Palau Population: 21,108


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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.

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
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 30 E
Area: total: 459 sq km land: 459 sq km water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,519 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
Terrain: 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: 2.17% permanent crops: 4.35% other: 93.48% (2011)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Current Environment Issues: inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
International Environment 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
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Nationality: 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)
Languages: Palauan (official on most islands) 64.7%, Filipino 13.5%, English (official) 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)
Religions: 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)
Population: 21,108 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.7% (male 2,250/female 2,110) 15-24 years: 17.6% (male 1,849/female 1,875) 25-54 years: 46.6% (male 5,981/female 3,854) 55-64 years: 8.3% (male 615/female 1,129) 65 years and over: 6.8% (male 407/female 1,038) (2013 est.)
Median age: total: 32.9 years
male: 32.5 years female: 33.9 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.37% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 10.9 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 7.86 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 83% of total population (2010) rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female 0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 25-54 years: 1.55 male(s)/female 55-64 years: 0.55 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.4 male(s)/female total population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 11.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.35 deaths/1,000 live births female: 10.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.33 years
male: 69.17 years female: 75.68 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.72 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 32.8% note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2003)
Health expenditures: 10.3% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2006)
Hospital bed density: 4.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved: urban: 83% of population rural: 96% of population total: 85% of population unimproved: urban: 17% of population rural: 4% of population total: 15% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved: urban: 100% of population rural: 100% of population total: 100% of population unimproved: urban: 100% of population rural: 100% of population total: 100% of population (2010 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 48.9% (2008)
Education expenditures: 10.3% of GDP (2002)
Literacy: 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)
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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
Capital: 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
Independence: 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)
Constitution: 1 January 1981
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013) 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 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016) election results: percent of vote - Tommy REMENGESAU 58%, Johnson TORIBIONG 42%
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 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); House of Delegates - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016) election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 16
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 3 associate justices organized into appellate trial divisions; also within the Supreme Court organization are the Common Pleas and Land Courts) judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by a 7-member independent body consisting of judges, presidential appointees, and lawyers, and appointed by the president; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65 subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courts
Political parties and leaders: none
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
National symbol(s):
National anthem: name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau) lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL note: adopted 1980
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, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940 telephone: [680] 587-2920 FAX: [680] 587-2911
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The economy consists of tourism and other services such as trade, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Government is a major employer of the work force relying on financial assistance from the US under the Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the US. The Compact took effect, after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994. The US provided Palau with roughly $700 million in aid for the first 15 years following commencement of the Compact in 1994 in return for unrestricted access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. Business and leisure tourist arrivals numbered over 109,000 in 2011, for a 27% increase over 2010. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly double that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for tourism have been bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of industrial East Asia, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development. Proximity to Guam, the region's major destination for tourists from East Asia, and a regionally competitive tourist infrastructure enhance Palau's advantage as a destination.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $221 million (2011 est.) $208.9 million (2010 est.) note: GDP estimate includes US subsidy
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $221 million (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.8% (2011 est.) 5.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,500 (2011 est.) $7,600 (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish
Industries: tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
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: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $89 million expenditures: $94.3 million (2010 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 40.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.7% (2011 est.) 1.6% (2010 est.)
Current account balance: -$20.8 million (2010 est.) $15.09 million (FY03/04)
Exports: $12.3 million (2010 est.) $5.882 million (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities: shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
Imports: $113.4 million (2010 est.) $107.3 million (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
Debt - external: $0 (FY99/00)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
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Telephones in use: 6,900 (2011) country comparison to the world: 206
Cellular Phones in use: 15,400 (2011)
Telephone system: 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) (2009)
Broadcast media: no TV stations; a cable TV 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: .pw
Internet hosts: 4 (2012)
Internet users:
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Airports: 3 (2013) country comparison to the world: 194
Airports (paved runways): total 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
Ports and terminals: Koror
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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)
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 expenditures: NA
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia
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Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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