Marshall Islands - Economic Indicators

Economic Overview

US assistance and lease payments for the use of Kwajalein Atoll as a US military base are the mainstay of this small island country. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. Tourism holds some potential. The islands and atolls have few natural resources, and imports exceed exports. The Marshall Islands received roughly $1 billion in aid from the US during the period 1986-2001 under the original Compact of Free...

Continue reading View Factbook for Marshall Islands

GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Gross Domestic Product 2023 0.18 0.18 Billions National Currency Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Exports of Goods 2016 37,646,748 38,645,555 USD Annual
Imports of Goods 2016 103,762,414 99,050,414 USD Annual
Balance of Goods 2016 -66,115,665 -60,404,858 USD Annual
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Birth Rate 2011 31.23 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Death Rate 2011 3.7 # per Ths. pop. Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network. Kwajalein also hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas (the others are on Ascension (Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha), Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory), and at Cape Canaveral, Florida (US)) that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system.

Geography

Location:
Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates:
9 00 N, 168 00 E
Map references:
Oceania
Area:
total: 181 sq km
land: 181 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and encompasses the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
country comparison to the world: 217
Area - comparative:
about the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
370.4 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Terrain:
low coral limestone and sand islands
Elevation:
mean elevation: 2 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: East-central Airik Island, Maloelap Atoll 14 m
Natural resources:
coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use:
agricultural land: 50.7%
arable land 7.8%; permanent crops 31.2%; permanent pasture 11.7%
forest: 49.3%
other: 0% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
most people live in urban clusters found on many of the country's islands; more than two-thirds of the population lives on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye
Natural hazards:
infrequent typhoons
Environment - current issues:
inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific

People & Society

Population:
74,539 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
Nationality:
noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese
Ethnic groups:
Marshallese 92.1%, mixed Marshallese 5.9%, other 2% (2006)
Languages:
Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language
Religions:
Protestant 54.8%, Assembly of God 25.8%, Roman Catholic 8.4%, Bukot nan Jesus 2.8%, Mormon 2.1%, other Christian 3.6%, other 1%, none 1.5% (1999 census)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 34.89% (male 13,261/female 12,743)
15-24 years: 18% (male 6,820/female 6,594)
25-54 years: 37.28% (male 14,147/female 13,642)
55-64 years: 5.82% (male 2,189/female 2,148)
65 years and over: 4.02% (male 1,475/female 1,520) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Median age:
total: 22.9 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 23 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Population growth rate:
1.55% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
Birth rate:
24.4 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
Death rate:
4.2 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
Net migration rate:
-4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
Population distribution:
most people live in urban clusters found on many of the country's islands; more than two-thirds of the population lives on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye
Urbanization:
urban population: 73.2% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.07% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
MAJURO (capital) 31,000 (2014)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
20.7 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.4 years
male: 71.2 years
female: 75.7 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
Total fertility rate:
3.03 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
44.6% (2007)
Health expenditures:
17.1% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 2
Physicians density:
0.46 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
Hospital bed density:
2.7 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 93.5% of population
rural: 97.6% of population
total: 94.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 6.5% of population
rural: 2.4% of population
total: 5.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 84.5% of population
rural: 56.2% of population
total: 76.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 15.5% of population
rural: 43.8% of population
total: 23.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Major infectious diseases:
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
52.9% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 4
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.3%
male: 98.3%
female: 98.2% (2011 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 11%
male: 12.2%
female: 8.7% (2010 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
conventional short form: Marshall Islands
local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
local short form: Marshall Islands
abbreviation: RMI
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
etymology: named after British Captain John MARSHALL, who charted many of the islands in 1788
Government type:
presidential republic in free association with the US
Capital:
name: Majuro; note - the capital is an atoll of 64 islands; governmental buildings are housed on three fused islands: Djarrit, Uliga, and Delap
geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
24 municipalities; Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikini & Kili, Ebon, Enewetak & Ujelang, Jabat, Jaluit, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namdrik, Namu, Rongelap, Ujae, Utrik, Wotho, Wotje
Independence:
21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)
Constitution:
effective 1 May 1979; amended several times, last in 1995 (2016)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of US and English common law, customary law, and local statutes
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Marshall Islands
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Hilda C. HEINE (since 28 January 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Hilda C. HEINE (since 28 January 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president from among members of the Nitijela, appointed by Nitijela speaker
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Nitijela from among its members for a 4-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 January 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: Hilda C. HEINE elected president on 27 January 2016; Parliament vote - Hilda C. HEINE 24, she was the only candidate
note: Hilda C. HEINE is the first female elected head of state of any Pacific island nation
Legislative branch:
description: bicameral legislature consists of the Council of Iroij (12 seats; consists of tribal chiefs chosen by holders of the chieftainship among the constituent islands) and the National Parliament or Nitijela (33 seats; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Council of Iroij advises the Presidential Cabinet and reviews legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice)
elections: last held on 16 November 2015 (next to be held by November 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independent 33
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and other judges as prescribed by law)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and upon the approval of the Nitijela; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 72
subordinate courts: High Court; District Courts; Traditional Rights Court; Community Courts
Political parties and leaders:
traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Michael KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gerald M. ZACKIOS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Springdale (AR)
consulate(s): Agana (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Karen Brevard STEWART (since 25July 2016)
embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
telephone: [692] 247-4011
FAX: [692] 247-4012
Flag description:
blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago's position just to the north
National symbol(s):
a 24-rayed star; national colors: blue, white, orange
National anthem:
name: "Forever Marshall Islands"
lyrics/music: Amata KABUA
note: adopted 1981

