Tuvalu

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Tuvalu
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Tuvalu
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Map of Tuvalu
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NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF TUVALU
 

Introduction

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In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" for $50 million in royalties over a 12-year period.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
 
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8 00 S, 178 00 E
 
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total: 26 sq km
country comparison to the world: 238
land: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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24 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
 
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low-lying and narrow coral atolls
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
 
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fish
 
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arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 66.67%
other: 33.33% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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severe tropical storms are usually rare, but in 1997 there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
 
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since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); 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; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
 
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People and Society

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noun: Tuvaluan(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan
 
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Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%
 
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Tuvaluan (official), English (official), Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
 
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Protestant 98.4% (Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%), Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%
 
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10,544 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 225
 
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0-14 years: 30.6% (male 1,656/female 1,569)
15-64 years: 64% (male 3,294/female 3,459)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 238/female 328) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 24.1 years
male: 22.7 years
female: 26.1 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.702% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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23.24 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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9.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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-7.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
 
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urban population: 50% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.042 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 34.52 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 69
male: 37.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 31.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 64.75 years
country comparison to the world: 169
male: 62.7 years
female: 66.9 years (2011 est.)
 
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3.11 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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9.9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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0.636 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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5.56 beds/1,000 population (2001)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 88% of population
rural: 81% of population
total: 84% of population
unimproved:
urban: 12% of population
rural: 19% of population
total: 16% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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1.6% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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total: 11 years
male: 10 years
female: 11 years (2001)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tuvalu
local long form: none
local short form: Tuvalu
former: Ellice Islands
note: "Tuvalu" means "group of eight" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands
 
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parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
 
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name: Funafuti
geographic coordinates: 8 30 S, 179 12 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: administrative offices are in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet
 
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none
 
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1 October 1978 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
 
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1 October 1978
 
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mixed legal system of English common law and local 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: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Iakoba TAEIA Italeli (since May 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister Willie TELAVI (since 24 December 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
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elections: the monarchy 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 following parliamentary elections
election results: Willie TELAVI elected prime minister in a parliamentary election on 24 December 2010 following a no-confidence vote on 21 December 2010 that ousted Maatia TOAFA
 
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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 on 16 September 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 15; 10 members reelected
 
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High Court (a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over its sessions; its rulings can be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Fiji); eight Island Courts (with limited jurisdiction)
 
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there are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
 
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none
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, IBRD, IDA, IFRCS (observer), ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO
 
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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, NY 10017, telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534, fax: [1] (212) 937-0692
 
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the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
 
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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 on a blue field symbolizing the nine atolls in the ocean
 
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name: "Tuvalu mo te Atua" (Tuvalu for the Almighty)
lyrics/music: Afaese MANOA
note: adopted 1978; the anthem's name is also the nation's motto
 
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Economy

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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 and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Job opportunities are scarce and public sector workers make up most of those employed. About 15% of the adult male population work as seamen on merchant ships abroad, and remittances are a vital source of income contributing around $2 million in 2007. Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (TTF) 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 grew from an initial $17 million to an estimated value of $77 million in 2006. The TTF contributed nearly $9 million towards the government budget in 2006 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government's budget. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to ensure financial stability and sustainability, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts. Tuvalu also derives royalties from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name with revenue of more than $2 million in 2006. A minor source of government revenue comes from the sale of stamps and coins. 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 income from overseas investments. Growing income disparities and the vulnerability of the country to climatic change are among leading concerns for the nation.
 
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$36 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 224
$36.34 million (2009 est.)
$36.68 million (2008 est.)
 
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$32 million (2010 est.)
 
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0.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
-1.7% (2009 est.)
7% (2008 est.)
 
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$3,400 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$2,900 (2009 est.)
$3,000 (2008 est.)
 
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agriculture: 16.6%
industry: 27.2%
services: 56.2% (2002)
 
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3,615 (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 221
 
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note: 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)
 
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NA%
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $21.54 million
expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)
 
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67.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 8
 
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-4.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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3.8% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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coconuts; fish
 
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fishing, tourism, copra
 
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NA%
 
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-$11.68 million (2003)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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$1 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219
 
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copra, fish
 
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$12.91 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 221
 
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food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
 
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$NA
 
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Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.0902 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2137 (2007)
1.3285 (2006)
 
 
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Communications

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1,600 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 226
 
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2,500 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 218
 
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general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands
international: country code - 688; international calls can be made by satellite
 
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no television broadcast stations; many households use satellite dishes to watch foreign TV stations; 1 government-owned radio station, Radio Tuvalu, includes relays of programming from international broadcasters (2009)
 
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.tv
 
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109,478 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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4,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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Transportation

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1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 232
 
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 8 km
country comparison to the world: 222
paved: 8 km (2002)
 
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total: 66
country comparison to the world: 63
by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 20, chemical tanker 16, container 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 49 (Thailand 1, Vietnam 6, Turkey 1, Switzerland 1, South Korea 1, Singapore 25, Maldives 1, Malaysia 1, Kenya 1, Hong Kong 1, China 9, Ukraine 1) (2010)
 
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Funafuti
 
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Military

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no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,021
females age 16-49: 2,026 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 119
female: 111 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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