The World Factbook (1990)/Nauru

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World Factbook (1990) Nauru.jpg

See regional map X


Total area: 21 km²; land area: 21 km²

Comparative area: about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 30 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February)

Terrain: sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center

Natural resources: phosphates

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other

Environment: only 53 km south of Equator

Note: one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific (others are Banaba or Ocean Island in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia)


Population: 9,202 (July 1990), growth rate 1.5% (1990)

Birth rate: 20 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 41 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 64 years male, 69 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Nauruan(s); adjective—Nauruan

Ethnic divisions: 58% Nauruan, 26% other Pacific Islander, 8%, Chinese, 8% European

Religion: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic)

Language: Nauruan, a distinct Pacific Island language (official); English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: NA

Organized labor: NA


Long-form name: Republic of Nauru

Type: republic

Capital: no capital city as such; government offices in Yaren District

Administrative divisions: 14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren

Independence: 31 January 1968 (from UN trusteeship under Australia, New Zealand, and UK); formerly Pleasant Island

Constitution: 29 January 1968

Legal system: own Acts of Parliament and British common law

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 January (1968)

Executive branch: president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Bernard DOWIYOGO (since 12 December 1989)

Political parties and leaders: none

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 20

Elections: President—last held 9 December 1989 (next to be held December 1992); results—Bernard Dowiyogo elected by Parliament;

Parliament—last held on 9 December 1989 (next to be held December 1992); results—percent of vote NA; seats—(18 total) independents 18

Member of: Commonwealth (special member), ESCAP, ICAO, INTERPOL, ITU, SPC, SPF, UPU

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador T. W. STAR resides in Melbourne (Australia); there is a Nauruan Consulate in Agana (Guam); US—the US Ambassador to Australia is accredited to Nauru

Flag: 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


Overview: Revenues come from the export of phosphates, the reserves of which are expected to be exhausted by the year 2000. Phosphates have given Nauruans one of the highest per capita incomes in the Third World—$10,000 annually. Few other resources exist so most necessities must be imported, including fresh water from Australia. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates constitute serious long-term problems. Substantial investment in trust funds, out of phosphate income, will help cushion the transition.

GNP: over $90 million, per capita $10,000; real growth rate NA% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: 0%

Budget: revenues $69.7 million; expenditures $51.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY86 est.)

Exports: $93 million (f.o.b., 1984); commodities—phosphates; partners—Australia, NZ

Imports: $73 million (c.i.f., 1984); commodities—food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery; partners—Australia, UK, NZ, Japan

External debt: $33.3 million

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 13,250 kW capacity; 48 million kWh produced, 5,300 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: phosphate mining, financial services, coconuts

Agriculture: negligible; almost completely dependent on imports for food and water

Aid: none

Currency: Australian dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1—1.2784 (January 1990), 1.2618 (1989), 1.2752 (1988), 1.4267 (1987), 1.4905 (1986), 1.4269 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: 3.9 km; used to haul phosphates from the center of the island to processing facilities on the southwest coast

Highways: about 27 km total; 21 km paved, 6 km improved earth

Ports: Nauru

Merchant marine: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 39,597 GRT/50,729 DWT; includes 1 passenger-cargo, 1 cargo, 2 bulk

Civil air: 3 major transport aircraft, one on order

Airports: 1 with permanent-surface runway 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate intraisland and international radio communications provided via Australian facilities; 1,600 telephones; 4,000 radio receivers; stations—1 AM, no FM, no TV; 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: no regular armed forces

Military manpower: males 15-49, 298,249; 176,660 fit for military service; 100 reach age 18 annually

Defense expenditures: no formal defense structure