Economy

Economy - overview:
US assistance and lease payments for the use of Kwajalein Atoll as a US military base are the mainstay of this small island country. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. Tourism holds some potential. The islands and atolls have few natural resources, and imports exceed exports.
The Marshall Islands received roughly $1 billion in aid from the US during the period 1986-2001 under the original Compact of Free Association (Compact). In 2002 and 2003, the US and the Marshall Islands renegotiated the Compact's financial package for a 20-year period, 2004 to 2024. Under the amended Compact, the Marshall Islands will receive roughly $1.5 billion in direct US assistance. Under the amended Compact, the US and Marshall Islands are also jointly funding a Trust Fund for the people of the Marshall Islands that will provide an income stream beyond 2024, when direct Compact aid ends.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$182 million (2016 est.)
$177 million (2015 est.)
$171 million (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 221
GDP (official exchange rate):
$194 million (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2016 est.)
1.9% (2015 est.)
-0.4% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,400 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)
$3,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 188
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 4.4%
industry: 9.9%
services: 85.7% (2013 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens
Industries:
copra, tuna processing, tourism, craft items (from seashells, wood, and pearls)
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Labor force:
10,670 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 16.3%
services: 72.7% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate:
36% (2006 est.)
30.9% (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget:
revenues: $116.7 million
expenditures: $113.9 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
63.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
1.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Public debt:
32.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-1.5% (2016 est.)
-2.2% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
Current account balance:
$17 million (2016 est.)
$26.62 million (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
Exports:
$53.7 million (2013 est.)
$47.21 million (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Exports - commodities:
copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish
Imports:
$133.7 million (2013 est.)
$120.9 million (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages, tobacco
Debt - external:
$97.96 million (2013 est.)
$87 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used

Energy

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 30,084
electrification - total population: 59%
electrification - urban areas: 65%
electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
Electricity - production:
620 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
Electricity - consumption:
576.6 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
52,000 kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
80.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
19.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
country comparison to the world: 183
Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
2,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
Refined petroleum products - imports:
2,060 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
300,000 Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 2,361
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 16,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Telephone system:
general assessment: some telecom infrastructure improvements made in recent years; modern services include telex, cellular, Internet, international calling, caller ID, and leased data circuits
domestic: Majuro Atoll and Ebeye and Kwajalein islands have regular, seven-digit, direct-dial telephones; other islands interconnected by high frequency radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes) and mini-satellite telephones
international: country code - 692; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2016)
Broadcast media:
no TV broadcast station; a cable network is available on Majuro with programming via videotape replay and satellite relays; 4 radio broadcast stations; American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) provides satellite radio and television service to Kwajalein Atoll (2009)
Internet country code:
.mh
Internet users:
total: 21,857
percent of population: 29.8% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210

Transportation

National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 86,868
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
V7 (2016)
Airports:
15 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 146
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Roadways:
total: 2,028 km
paved: 75 km
note: roads are mostly unimproved (2007)
country comparison to the world: 175
Merchant marine:
total: 1,593
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 524, cargo 65, carrier 1, chemical tanker 351, container 226, liquefied gas 88, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 297, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 9, vehicle carrier 10
foreign-owned: 1,465 (Belgium 1, Bermuda 35, Brazil 1, Canada 8, China 14, Croatia 12, Cyprus 40, Denmark 7, Egypt 1, France 7, Germany 248, Greece 408, Hong Kong 3, India 10, Indonesia 1, Iraq 2, Ireland 6, Italy 1, Japan 59, Jersey 11, Kuwait 2, Latvia 19, Malaysia 11, Mexico 2, Monaco 30, Netherlands 21, Norway 75, Pakistan 1, Qatar 29, Romania 2, Russia 5, Singapore 30, Slovenia 6, South Korea 41, Sweden 1, Switzerland 12, Taiwan 8, Turkey 70, UAE 12, UK 12, Ukraine 1, US 200) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 7
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Enitwetak Island, Kwajalein, Majuro

Military & Security

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Marshall Islands Police (2012)
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
claims US territory of Wake Island
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: The Marshall Islands is a source and destination country for Marshallese women and girls and women from East Asia subjected to sex trafficking; Marshallese and foreign women are forced into prostitution in businesses frequented by crew members of fishing and transshipping vessels that dock in Majuro; some Chinese women are recruited to the Marshall Islands with promises of legitimate work and are subsequently forced into prostitution
tier rating: Tier 3 – The Marshall Islands do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government made no anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including developing a written plan to combat trafficking; no new trafficking investigations were opened in 2014, and no prosecutions or convictions were made for the fourth consecutive year; no efforts were made to identify trafficking victims, especially among women in prostitution or men working on foreign fishing vessels in Marshallese waters, and no attempt was made to ensure their access to protective services; limited awareness-raising events were conducted by an international organization (2015)

Economic Indicators for Marshall Islands including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Marshall Islands economy.