Kiribati Population: 106,925


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The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.

21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)
Location: Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates: 1 25 N, 173 00 E
Area: total: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km

note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, and Phoenix Islands - dispersed over about 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mi)

Size comparison: four times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,143 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrain: mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish
Land use: agricultural land: 42% arable land 2.5%; permanent crops 39.5%; permanent pasture 0% forest: 15%
other: 43% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
Current Environment Issues: heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
adjective: I-Kiribati
Ethnic groups: I-Kiribati 89.5%, I-Kiribati/mixed 9.7%, Tuvaluan 0.1%, other 0.8% (2010 est.)
Languages: I-Kiribati, English (official)
Religions: Roman Catholic 55.8%, Kempsville Presbyterian Church 33.5%, Mormon 4.7%, Baha'i 2.3%, Seventh Day Adventist 2%, other 1.5%, none 0.2%, unspecified 0.05% (2010 est.)
Population: 106,925 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.16% (male 16,438/female 15,814)
15-24 years: 21.26% (male 11,285/female 11,447)
25-54 years: 38.59% (male 19,863/female 21,397)
55-64 years: 5.86% (male 2,827/female 3,436)
65 years and over: 4.13% (male 1,741/female 2,677) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 63%
youth dependency ratio: 57%
elderly dependency ratio: 6%
potential support ratio: 16.6% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 24.3 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 25.1 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.14% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 21.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 44.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: TARAWA (capital) 46,000 (2014)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 23.1 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 90 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 33.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 34.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 31.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.2 years male: 63.7 years
female: 68.8 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 22.3% (2009)
Health expenditures: 10.2% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 87.3% of population
rural: 50.6% of population
total: 66.9% of population

urban: 12.7% of population
rural: 49.4% of population
total: 33.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 51.2% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 39.7% of population

urban: 48.8% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 60.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 40.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 14.9% (2009)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2008)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 54% male: 47.6%
female: 61.8% (2010 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
conventional short form: Kiribati
local long form: Republic of Kiribati
local short form: Kiribati note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss
former: Gilbert Islands
etymology: the name is the local pronounciation of "Gilberts," the former designation of the islands; originally named after explorer Thomas GILBERT, who mapped many of the islands in 1788
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Tarawa
geographic coordinates: 1 21 N, 173 02 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction were on the other side of the International Date Line
Administrative divisions: 3 geographical units: Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - there are no first-order administrative divisions but there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)
Independence: 12 July 1979 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
Constitution: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands Order in Council 1915, The Gilbert Islands Order in Council 1975 (preindependence); latest promulgated 12 July 1979 (at independence); amended 1995, 2013 (2016)
Legal system: English common law supplemented by customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among House of Assembly members elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote following nomination of candidates from among House of Assembly members; term is 4 years (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 13 January 2012 (next to be held in 2015); vice president appointed by the president

election results: Taneti MAAMAU elected president; percent of vote - Taneti MAAMAU 60%, Rimeta BENIAMINA (BTK) 38.5%, Taneti IOANE (BTK) 1.5%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral House of Assembly or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two-rounds, 1 member appointed by the Rabi Council of Leaders - representing Banaba Island, and 1 ex officio member - the attorney general; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first on 21 October 2011 and the second on 28 October 2011 (next to be held in 2015)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA, other 2 (includes attorney general)
Judicial branch: highest court(s): High Court (consists of a chief justice and other judges as prescribed by the president); note - the High Court has jurisdiction on constitutional issues judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president on the advice of the cabinet in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC); other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice along with the PSC

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders: Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK [Anote TONG] Kamaeuraoan Te I-Kiribati Party or KTK [Tetaua TAITAI] Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP [Rimeta BENIAMINA] note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation: ABEDA, ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
National symbol(s): frigatebird; national colors: red, white, blue, yellow
National anthem: name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA

note: adopted 1979
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; the Kiribati Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the Embassy; it is headed by Makurita BAARO (since 21 May 2014); address: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400A, New York, NY 10017;
telephone: [1](212)867-3310;
FAX: [1](212)867-3320 note: there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
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A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income, however, remittances and the number of seafarers employed have declined since the global crisis. In 2013, fishing license revenues contributed close to half of government’s total revenue and total remittances from seafarers were equivalent to 6% of GDP. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The public sector dominates economic activity, with ongoing capital projects in infrastructure including the road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 43% in 2013 to the government’s finances. The country’s sovereign fund, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), which is held offshore, had an estimated balance of $668 million in 2013, equivalent to 381% of GDP. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, United States dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $211 million (2016 est.) $204.7 million (2015 est.) $197.8 million (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $166 million (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (2016 est.) 3.5% (2015 est.) 2.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,800 (2016 est.) $1,800 (2015 est.) $1,800 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Agriculture - products: copra, breadfruit, fish
Industries: fishing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 1.1% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 39,000 note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 15%
industry: 10%
services: 75% (2010)
Unemployment rate: 30.6% (2010 est.) 6.1% (2005)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $197.9 million
expenditures: $179.9 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 119.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
Public debt: 8.6% of GDP (2013 est.) 8% of GDP (2012 est.)
Fiscal year: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (2016 est.) 0.6% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$12 million (2016 est.) $72 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $84.75 million (2013 est.) $62.31 million (2012 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish, coconut products
Imports: $182.2 million (2013 est.) $172.5 million (2012 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
Debt - external: $13.6 million (2013 est.) $14.1 million (2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.352 (2016 est.) 1.3291 (2015 est.) 1.3291 (2014 est.) 0.9695 (2013 est.) 0.9695 (2012 est.) note:: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender
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Electricity - production: 30 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 27.9 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 7,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 400 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 509.6 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 58,450 Mt (2012 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 41,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 39 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: generally good quality national and international service

domestic: wireline service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; wireless service available in Tarawa since 1999

international: country code - 686; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
Broadcast media: 1 TV broadcast station that provides about 1 hour of local programming Monday-Friday; multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasts on AM, FM, and shortwave (2009)
Internet country code: .ki
Internet users: total: 14,000 percent of population: 13% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 19 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 15

914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Roadways: total 670 km
Waterways: 5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)
Merchant marine: total 77

by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 35, chemical tanker 6, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 15

foreign-owned: 43 (China 26, Hong Kong 2, Russia 1, Singapore 9, South Korea 1, Taiwan 2, Vietnam 2) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor
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Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ
Military branches: no regular military forces (establishment prevented by the constitution); Police Force (2011)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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