Republic of Kiribati
The Republic of Kiribati comprises 33 atolls in 3 principal island groups, scattered within an area of about 5 million square kilometers (2 million square miles) in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The 3 island groups are the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands, and the Phoenix Islands. The country extends about 3,870 kilometers (2,400 miles) from east to west and about 2,050 kilometers (1,275 miles) from north to south and has a coastline of 1,143 kilometers (710 miles). The total land area is 717 square kilometers (277 square miles). The nearest neighbors are Nauru to the west, and Tuvalu and Tokelau to the south. The capital, Tarawa, is on the island of Bairiki. Bairiki is the most populous island with around 65,000 inhabitants. The nation's largest atoll is Kiritimati (Christmas Island)—in the Line Islands group at the eastern extremity—at 388 square kilometers (150 square miles). The smallest is Banaba Island in the west at 6 square kilometers (2.3 square miles).
The population of Kiribati was estimated at 91,985 in July 2000. The current annual population growth rate is 2.34 percent, which will result in a population of 113,509 by 2010. The birth rate is 32.43 births per 1,000 population, and the fertility rate is 4.4 births per woman. The death rate is 9.01 deaths per 1,000 population. There is little or no migration to or from Kiribati. Partly because of sanitation problems caused by the lack of fresh water, as well as heavy pollution in the lagoon of South Tarawa, Kiribati has a high infant morality rate of 55.36 deaths per 1,000 live births (compared to the U.S. rate of 7 deaths per 1,000 live births).
The people are known locally as I-Kiribati. The population structure is biased toward the younger age groups, with some 41 percent of the population aged less than 15, while just 3 percent are over the age of 64. Most Kiribati are ethnically Micronesian (78 percent). The population is mainly urban and more than two-thirds (65,000) live on Tarawa atoll.
Industry (including manufacturing, construction, and power) contributed an estimated 7 percent of GDP in 1996. Industrial GDP increased by an average of 4.2 percent per year in the period 1990-98. Kiribati's industry is quite limited and mainly consists of fishing processing and handicrafts for tourists and for export.
Kiribati has no territories or colonies.
Asian Development Bank. Kiribati: 1997 Economic Report. Manila: Asian Development Bank, 1998.
Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Kiribati. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.
"Kiribati and the IMF." International Monetary Fund. <http://www.imf.org/external/country/KIR/index.htm> . Accessed September 2001.
Pacific Island Business Network. Kiribati: Country Profile . <http:// pidp.ewc.hawaii.edu/pibn/countries/Kiribati.htm> . Accessed September 2001.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html> . Accessed August 2001.
U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kiribati . <http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1998_hrp_report/kiribati.html> . Accessed September 2001.
Australian dollar (A$). One Australian dollar equals 100 cents. There are notes of A$5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. There are coins of A$1 and 2, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
Copra, seaweed, fish.
Food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuels.
US$74 million (1999 est.).
Exports: US$6 million (1998 est.). Imports: US$37 million (1998 est.).