[Country map of Tuvalu]



Location: Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Map references: Oceania

total area: 26 sq km
land area: 26 sq km
comparative area: about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 24 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

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:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 100%
note: Tuvalu's nine coral atolls have enough soil to grow coconuts and support subsistence agriculture

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, all water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities; beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the crown of thorns starfish
natural hazards: severe tropical storms are rare
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Law of the Sea


Population: 9,991 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (female 1,787; male 1,852)
15-64 years: 59% (female 3,105; male 2,764)
65 years and over: 5% (female 258; male 225) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.58% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 24.82 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 9.01 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 27.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.15 years
male: 61.87 years
female: 64.34 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.11 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Tuvaluans(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan

Ethnic divisions: Polynesian 96%

Religions: Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%

Languages: Tuvaluan, English

Literacy: NA%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: NA


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tuvalu
former: Ellice Islands

Digraph: TV

Type: democracy; began debating republic status in 1992

Capital: Funafuti

Administrative divisions: none

Independence: 1 October 1978 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 October (1978)

Constitution: 1 October 1978

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Tulaga MANUELLA (since NA June 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Kamuta LATASI (since 10 December 1993); Deputy Prime Minister Otinielu TAUSI (since 10 December 1993)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the governor general on recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
Parliament (Palamene): elections last held 25 November 1993 (next to be held by NA 1997); results - percent of vote NA; seats - (12 total)

Judicial branch: High Court

Political parties and leaders: none

Member of: ACP, AsDB, C (special), ESCAP, IFRCS (associate), INTELSAT (nonsignatory user), SPARTECA, SPC, SPF, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

Diplomatic representation in US: Tuvalu has no mission in the US

US diplomatic representation: 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 soil. The country has 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, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $7.8 million (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $800 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.9% (1989)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $4.3 million
expenditures: $4.3 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1989 est.)

Exports: $165,000 (f.o.b., 1989)
commodities: copra
partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ

Imports: $4.4 million (c.i.f., 1989)
commodities: food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: 2,600 kW
production: 3 million kWh
consumption per capita: 330 kWh (1990)

Industries: fishing, tourism, copra

Agriculture: coconuts and fish

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $1 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $101 million

Currency: 1 Tuvaluan dollar ($T) or 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars ($T) or Australian dollars ($A) per US$1 - 1.3058 (January 1995), 1.3667 (1994), 1.4704 (1993), 1.3600 (1992), 1.2835 (1991), 1.2799 (1990)

Fiscal year: NA


Railroads: 0 km

total: 8 km
unpaved: gravel 8 km

Ports: Funafuti, Nukufetau

Merchant marine:
total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 44,473 GRT/73,652 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, oil tanker 1, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 1

total: 1
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1


Telephone system: 108 telephones; 300 radiotelephones
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: NA

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: 4,000

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: no military forces; Police Force

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP