The World Factbook (1990)/Tuvalu

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World Factbook (1990) Tuvalu.jpg

See regional map X


Total area: 26 km²; land area: 26 km²

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

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 24 km

Maritime claims:

Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)

Terrain: very low-lying and narrow coral atolls

Natural resources: fish

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

Environment: severe tropical storms are rare

Note: located 3,000 km east of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific Ocean


Population: 9,136 (July 1990), growth rate 2.0% (1990)

Birth rate: 30 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 10 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 33 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 60 years male, 63 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Tuvaluans(s); adjective—Tuvaluan

Ethnic divisions: 96% Polynesian

Religion: Christian, predominantly Protestant

Language: Tuvaluan, English

Literacy: less than 50%

Labor force: NA

Organized labor: none


Long-form name: none

Type: democracy

Capital: Funafuti

Administrative divisions: none

Independence: 1 October 1978 (from UK; formerly Ellice Islands)

Constitution: 1 October 1978

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 October (1978)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament

Judicial branch: High Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Tupua LEUPENA (since 1 March 1986);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Bikenibeu PAENIU (since 16 October 1989); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Alesana SELUKA (since October 1989)

Political parties and leaders: none

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Parliament last held 28 September 1989 (next to be held by September 1993); results—percent of vote NA; seats—(12 total)

Member of: ACP, ESCAP (associate member), GATT (de facto), SPF, SPC, UPU

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador (vacant); US—none

Flag: light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow five-pointed stars symbolizing the nine islands


Overview: Tuvalu consists of a scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor-quality soil. The country has a small economy, no known mineral resources, and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. The islands are too small and too remote for development of a tourist industry. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and worker remittances. Substantial income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, New Zealand, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea.

GNP: $4.6 million, per capita $530; real growth rate NA% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (1984)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $2.59 million; expenditures $3.6 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1983 est.)

Exports: $1.0 million (f.o.b., 1983 est.); commodities—copra; partners—Fiji, Australia, NZ

Imports: $2.8 million (c.i.f., 1983 est.); commodities—food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods; partners—Fiji, Australia, NZ

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA

Electricity: 2,600 kW capacity; 3 million kWh produced, 350 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: fishing, tourism, copra

Agriculture: coconuts, copra

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $1 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $84 million

Currency: Tuvaluan dollar and Australian dollar (plural dollars); 1 Tuvaluan dollar ($T) or 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars ($T) or Australian dollars ($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: NA


Highways: 8 km gravel

Ports: Funafuti, Nukufetau

Merchant marine: 1 passenger-cargo (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,043 GRT/450 DWT

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

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

Telecommunications: stations—1 AM, no FM, no TV; 300 radiotelephones; 4,000 radio receivers; 108 telephones

Defense Forces

Branches: NA

Military manpower: NA

Defense expenditures: NA