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 Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator, as well as the International Date Line; the capital Tarawa is about half way between Hawaii and Australia

Geographic Coordinates:

 1 25 N, 173 00 E


 Total: 811 sq km
Land: 811 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands

Area - Comparative:

 Four times the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 1,143 km (Rank: 79)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


 Tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds


 Mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed elevation on Banaba 81 m

Natural Resources:

 Phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)

Land Use:

 Arable land: 2.74%
Permanent crops: 47.95%
Other: 49.31% (2005)

Natural Hazards:

 Typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level

Environment - Current Issues:

 Heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)

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 Noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
Adjective: I-Kiribati

Ethnic Groups:

 Micronesian 98.8%, other 1.2% (2000 census)


 I-Kiribati, English (official)


 Roman Catholic 55%, Protestant 36%, Mormon 3.1%, Baha'i 2.2%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.9%, other 1.8% (2005 census)


 100,743 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 33.9% (male 17,385/female 16,750)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 30,598/female 32,259)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 1,461/female 2,290) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 22.5 years
Male: 21.7 years
Female: 23.4 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.249% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 22.73 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 7.4 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -2.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 44% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 TARAWA (capital) 43,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 9 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 38.89 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 40.13 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 37.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 64.39 years
Male: 62.03 years
Female: 66.88 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.78 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.3% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.297 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.8 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 77% of population
Rural: 50% of population
Total: 62% of population
Urban: 23% of population
Rural: 50% of population
Total: 38% of population (2000)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 47% of population
Rural: 22% of population
Total: 33% of population
Urban: 53% of population
Rural: 78% of population
Total: 67% of population (2000)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 50.6% (2006)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 12 years
Male: 12 years
Female: 13 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 11.3%
Male: 11.8%
Female: 10% (2005)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
Conventional short form: Kiribati
Local long form: Republic of Kiribati
Local short form: Kiribati

Note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss
Former: Gilbert Islands

Government Type:



 Name: Tarawa
Geographic coordinates: 1 19 N, 172 58 E
Time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Note: on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction were on the other side of the International Date Line

Administrative Divisions:

 3 units; Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - in addition, there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)


 12 July 1979 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 12 July (1979)


 July 12, 1979

Legal System:

 English common law supplemented by customary law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO

Cabinet: 12-member cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of Parliament

Elections: the House of Parliament chooses the presidential candidates from among its members and then those candidates compete in a general election; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for two more terms); election last held on 17 October 2007 (next to be held in 2011); vice president appointed by the president

Election results: Anote TONG 63.7%, Nabuti MWEMWENIKARAWA 32.9%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral House of Parliament or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members elected by popular vote, 1 ex officio member - the attorney general, 1 nominated by the Rabi Council of Leaders (representing Banaba Island); members serve four-year terms)

Elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first round on 22 August 2007 and the second round on 30 August 2007 (next to be held in 2011)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA, other 2 (includes attorney general)

Judicial Branch:

 Court of Appeal; High Court; 26 Magistrates' courts; judges at all levels are appointed by the president

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK [Taberannang TIMEON]; Maneaban Te Mauri Party or MTM [Teburoro TITO]; Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP; National Progressive Party or NPP [Dr. Harry TONG]

Note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Kiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 The US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati

Flag Description:

 The upper half is red with a yellow frigate bird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the Pacific ocean; the white stripes represent the three island groups - the Gilbert, Line, and Phoenix Islands; the 17 rays of the sun represent the 16 Gilbert Islands and Banaba (formerly Ocean Island); the frigate bird symbolizes authority and freedom

National Symbols:


National Anthem:

 Name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
Lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA

Note: adopted 1979

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Economy - Overview:

 A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Islands. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the UK in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of GDP. Private sector initiatives and a financial sector are in the early stages of development. Foreign financial aid from the EU, UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UN agencies, and Taiwan accounts for 20-25% of GDP. Remittances from seamen on merchant ships abroad account for more than $5 million each year. Kiribati receives around $15 million annually for the government budget from an Australian trust fund.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $618 million (2010 est.)
$606.7 million (2009 est.)
$611.3 million (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $147 million (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 1.8% (2010 est.)
-0.7% (2009 est.)
-1.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $6,200 (2010 est.)
$6,200 (2009 est.)
$6,300 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 8.9%
Industry: 24.2%
Services: 66.8% (2004)

Labor Force:

 7,870 economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2001 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 2.7%
Industry: 32%
Services: 65.3% (2000)

Unemployment Rate:

 2% (1992 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%


 Revenues: $55.52 million
Expenditures: $59.71 million (FY05)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 37.8% of GDP (FY05)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2.8% of GDP (FY05)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 0.2% (2007 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Copra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish


 Fishing, handicrafts

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production:

 22 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 20.46 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 300 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 284 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$21 million (2007 est.)


 $17 million (2004 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Copra 62%, coconuts, seaweed, fish


 $62 million (2004 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel

Debt - External:

 $10 million (1999 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Australian Dollar to Any Currency

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.0902 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2059 (2008)
1.2137 (2007)
1.3285 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 4,100 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 10,000 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: generally good quality national and international service

Domestic: wire line service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; wireless service available in Tarawa since 1999

International: country code - 686; Kiribati is being linked to the Pacific Ocean Cooperative Telecommunications Network, which should improve telephone service; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast Media:

 1 television broadcast station that provides about 1 hour of local programming Monday-Friday; multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasting on AM, FM, and shortwave (2009)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (may be inactive) (2002)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (possibly inactive) (2002)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 31 (2010)

Internet Users:

 7,800 (2009)

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 19 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 4 (2010)


 Total: 670 km (2000)


 5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2007)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 71
By type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 32, chemical tanker 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 15
Foreign-owned: 51 (China 28, Hong Kong 1, Italy 1, Singapore 11, South Korea 2, Taiwan 5, Turkey 3) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor

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Military Branches:

 No regular military forces (establishment prevented by the constitution); Police Force (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 25,190 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 18,364
Females age 16-49: 20,302 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 1,132
Female: 1,120 (2010 est.)

Military - Note:

 Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ

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Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Kiribati is a source country for girls subjected to sex trafficking; crew members on Korean and perhaps other foreign fishing vessels in Kiribati or in its territorial waters exploit prostituted children on board their vessels

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Kiribati does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making efforts to do so; the government does not define labor or sex trafficking offenses in Kiribati law, makes no efforts to proactively identify victims of trafficking or establish formal procedures for the identification of trafficking victims, nor does it refer these victims to protective services, investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking offenders, or work with NGOs or international organizations to provide protective services to victims (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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