Palau Population: 21,516

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After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.

    Westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous Rock Islands
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 30 E
Area: total: 459 sq km
land: 459 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,519 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
Terrain: varying topography from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Natural resources: forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
Land use: agricultural land: 10.8% (2011 est.) arable land: 2.2% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 4.3% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 4.3% (2011 est.) forest: 87.6% (2011 est.)
other: 1.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Current Environment Issues: inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal and destructive fishing practices, and overfishing; climate change contributes to rising sea level and coral bleaching; drought
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan
Ethnic groups: Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 73%, Carolinian 2%, Asian 21.7%, caucasian 1.2%, other 2.1% (2015 est.)
Languages: Palauan (official on most islands) 65.2%, other Micronesian 1.9%, English (official) 19.1%, Filipino 9.9%, Chinese 1.2%, other 2.8% (2015 est.) note: Sonsoralese is official in Sonsoral; Tobian is official in Tobi; Angaur and Japanese are official in Angaur
Religions: Roman Catholic 45.3%, Protestant 34.9% (includes Evangelical 26.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 6.9%, Assembly of God .9%, Baptist .7%), Modekngei 5.7% (indigenous to Palau), Muslim 3%, Mormon 1.5%, other 9.7% (2015 est.)
Population: 21,516 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.37% (male 2,149 /female 2,019)
15-24 years: 16.4% (male 1,768 /female 1,760)
25-54 years: 45.74% (male 6,016 /female 3,826)
55-64 years: 9.99% (male 765 /female 1,384)
65 years and over: 8.5% (male 464 /female 1,365) (2018 est.)
Median age: total: 33.6 years
male: 32.8 years
female: 35.3 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.4% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 11.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 79.9% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.77% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 277 NGERULMUD (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.57 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.55 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.34 male(s)/female
total population: 1.08 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 10.3 deaths/1,000 live births male: 11.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.6 years male: 70.4 years
female: 77 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Physicians density: 1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density: 4.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 95.3% of population

urban: 3% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 4.7% of population (2011 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
total: 100% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 55.3% (2016)
Education expenditures: n/a
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 96.6%
male: 96.8%
female: 86% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 17 years male: 16 years female: 18 years (2013)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Palau
conventional short form: Palau
local long form: Beluu er a Belau
local short form: Belau
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District
etymology: from the Palauan name for the islands, Belau, which likely derives from the Palauan word "beluu" meaning "village"
Government type: presidential republic in free association with the US
Capital: name: Ngerulmud
geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 37 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the Palauan meaning is "place of fermented 'mud'" ('mud' being the native name for the keyhole angelfish); the site of the new capitol (established in 2006) had been a large hill overlooking the ocean, Ngerulmud, on which women would communally gather to offer fermented angelfish to the gods
Administrative divisions: 16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol
Independence: 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 9 July (1981), day of a national referendum to pass the new constitution; Independence Day, 1 October (1994)
Constitution: history: ratified 9 July 1980, effective 1 January 1981 amendments: proposed by a constitutional convention (held at least once every 15 years with voter approval), by public petition of at least 25 percent of eligible voters, or by a resolution adopted by at least three-fourths of National Congress members; passage requires approval by a majority of votes in at least three-fourths of the states in the next regular general election; amended 1992, 2004, 2008 (2017)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Raynold OILUCH (since 19 January 2017); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Raynold OILUCH (since 19 January 2017)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate; also includes the vice president; the Council of Chiefs consists of chiefs from each of the states who advise the president on issues concerning traditional laws, customs, and their relationship to the constitution and laws of Palau elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on separate ballots by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 1 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)

election results: Tommy REMENGESAU reelected president; percent of vote - Tommy REMENGESAU (independent) 51.3%, Surangel WHIPPS, Jr.(independent) 48.7%; Raynold OILUCH elected vice president
Legislative branch: description: bicameral National Congress or Olbiil Era Kelulau consists of: Senate (13 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority vote to serve 4-year terms) House of Delegates (16 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 1 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020) House of Delegates - last held on 1 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)

