Introduction ::PalauBackground: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.Geography ::PalauLocation:Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the PhilippinesGeographic coordinates:7 30 N, 134 30 EArea:total: 459 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 198land: 459 sq kmwater: 0 sq kmArea - comparative:slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DCLand boundaries:0 kmCoastline:1,519 kmMaritime claims:territorial sea: 3 nmexclusive fishing zone: 200 nmClimate:tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to NovemberTerrain:varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefsElevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 mhighest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 mNatural resources:forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed mineralsLand use:arable land: 2.17%permanent crops: 4.35%other: 93.48% (2011)Irrigated land:NANatural 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 overfishingEnvironment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whalingsigned, but not ratified: none of the selected agreementsGeography - 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 islandsPeople and Society ::PalauNationality:noun: Palauan(s)adjective: PalauanEthnic 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.)country comparison to the world: 219Age 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 yearsmale: 32.5 yearsfemale: 33.9 years (2013 est.)Population growth rate:0.37% (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 159Birth rate:10.9 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 176Death rate:7.86 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 107Net migration rate:0.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 63Urbanization: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)/female0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female25-54 years: 1.55 male(s)/female55-64 years: 0.55 male(s)/female65 years and over: 0.4 male(s)/femaletotal population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2013 est.)Infant mortality rate:total: 11.77 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 132male: 13.35 deaths/1,000 live birthsfemale: 10.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)Life expectancy at birth:total population: 72.33 yearscountry comparison to the world: 133male: 69.17 yearsfemale: 75.68 years (2013 est.)Total fertility rate:1.72 children born/woman (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 168Contraceptive prevalence rate:32.8%note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2003)Health expenditures:10.3% of GDP (2010)country comparison to the world: 28Physicians 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 populationrural: 96% of populationtotal: 85% of populationunimproved:urban: 17% of populationrural: 4% of populationtotal: 15% of population (2010 est.)Sanitation facility access:improved:urban: 100% of populationrural: 100% of populationtotal: 100% of populationunimproved:urban: 100% of populationrural: 100% of populationtotal: 100% of population (2010 est.)HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NAHIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NAHIV/AIDS - deaths:NAObesity - adult prevalence rate:48.9% (2008)country comparison to the world: 7Education expenditures:10.3% of GDP (2002)country comparison to the world: 5Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 92%male: 93%female: 90% (1980 est.)School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):total: 15 yearsmale: 14 yearsfemale: 15 years (2001)Government ::PalauCountry name:conventional long form: Republic of Palauconventional short form: Palaulocal long form: Beluu er a Belaulocal short form: Belauformer: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau DistrictGovernment type:constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 1 October 1994Capital:name: Melekeokgeographic coordinates: 7 29 N, 134 38 Etime 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, SonsorolIndependence:1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)National holiday:Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)Constitution:1 January 1981Legal system:mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary lawInternational law organization participation:has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCtSuffrage:18 years of age; universalExecutive 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 governmenthead 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 16Judicial 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 65subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courtsPolitical parties and leaders:nonePolitical pressure groups and leaders:NAInternational 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, WHODiplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTAchancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006telephone:  (202) 452-6814FAX:  (202) 452-6281consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Helen P. REED-ROWEembassy: Koror (no street address)mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940telephone:  587-2920FAX:  587-2911Flag 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 tranquilityNational anthem:name: ""Belau rekid"" (Our Palau)lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIELnote: adopted 1980Economy ::PalauEconomy - overview: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):$221 million (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 218$208.9 million (2010 est.)note: GDP estimate includes US subsidyGDP (official exchange rate):$221 million (2011 est.)GDP - real growth rate:5.8% (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 485.5% (2005 est.)GDP - per capita (PPP):$10,500 (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 115$7,600 (2005 est.)GDP - composition, by sector of origin:agriculture: 3.2%industry: 20%services: 76.8% (2012 est.)Agriculture - products:coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; fishIndustries:tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment makingIndustrial production growth rate:NA%Labor force:9,777 (2005)country comparison to the world: 217Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 20%industry: NA%services: NA% (1990)Unemployment rate:4.2% (2005 est.)country comparison to the world: 35Population below poverty line:NA%Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%highest 10%: NA%Budget:revenues: $89 millionexpenditures: $94.3 million (2010 est.)Taxes and other revenues:40.3% of GDP (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 43Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):-2.4% of GDP (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 94Fiscal year:1 October - 30 SeptemberInflation rate (consumer prices):2.7% (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 751.6% (2010 est.)Market value of publicly traded shares:$NACurrent account balance:-$20.8 million (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 60$15.09 million (FY03/04)Exports:$12.3 million (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 209$5.882 million (2004 est.)Exports - commodities:shellfish, tuna, copra, garmentsImports:$113.4 million (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 212$107.3 million (2004 est.)Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffsDebt - external:$0 (FY99/00)country comparison to the world: 203Exchange rates:the US dollar is usedCommunications ::PalauTelephones - main lines in use:6,900 (2011)country comparison to the world: 206Telephones - mobile cellular:15,400 (2011)country comparison to the world: 209Telephone system:domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services available with a combined subscribership of roughly 100 per 100 personsinternational: 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:.pwInternet hosts:4 (2012)country comparison to the world: 231Transportation ::PalauAirports:3 (2013)country comparison to the world: 194Airports - with paved runways:total: 11,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 21,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)Ports and terminals:KororMilitary ::PalauMilitary 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: 5,272females age 16-49: 3,969 (2010 est.)Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:male: 216female: 222 (2010 est.)Military expenditures:NAMilitary - 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)Transnational Issues ::PalauDisputes - international:maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia"
The World Factbook. 2014.
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