Kiribati Population: 109,367


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The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati. Kiribati joined the UN in 1999 and has been an active participant in international efforts to combat climate change.

    21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)
Location: Oceania, group of 32 coral atolls and one raised coral island in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates: 1 25 N, 173 00 E
Area: total: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km

note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, and Phoenix Islands - dispersed over about 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mi)

Size comparison: four times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,143 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrain: mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Natural resources: phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish
Land use: agricultural land: 42% (2011 est.) arable land: 2.5% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 39.5% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.) forest: 15% (2011 est.)
other: 43% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
Current Environment Issues: heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to overcrowding mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk; potential for water shortages, disease; coastal erosion
International Environment Agreements: 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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Nationality: noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
adjective: I-Kiribati
Ethnic groups: I-Kiribati 96.2%, I-Kiribati/mixed 1.8%, Tuvaluan 0.2%, other 1.8% (2015 est.)
Languages: I-Kiribati, English (official)
Religions: Roman Catholic 57.3%, Kiribati Uniting Church 31.3%, Mormon 5.3%, Baha'i 2.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.9%, other 2.1% (2015 est.)
Population: 109,367 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.27% (male 16,316 /female 15,693)
15-24 years: 20.74% (male 11,213 /female 11,466)
25-54 years: 39.43% (male 20,756 /female 22,363)
55-64 years: 6.23% (male 3,071 /female 3,747)
65 years and over: 4.34% (male 1,863 /female 2,879) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 63 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 57 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 6 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 16.6 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 25 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 25.8 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.12% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 21 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 54.1% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 3.19% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 64,000 TARAWA (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 23.1 years (2009 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Maternal mortality rate: 90 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 31.1 deaths/1,000 live births male: 32.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.9 years male: 64.3 years
female: 69.5 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.34 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 22.3% (2009)
Physicians density: 0.2 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density: 1.9 beds/1,000 population (2015)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 87.3% of population
rural: 50.6% of population
total: 66.9% of population

urban: 12.7% of population
rural: 49.4% of population
total: 33.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 51.2% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 30.6% of population (2015 est.)
total: 39.7% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 48.8% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 69.4% of population (2015 est.)
total: 60.3% 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: 46% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 14.9% (2009)
Education expenditures: n/a
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years male: 11 years female: 12 years (2008)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 17.1% male: 22.2% female: 7.4% (2015 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
conventional short form: Kiribati
local long form: Republic of Kiribati
local short form: Kiribati
former: Gilbert Islands
etymology: the name is the local pronunciation of "Gilberts," the former designation of the islands; originally named after explorer Thomas GILBERT, who mapped many of the islands in 1788 note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Tarawa
geographic coordinates: 1 21 N, 173 02 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: Kiribati has three time zones: the Gilbert Islands group at UTC+12, the Phoenix Islands at UTC+13, and the Line Islands at UTC+14
etymology: in Kiribati creation mythology, "tarawa" was what the spider Nareau named the land to distinguish it from "karawa" (the sky) and "marawa" (the ocean)
Administrative divisions: 3 geographical units: Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - there are no first-order administrative divisions, but there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)
Independence: 12 July 1979 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
Constitution: history: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands Order in Council 1915, The Gilbert Islands Order in Council 1975 (preindependence); latest promulgated 12 July 1979 (at independence) amendments: proposed by the House of Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership; passage of amendments affecting the constitutional section on amendment procedures and parts of the constitutional chapter on citizenship requires deferral of the proposal to the next Assembly meeting where approval is required by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly membership and support of the nominated or elected Banaban member of the Assembly; amendments affecting the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms also requires approval by at least two-thirds majority in a referendum; amended 1995, 2013 (2017)
Legal system: English common law supplemented by customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among House of Assembly members elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote following nomination of candidates from among House of Assembly members; term is 4 years (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 9 March 2016 (next to be held in 2020); vice president appointed by the president

election results: Taneti MAAMAU elected president; percent of vote - Taneti MAAMAU 60%, Rimeta BENIAMINA (BTK) 38.6%, Taneti IOANE (BTK) 1.4%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral House of Assembly or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two-rounds if needed; 1 member appointed by the Rabi Council of Leaders - representing Banaba Island, and 1 ex officio member - the attorney general; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first on 30 December 2015 and the second on 7 January 2016 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BTK 26, KTK and MKP 19, other 2 (includes attorney general); composition - men 43, women 3, percent of women 6.5%
Judicial branch: highest courts: High Court (consists of a chief justice and other judges as prescribed by the president); note - the High Court has jurisdiction on constitutional issues judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president on the advice of the cabinet in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC); other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice along with the PSC

