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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


 Total: 459 sq km
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 (Rank: 68)

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)

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

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 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)


 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)


 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)


 20,956 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 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.)

Median Age:

 Total: 32.6 years
Male: 32.3 years
Female: 33.3 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.363% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

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

Death Rate:

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

Net Migration Rate:

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


 Urban population: 83% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex Ratio:

 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.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 12.43 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 14.06 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 71.78 years
Male: 68.63 years
Female: 75.12 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.73 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 11.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital Bed Density:

 4.9 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 78% of population
Rural: 95% of population
Total: 83% of population
Urban: 22% of population
Rural: 5% of population
Total: 17% of population (2000)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 92% of population
Rural: 52% of population
Total: 80% of population
Urban: 8% of population
Rural: 48% of population
Total: 20% of population (2000)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 92%
Male: 93%
Female: 90% (1980 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 15 years
Male: 14 years
Female: 15 years (2001)

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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)


 January 1, 1981

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of civil, common, and 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 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

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%

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

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: 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

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

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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.)
$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.)
$7,600 (2005 est.)

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 6.2%
Industry: 12%
Services: 81.8% (2003)

Labor Force:

 9,777 (2005)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 20%
Industry: NA%
Services: NA% (1990)

Unemployment Rate:

 4.2% (2005 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%


 Revenues: $114.8 million
Expenditures: $99.5 million (2008 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 70% of GDP (2008 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 9.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.7% (2005 est.)

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)


 $5.882 million (2004 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Shellfish, tuna, copra, garments


 $107.3 million (2004 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs

Debt - External:

 $0 (FY99/00)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert United States Dollar to Any Currency

The US dollar is used

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 7,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 14,500 (2010)

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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (cable) (2005)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 3 (2010)

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 3 (2010)

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:


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Military Branches:

 No regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 6,987 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 5,272
Females age 16-49: 3,969 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 216
Female: 222 (2010 est.)

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)

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Disputes - International:

 Maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia

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Last Updated: December 2011

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