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page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Nauru
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Nauru
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Map of Nauru
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Introduction ::Nauru
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The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific. The island was annexed by Germany in 1888. Its phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium. Nauru was occupied by Australian forces in World War I and subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War - and a brutal occupation by Japan - Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world's smallest independent republic.
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Geography ::Nauru
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Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands
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0 32 S, 166 55 E
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total: 21 sq km
country comparison to the world: 238
land: 21 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
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0 km
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30 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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tropical with a monsoonal pattern; rainy season (November to February)
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sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location along plateau rim 61 m
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phosphates, fish
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arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
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NA
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periodic droughts
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limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
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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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Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator
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People ::Nauru
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14,019 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 222
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0-14 years: 34.7% (male 2,482/female 2,384)
15-64 years: 63.2% (male 4,362/female 4,495)
65 years and over: 2.1% (male 151/female 145) (2009 est.)
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total: 21.6 years
male: 21 years
female: 22.2 years (2009 est.)
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1.748% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
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23.9 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
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6.42 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
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NA (2009 est.)
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urban population: 100% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.3% 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: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 9.25 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 154
male: 11.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 64.2 years
country comparison to the world: 168
male: 60.58 years
female: 68.01 years (2009 est.)
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2.85 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
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NA
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NA
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NA
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noun: Nauruan(s)
adjective: Nauruan
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Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%
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Nauru Congregational 35.4%, Roman Catholic 33.2%, Nauru Independent Church 10.4%, other 14.1%, none 4.5%, unspecified 2.4% (2002 census)
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Nauruan (official; a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
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NA
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total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 9 years (2006)
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NA
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Government ::Nauru
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conventional long form: Republic of Nauru
conventional short form: Nauru
local long form: Republic of Nauru
local short form: Nauru
former: Pleasant Island
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republic
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no official capital; government offices in Yaren District
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren
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31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
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Independence Day, 31 January (1968)
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29 January 1968; amended 17 May 1968
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acts of the Nauru Parliament and British common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
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20 years of age; universal and compulsory
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chief of state: President Marcus STEPHEN (since 19 December 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Marcus STEPHEN (since 19 December 2007); note - President Ludwig SCOTTY defeated in a no confidence vote in parliament on 19 December 2007
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of parliament
elections: president elected by parliament for a three-year term; election last held 19 December 2007 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: NA
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unicameral parliament (18 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 26 April 2008 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 18; note - President Marcus STEPHEN called a snap election to break a parliamentary stalemate blocking legislative action
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Supreme Court
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Democratic Party [Kennan ADEANG]; Nauru Party (informal); Nauru First (Naoero Amo) Party; note - loose multiparty system
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Woman Information and News Agency (women's issues)
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ACP, ADB, C, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Marlene I. MOSES
chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400 D, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 937-0074
FAX: [1] (212) 937-0079
consulate(s): Agana (Guam)
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the US does not have an embassy in Nauru; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Nauru
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blue with a narrow, horizontal, yellow stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the yellow stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru
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Economy ::Nauru
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Revenues of this tiny island have traditionally come from exports of phosphates now significantly depleted. An Australian company in 2005 entered into an agreement intended to exploit remaining supplies. Few other resources exist with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia its former occupier and later major source of support. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. Reserves of phosphates may only last until 2010 at current mining rates. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faces virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has frozen wages and reduced overstaffed public service departments. Nauru lost further revenue in 2008 with the closure of Australia's refugee processing center, making it almost totally dependent on food imports and foreign aid. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant is deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continues to climb. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist with estimates of Nauru's GDP varying widely.
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$60 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 221
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$NA
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NA%
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$5,000 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
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agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
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note: employed in mining phosphates, public administration, education, and transportation (1992)
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90% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
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NA%
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $13.5 million
expenditures: $13.5 million (2005)
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NA%
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coconuts
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phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products
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NA%
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31 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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28.83 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
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1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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1,026 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 141
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
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$64,000 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 221
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phosphates
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$20 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
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food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery
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$33.3 million
country comparison to the world: 195
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Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.2059 (2008 est.), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004)
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Communications ::Nauru
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1,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 225
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1,500 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 217
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general assessment: adequate local and international radiotelephone communication provided via Australian facilities
domestic: NA
international: country code - 674; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
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AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
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1 (1997)
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.nr
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47 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 209
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Transportation ::Nauru
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1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 228
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 24 km
country comparison to the world: 217
paved: 24 km (2002)
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Nauru
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Military ::Nauru
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no regular military forces; Nauru Police Force (2009)
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males age 16-49: 3,470 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 2,592
females age 16-49: 2,966 (2009 est.)
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male: 179
female: 174 (2009 est.)
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NA
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Nauru maintains no defense forces; under an informal agreement, defense is the responsibility of Australia
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Transnational Issues ::Nauru
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none
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The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
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