election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 13; composition - men 11, women 2, percent of women 15.4% House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 16; composition - men 14, women 2, percent of women 12.5%; note - total National Congress percent of women 13.8%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 3 associate justices organized into appellate trial divisions; the Supreme Court organization also includes the Common Pleas and Land Courts) judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by a 7-member independent body consisting of judges, presidential appointees, and lawyers and appointed by the president; judges can serve until mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courts
Political parties and leaders: none
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
National symbol(s): bai (native meeting house);
national colors: blue, yellow
National anthem: name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau)
lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL

note: adopted 1980
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA (since 12 November 1997)
chancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281 consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Amy HYATT (since 9 March 2015)
embassy: Omsangel/Beklelachieb, Airai, Palau 96940
mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 587-2920
FAX: [680] 587-2911
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The economy is dominated by tourism, fishing, and subsistence agriculture. Government is a major employer of the work force relying on financial assistance from the US under the Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the US that took effect after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994. The US provided Palau with roughly $700 million in aid for the first 15 years following commencement of the Compact in 1994 in return for unrestricted access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly double that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Business and leisure tourist arrivals reached a record 167,966 in 2015, a 14.4% increase over the previous year, but fell to 138,408 in 2016. Long-run prospects for tourism have been bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of industrial East Asia, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development. Proximity to Guam, the region's major destination for tourists from East Asia, and a regionally competitive tourist infrastructure enhance Palau's advantage as a destination.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $264 million (2017 est.) $274.2 million (2016 est.) $274.1 million (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $292 million (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -3.7% (2017 est.) 0% (2016 est.) 10.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $14,700 (2017 est.) $15,200 (2016 est.) $15,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 48.7% of GDP (2016 est.) 50.1% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 60.5% (2016 est.) government consumption: 27.2% (2016 est.) investment in fixed capital: 22.7% (2016 est.) investment in inventories: 1.9% (2016 est.) exports of goods and services: 55.2% (2016 est.) imports of goods and services: -67.6% (2016 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 3% (2016 est.) industry: 19% (2016 est.) services: 78% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish, pigs, chickens, eggs, bananas, papaya, breadfruit, calamansi, soursop, Polynesian chestnuts, Polynesian almonds, mangoes, taro, guava, beans, cucumbers, squash/pumpkins (various), eggplant, green onions, kangkong (watercress), cabbages (various), radishes, betel nuts, melons, peppers, noni, okra
Industries: tourism, fishing, subsistence agriculture
Industrial production growth rate: n/a
Labor force: 11,610 (2016)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 1.2%
industry: 12.4%
services: 86.4% (2016)
Unemployment rate: 1.7% (2015 est.) 4.1% (2012)
Population below poverty line: 24.9% n/a (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 193 million (2012 est.)
expenditures: 167.3 million (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 66.1% (of GDP) (2016 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): 8.8% (of GDP) (2016 est.)
Public debt: 24.1% of GDP (2016 est.) 21.6% of GDP (2015)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (2017 est.) -1% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$53 million (2017 est.) -$36 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $23.17 billion (2017 est.) $14.8 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: shellfish, tuna, other fish (many species)
Exports - partners: Japan 51.3%, US 15.8%, India 13.8%, Guam 8% (2017)
Imports: $4.715 billion (2018 est.) $4.079 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
Imports - partners: US 33.4%, Guam 15.8%, Japan 15.7%, China 13.5%, South Korea 5.3% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $0 (31 December 2017 est.) $580.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $18.38 billion (31 December 2014 est.) $16.47 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 24,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: well-developed mobile sector recently boosted by satellite network capacity upgrades; 3G services available with satellite; lack of telecom regulations; (2018)

domestic: fixed-line  34 per 100 and mobile-cellular services 112 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 680; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); SEA-US submarine cable landing in Palau
Broadcast media: no broadcast TV stations; a cable TV network covers the major islands and provides access to 4 local cable stations, rebroadcasts (on a delayed basis) of a number of US stations, as well as access to a number of real-time satellite TV channels; about a half dozen radio stations (1 government-owned) (2019)
Internet country code: .pw
Internet users: total: 7,650
percent of population: 36% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 3 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 125 km
(2018) paved: 89 km (2018)
unpaved: 36 km (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Koror
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Defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there (2008)
Military branches: no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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