
 
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Fiji 31.6%, NZ 22.3%, Japan 11%, US 10.8%, Australia 5.6%, China 5.1% (2010)
 
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$40.83 million (FY04/05)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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$104.5 million (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
$80.7 million (2004)
 
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pa'anga (TOP) per US dollar -
NA (2007)
2.0277 (2006)
1.96 (2005)
1.9716 (2004)
2.142 (2003)
 
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Communications

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31,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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54,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
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general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International (TTI)
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 70 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2009)
 
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2 state-owned television stations and 2 privately-owned stations; satellite and cable TV services are available; 2 state-owned and 3 privately-owned radio stations; Radio Australia broadcasts obtainable via a satellite feed (2009)
 
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.to
 
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20,847 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 110
 
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8,400 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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Transportation

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6 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 680 km
country comparison to the world: 189
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (2000)
 
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total: 10
country comparison to the world: 114
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 6, carrier 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Australia 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1) (2010)
 
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Nuku'alofa, Neiafu, Pangai
 
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Military

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Tonga Defense Services (TDS): Land Force (Royal Guard), Maritime Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2010)
 
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16 years of age for voluntary enlistment (with parental consent); no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 24,460
females age 16-49: 24,041 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 20,956
females age 16-49: 20,577 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 1,196
female: 1,134 (2010 est.)
 
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0.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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