MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF
Federated States of Micronesia
CAPITAL : Palikir, Pohnpei Island
FLAG : Adopted in 1978, the flag is light blue, bearing four five-pointed stars arranged in a diamond in the center.
ANTHEM : Patriots of Micronesia
MONETARY UNIT : The US dollar is the official medium of exchange.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : British units are used, as modified by US usage.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Federated States of Micronesia Day, 10 May; Independence Day, 3 November; Christmas Day, 25 December.
TIME : In Pohnpei and Kosrae, 10 PM = noon GMT; in Yap and Truk, 9 PM = noon GMT.
The climate is maritime tropical, with little seasonal or diurnal variation in temperature, which averages 27° C (80° F ). The islands are subject to typhoons. The short and torrential nature of the rainfall, which decreases from east to west, results in an annual average of 508 cm (200 in) in Pohnpei and 305 cm (120 in) in Yap.
FLORA AND FAUNA
There is moderately heavy tropical vegetation, with tree species including tropical hardwoods on the slopes of the higher volcanic islands and coconut palms on the coral atolls. The only native land mammal is the tropical bat. A rich marine fauna inhabits the open sea, reefs, lagoons, and shore areas.
No significant permanent emigration has occurred; most emigration has been undertaken temporarily for higher education. In 1999, the net migration rate was 11.65 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 3,000.
The islanders are classified as Micronesians of Malayo-Mongoloid origins. The people of the Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi atolls in southwestern Pohnpei are of Polynesian descent. In total, there are nine ethnic Micronesian and Polynesian groups.
English is the official language and is taught in the schools. The indigenous languages are of the Malayo-Polynesian family. Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Trukese, Pohnpeian, and Kosraean are classed as Malaysian. Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro, spoken on two isolated atolls of the same names in Pohnpei, are Polynesian languages.
Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have been widely accepted throughout the country following their introduction by missionaries in the 1880s. Protestantism is predominant in Kosrae. The largest denominations are the United Church of Christ, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and the Baha'i Faith. Roman Catholics are dominant on Chuuk and Yap. There is a small Buddhist community of Pohnpei.
There are no formal political parties.
The Federated States of Micronesia maintains no armed forces. External security is the responsibility of the United States.
There were deposits of phosphates on Fais Island in Yap and bauxite in Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap, but there was no commercial exploitation. Clays, coral, sand, rock aggregate, and quarry stone works supplied construction materials.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
There are no institutions for advanced instruction or research and development in science and technology.
Domestic commercial activity is dominated by wholesale and retail trade, which is highly localized in the four state centers of Kolonia, Tofol, Moen, and Colonia. Nearly half of the population is employed in subsistence farming and fishing. The country relies heavily on imports of food and manufactured goods.
The FSM sustains a severe trade deficit. Exports include agricultural products (coconuts, bananas, betel nuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes), pigs, chickens, and re-exports of fish. Copra, formerly the country's largest export crop, suffered a severe decline in the late 1990s. Major export partners are Japan, the US, and Guam; major import partners are the US, Japan, and Australia.
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
Foreign receipts are predominantly grants and rental payments from the United States and aid from other sources. Economic aid totaled $77.4 million in 1995.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that the purchasing power parity of Micronesia's exports was $22 million while imports totaled $149 million resulting in a trade deficit of $127 million.
The Public Service System administers life insurance and workers' compensation programs. In 1984, a government-employee group health insurance program was instituted, and in 1987, a retirement pension program—for both state and national government employees—was initiated.
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
As of 1988, specific duties were levied on cigarettes, beer and malt beverages, wine, distilled alcohol, and gasoline and diesel fuel. Ad valorem duties were levied as follows: tobacco, 50%; perfumes, cosmetics, and toiletries, 25%; soft drinks, 2% per 12 fl oz; foodstuffs for human consumption, 1%; and all other products, 3%. Micronesia's import taxes are among the lowest in the Pacific.
There is little foreign private investment. The Foreign Investment Act of 1997 was enacted to prohibit foreign investment in specific business activities, namely arms manufacture, minting of coins or printing of currency notes, and nuclear power or radio-activityrelated businesses. The Act also restricts investment by foreigners in banking, telecommunications, fishing, air transport, and shipping.
In 1980 (the latest year for which statistics are available), the total housing consisted of 11,562 units, of which 47% were in Truk, 32% in Pohnpei, 16% in Yap, and 5% in Kosrae. The average occupancy was seven persons per house. There has been a marked movement away from traditional construction materials toward imported lumber, plywood, and corrugated metal roofing.
There are Community Action Agencies in Yap, Truk, and Pohnpei, which organize youth clubs and community self-help projects. Private institutions, most of them church-affiliated, play an active role in youth and community development. Many municipalities sponsor local women's organizations and community centers.
John Haglelgam, a former senator in the Congress, was elected president of the FSM from 1987 to 1991. In 2000, FSM's first 5-story building (and first building with an elevator) opened; it was named for Raymond Setik (d.1997), a successful businessman and one of the first members of the legislature in 1979.
The FSM has no territories or colonies.
Hezel, Francis X. The New Shape of Old Island Cultures: A Half Century of Social Change in Micronesia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001.
Karolle, Bruce G. Atlas of Micronesia. 2d ed. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bess Press, 1993.
Kluge, P. F. The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia. New York: Random House, 1991.
Micronesia: A Guide through the Centuries. Alexandria, Va.: Close Up Foundation, 2000.
Poyer, Lin. The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.
——. The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001.
United States General Accounting Office. Foreign Relations: Migration from Micronesian Nations Has Had Significant Impact on Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Washington, D.C.: The Office, 2001.
Wuerch, Wiliam L. Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.