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Palau (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::Palau


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.

Geography ::Palau

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Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines

Geographic coordinates:
7 30 N, 134 30 E

Map references:



total: 459 sq km country comparison to the world: 196 land: 459 sq km

water: 0 sq km


Area - comparative:

slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km


1,519 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 3 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November


varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m

Natural resources:

forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals

Land use:

arable land: 8.7%

permanent crops: 4.35%

other: 86.95% (2005)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

typhoons (June to December)

Environment - current issues:

inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing

Environment - international agreements:

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

Geography - note:

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

People ::Palau


20,879 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 218

Age structure:

0-14 years: 22.9% (male 2,458/female 2,314)

15-64 years: 70.8% (male 8,207/female 6,521)

65 years and over: 6.2% (male 401/female 895) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 32.4 years

male: 32.2 years

female: 33 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.374% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 168

Birth rate:

10.68 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 183

Death rate:

7.81 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 112

Net migration rate:

0.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 58


urban population: 81% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.065 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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 134 male: 14.43 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.51 years country comparison to the world: 129 male: 68.36 years

female: 74.84 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.73 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 166

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Palauan(s)

adjective: Palauan

Ethnic groups:

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)


Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3%, Modekngei 8.8% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Jehovah's Witness 0.9%, Latter-Day Saints 0.6%, other 3.1%, unspecified or none 16.4% (2000 census)


Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese
and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and
Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), 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)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92%

male: 93%

female: 90% (1980 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2001)

Education expenditures:

10.3% of GDP (2002) country comparison to the world: 5

Government ::Palau

Country name:

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

Government type:

constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 1 October 1994


name: Melekeok

geographic coordinates: 7 29 N, 134 38 E

time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol


1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)


1 January 1981

Legal system:

based on Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) 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 (51%) defeats Elias Camsek CHIN (49%) for president; Kerai MARIUR elected vice president

Legislative branch:

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

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; Court of Common Pleas; Land Court

Political parties and leaders:


Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

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)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires James PANOS

embassy: Koror (no street address)

mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940

telephone: [680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX: [680] 488-2911

Flag description:

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

National anthem:

name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau)

lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL

note: adopted 1980

Economy ::Palau

Economy - overview:

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$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

GDP (official exchange rate):

$164 million (2008)

GDP - real growth rate:
NA% (2009)

5.5% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$8,100 (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 122 $7,600 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 6.2%

industry: 12%

services: 81.8% (2003)

Labor force:

9,777 (2005) country comparison to the world: 215

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 20%

industry: NA%

services: NA% (1990)

Unemployment rate:

4.2% (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 39

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.7% (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 85

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish


tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making

Industrial production growth rate:

Current account balance:

$15.09 million (FY03/04) country comparison to the world: 59


$5.882 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 214

Exports - commodities:

shellfish, tuna, copra, garments


$107.3 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 208

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs

Debt - external:

$0 (FY99/00) country comparison to the world: 197

Exchange rates:

the US dollar is used

Communications ::Palau

Telephones - main lines in use:

7,100 (2009) country comparison to the world: 207

Telephones - mobile cellular:

13,200 (2009) country comparison to the world: 210

Telephone system:

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)

Broadcast media:

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)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

3 (2010) country comparison to the world: 229

Transportation ::Palau


3 (2010) country comparison to the world: 191

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2010)

Ports and terminals:


Military ::Palau

Military branches:

no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 6,955 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 5,223

females age 16-49: 3,949 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 212

female: 218 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

Military - note:

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)

Transnational Issues ::Palau

Disputes - international:

maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia

Political divisions of the United States

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Federal district : Washington, D.C.
Insular areas : American Samoa | Guam | Northern Mariana Islands |Puerto Rico | U.S. Virgin Islands

Outlying islands : Baker Island | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll |Kingman Reef Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Palmyra Atoll | Wake Island

Indian reservations : List of Indian reservations

Associated states : Micronesia, Federated States of | Marshall Islands | Palau


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