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page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Tonga
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Tonga
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Map of Tonga
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Introduction ::Tonga
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Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
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Geography ::Tonga
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Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
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20 00 S, 175 00 W
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total: 747 sq km
country comparison to the world: 189
land: 717 sq km
water: 30 sq km
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four times the size of Washington, DC
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0 km
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419 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
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most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m
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fish, fertile soil
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arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 65.33% (2005)
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NA
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cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
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deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
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People ::Tonga
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120,898 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
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0-14 years: 32.8% (male 20,270/female 19,428)
15-64 years: 62.9% (male 37,837/female 38,166)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 2,163/female 3,034) (2009 est.)
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total: 22.3 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 22.8 years (2009 est.)
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1.482% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
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19.84 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
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5.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
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NA (2009 est.)
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urban population: 25% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 11.58 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 147
male: 12.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 70.73 years
country comparison to the world: 140
male: 68.18 years
female: 73.41 years (2009 est.)
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2.25 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
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NA
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NA
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NA
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noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan
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Polynesian, Europeans
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Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
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Tongan, English
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definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 98.9%
male: 98.8%
female: 99% (1999 est.)
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total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2004)
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5% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 71
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Government ::Tonga
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conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands
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constitutional monarchy
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name: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
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4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
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Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)
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4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967
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based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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21 years of age; universal
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chief of state: King George TUPOU V (since 11 September 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Feleti SEVELE (since 11 February 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Viliami TANGI (since 16 May 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 14 members, 10 appointed by the monarch for life; 4 appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, including 2 each from the nobles' and peoples' representatives serving three-year terms
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the cabinet, and 2 governors
elections: the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the monarch
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unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (32 seats - 14 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, 9 for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and 9 elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held on 23-24 April 2008 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - independents 54%, THRDM 28%, PDP 14%; seats - THRDM 4, independents 3, PDP 2
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Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (Chief Justice and high court justices from overseas chosen and approved by Privy Council)
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Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM [Uliti UATA]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]
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Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]; Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]
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ACP, ADB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Viliami MALOLO
chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
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the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
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red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner
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Economy ::Tonga
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Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 41,000 visitors in 2004. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. High unemployment among the young, a continuing upturn in inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.
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$549 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
$542.4 million (2007 est.)
$544.1 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$258 million (2008 est.)
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1.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
-0.3% (2007 est.)
3.2% (2006 est.)
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$4,600 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$4,600 (2007 est.)
$4,700 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 25%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (FY05/06 est.)
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39,960 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 189
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agriculture: 31.8%
industry: 30.6%
services: 37.6% (2003 est.)
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13% (FY03/04 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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24% (FY03/04)
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $80.48 million
expenditures: $109.8 million (FY07/08 est.)
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5.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 68
12.16% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 168
$46.38 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 160
$106.8 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 165
$163.1 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish
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tourism, construction, fishing
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1% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
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43 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
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39.99 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
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0 kWh (2008)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
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1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
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1,173 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 104
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
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$-23 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
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$22 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 203
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squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops
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US 29.5%, Japan 12%, NZ 12%, Fiji 7.1%, Samoa 6%, Australia 4.8%, Hong Kong 4.3%, South Korea 4.2% (2008)
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$139 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 204
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foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
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Fiji 35.9%, NZ 23.4%, US 9.1%, Australia 8.6%, China 4.2% (2008)
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$40.83 million (yearend, FY04/05)
country comparison to the world: 153
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$80.7 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 189
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pa'anga (TOP) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2.0277 (2006), 1.96 (2005), 1.9716 (2004), 2.142 (2003)
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Communications ::Tonga
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25,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 183
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50,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 193
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general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International (TTI)
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 60 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2007)
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AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
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3 (2004)
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.to
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20,107 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 104
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8,400 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 201
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Transportation ::Tonga
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6 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 171
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total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 680 km
country comparison to the world: 188
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (2000)
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total: 13
country comparison to the world: 109
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 8, carrier 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Australia 1, Cyprus 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1) (2008)
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Nuku'alofa
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Military ::Tonga
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Tonga Defense Services (TDS): Land Force (Royal Guard), Naval Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2009)
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18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
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males age 16-49: 32,053
females age 16-49: 30,981 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 26,471
females age 16-49: 27,715 (2009 est.)
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male: 1,458
female: 1,403 (2009 est.)
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0.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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Transnational Issues ::Tonga
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none
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