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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

Geographic Coordinates:

 8 00 S, 178 00 E


 Total: 26 sq km
Land: 26 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 24 km (Rank: 195)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


 Tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)


 Low-lying and narrow coral atolls

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural Resources:


Land Use:

 Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 66.67%
Other: 33.33% (2005)

Natural Hazards:

 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

Environment - Current Issues:

 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

Environment - International Agreements:

 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

Geography - Note:

 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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 Noun: Tuvaluan(s)
Adjective: Tuvaluan

Ethnic Groups:

 Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%


 Tuvaluan (official), English (official), Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)


 Protestant 98.4% (Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%), Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%


 10,544 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 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.)

Median Age:

 Total: 24.1 years
Male: 22.7 years
Female: 26.1 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.702% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

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

Death Rate:

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

Net Migration Rate:

 -7.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 50% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex Ratio:

 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.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 34.52 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 37.56 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 31.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 64.75 years
Male: 62.7 years
Female: 66.9 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 3.11 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 9.9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.636 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density:

 5.56 beds/1,000 population (2001)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 97% of population
Total: 97% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 3% of population
Total: 3% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 88% of population
Rural: 81% of population
Total: 84% of population
Urban: 12% of population
Rural: 19% of population
Total: 16% of population (2008)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 1.6% (2007)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 10 years
Female: 11 years (2001)

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Country Name:

 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

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


 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


 1 October 1978 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 1 October (1978)


 October 1, 1978

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law and local 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: 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

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

Legislative Branch:

 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

Judicial Branch:

 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)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 There are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 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

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

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

Flag Description:

 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

National Anthem:

 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 - Overview:

 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $36 million (2010 est.)
$36.34 million (2009 est.)
$36.68 million (2008 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $32 million (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 0.2% (2010 est.)
-1.7% (2009 est.)
7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $3,400 (2010 est.)
$2,900 (2009 est.)
$3,000 (2008 est.)

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 16.6%
Industry: 27.2%
Services: 56.2% (2002)

Labor Force:

 3,615 (2004 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 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)

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%


 Revenues: $21.54 million
Expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 67.3% of GDP (2006)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -4.7% of GDP (2006)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 3.8% (2006 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Coconuts; fish


 Fishing, tourism, copra

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: NA
Hydro: NA
Nuclear: NA
Other: NA

Current Account Balance:

 -$11.68 million (2003)


 $1 million (2004 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Copra, fish


 $12.91 million (2005)

Imports - Commodities:

 Food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Australian Dollar to Any Currency

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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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 1,600 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 2,500 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications

Domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands

International: country code - 688; international calls can be made by satellite

Broadcast Media:

 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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 0 (2004)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 109,478 (2010)

Internet Users:

 4,200 (2008)

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 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 8 km
Paved: 8 km (2002)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 66
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)

Ports and Terminals:


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Military Branches:

 No regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2009)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,021
Females age 16-49: 2,026 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 119
Female: 111 (2010 est.)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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