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders: Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK or Pillars of Truth [Anote TONG] Kamaeuraoan Te I-Kiribati Party or KTK [Tetaua TAITAI] Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP [Rimeta BENIAMINA] Tobwaan Kiribati Party or TKP [Taneti MAAMAU] note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures
International organization participation: ABEDA, ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
National symbol(s): frigatebird;
national colors: red, white, blue, yellow
National anthem: name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA

note: adopted 1979
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; the Kiribati Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the Embassy; it is headed by Teburoro TITO (since 13 September 2017); address: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400A, New York, NY 10017;
telephone: [1](212)867-3310;
FAX: [1](212)867-3320 note: honorary consulate in Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
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A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income. Although the number of seafarers employed declined due to changes in global shipping demands, remittances are expected to improve with more overseas temporary and seasonal work opportunities for Kiribati nationals. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The public sector dominates economic activity, with ongoing capital projects in infrastructure including road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Public debt increased from 23% of GDP at the end of 2015 to 25.8% in 2016. Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 32.7% in 2016 to the government’s finances. The country’s sovereign fund, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), which is held offshore, had an estimated balance of $855.5 million in late July 2016. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, US dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $227 million (2017 est.) $220.2 million (2016 est.) $217.7 million (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $197 million (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (2017 est.) 1.1% (2016 est.) 10.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,000 (2017 est.) $2,000 (2016 est.) $2,000 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 23% (2016 est.) industry: 7% (2016 est.) services: 70% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: copra, breadfruit, fish
Industries: fishing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 1.1% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 39,000 (2010 est.) note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 15%
industry: 10%
services: 75% (2010)
Unemployment rate: 30.6% (2010 est.) 6.1% (2005)
Population below poverty line: n/a
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 151.2 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 277.5 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 76.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -64.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 26.3% of GDP (2017 est.) 22.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.4% (2017 est.) 1.9% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: $18 million (2017 est.) $35 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $84.75 million (2013 est.) $62.31 million (2012 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish, coconut products
Exports - partners: Philippines 50.8%, Malaysia 17.2%, US 11.4%, Bangladesh 5.8%, Fiji 5.4% (2017)
Imports: $107.1 million (2016 est.) $182.2 million (2013 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Imports - partners: Australia 29.3%, Fiji 17.3%, NZ 10.7%, China 5.8%, US 5.8%, Singapore 5.1%, Japan 4.6%, Thailand 4.1% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $0 (31 December 2017 est.) $8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
Debt - external: $40.9 million (2016 est.) $32.3 million (2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: n/a
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.31 (2017 est.) 1.34 (2016 est.) 1.34 (2015 est.) 1.33 (2014 est.) 1.11 (2013 est.) note: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender
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Electricity - production: 29 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 26.97 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 11,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 73% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 27% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 420 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 58,850 Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 46,123
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: generally good quality national and international service; wireline service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; recently formed mobile network operator (MNO) is implementing the first phase of improvements with 3G and 4G upgrades on some islands; islands are connected to each other and the rest of the world via satellite

domestic: fixed-line 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 43 per 100 subscriptions

international: country code - 686; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Broadcast media: multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasts on AM, FM, and shortwave (2017)
Internet country code: .ki
Internet users: total: 14,649
percent of population: 13.7% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 19 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 15
914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Roadways: total 670 km
Waterways: 5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)
Merchant marine: total 111

by type: bulk carrier 3, general cargo 46, oil tanker 16, other 46 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor
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Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ
Military branches: no regular military forces (establishment prevented by the constitution); Police Force (2011)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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