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Map of Nauru
Introduction Nauru
Nauru's phosphate deposits began to be mined early in 20th century by a German-British consortium; island previously occupied by Australian forces in World War I. Nauru achieved independence in 1968 and joined UN in 1999. Nauru is world's smallest independent republic.
Geography Nauru
Oceania, island in South Pacific Ocean, south of Marshall Islands
Geographic coordinates:
0 32 S, 166 55 E
Map references:
total: 21 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 21 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.1 times size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
30 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February)
sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location along plateau rim 61 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, fish
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
Nauru is one of three great phosphate rock islands in Pacific Ocean - others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator
People Nauru
Total Population:
12,570 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.9% (male 2,517; female 2,368)
15-64 years: 59.3% (male 3,681; female 3,779)
65 years and over: 1.8% (male 116; female 109) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.6 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 20 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.9% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
26.09 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
7.08 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
Population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 10.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 13 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 61.95 years
male: 58.41 years
female: 65.66 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.4 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Nauruan(s)
adjective: Nauruan
Ethnic groups:
Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%
Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic)
Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
definition: NA
Population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Nauru
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Nauru
conventional short form: Nauru
former: Pleasant Island
Government type:
no official capital; government offices in Yaren District
Administrative divisions:
14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren
31 January 1968 (from Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 31 January (1968)
29 January 1968
Legal system:
acts of Nauru Parliament and British common law
20 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Rene HARRIS (since 8 August 2003) note - president is both chief of state and head of government
elections: president elected by Parliament for a three-year term; election last held 29 May 2003 (next to be held NA 2006)
note: Ludwig SCOTTY previously removed from presidency in a no-confidence vote 8 August 2003; Rene HARRIS became president
election results: Ludwig SCOTTY elected president 29 May 2003; Ludwig SCOTTY 10 parliamentary votes, Kinza CLODUMAR 7
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president from among members of Parliament
head of government: President Rene HARRIS (since 8 August 2003) note - president is both chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (18 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 3 May 2003 (next to be held not later than May 2006)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - Nauru First Party 3, independents 15
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
loose multiparty system; Democratic Party [Kennan ADEANG]; Nauru Party (informal) [leader NA]; Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
Nauru does not have an embassy in US, but does have a UN office at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400 D, New York, New York 10017; telephone: (212) 937-0074
consulate(s): Hagatna (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from US:
US does not have an embassy in Nauru; US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Nauru
Flag description:
blue with a narrow, horizontal, yellow stripe across center and a large white 12-pointed star below stripe on hoist side; star indicates countries location in relation to Equator (the yellow stripe) and 12 points symbolize 12 original tribes of Nauru
Economy Nauru
Economy - overview:
Revenues of this tiny island have come from exports of phosphates, but reserves are expected to be exhausted within a few years. Phosphate production has declined since 1989, as demand has fallen in traditional markets and as marginal cost of extracting remaining phosphate increases, making it less internationally competitive. While phosphates have given Nauruans one of highest per capita incomes in Third World, few other resources exist with most necessities being imported, includes fresh water from Australia. rehabilitation of mined land and replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. In anticipation of exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income have been invested in trust funds to help cushion transition and provide for Nauru's economic future. government has been borrowing heavily from trusts to finance fiscal deficits. To cut costs government has called for a freeze on wages, a reduction of over-staffed public service departments, privatization of numerous government agencies, and closure of some overseas consulates. In recent years Nauru has encouraged registration of offshore banks and corporations. Tens of billions of dollars have been channeled through their accounts. Few comprehensive statistics on Nauru economy exist, with estimates of Nauru's GDP varying widely.
buying power parity - $60 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $5,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-3.6% (1993)
Labor force - by occupation:
employed in mining phosphates, public administration, education, and transportation
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $23.4 million
expenditures: $64.8 million, includes capital expenditures of $NA (FY 95/96)
phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
30 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
27.9 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
$27 million f.o.b. (1995)
Exports - commodities:
Exports - partners:
India 46.1%, South Korea 18.3%, Australia 10.6%, New Zealand 7.8%, Netherlands 5.6% (2002)
$33 million c.i.f. (1995)
Imports - commodities:
food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery
Imports - partners:
Australia 59.3%, US 10.1%, Ireland 7.6%, Malaysia 6% (2002)
Debt - external:
$33.3 million
Economic aid - recipient:
$2.25 million from Australia (FY96/97 est.)
Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.2641 (2002) 1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Nauru
Telephones - main lines in use:
2,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
450 (1994)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate local and international radiotelephone communication provided via Australian facilities
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
7,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
500 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Nauru
total: 5 km
note: gauge unknown; used to haul phosphates from center of island to processing facilities on southwest coast (2001)
total: 30 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 6 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
1 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Military Nauru
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Nauru Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,190 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,762 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
Nauru maintains no defense forces; under an informal agreement, defense is responsibility of Australia
Transnational Issues Nauru
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
broad-based money-laundering center