Republic of Vanuatu

République de Vanuatu

Ripablik blong Vanuatu



Vanuatu is located in Oceania, about 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) to the northeast of Australia, to the south of Solomon Islands, and north of New Caledonia. It consists of a group of more than 80 islands with a land area of 14,760 square kilometers (5,699 square miles) (slightly larger than the state of Connecticut) and a coastline of 2,528 kilometers (1,570 miles).


The population of Vanuatu was estimated at 199,800 in mid-2000, an increase of 3.4 percent from the 1999 census population of 193,219. In 2000, the birth rate was 36.0 per 1,000 while the death rate stood at 6.2 per 1,000. With a projected annual population growth rate of 3.0 percent between 2000 and 2010, the population is expected to reach 267,600 by 2010 and to double in 23 years.

About 94 percent of the population are Melanesian by origin, made up of about 100 different cultural groups. A further 4 percent is French, and there are small but significant populations of Vietnamese and Chinese.

With a high total fertility rate of 5.3, the population is very young, with about 37 percent under the age of 15 and only about 3 percent over 65 years. This is a result of both the high birth rate and a relatively low life expectancy. The majority of the population is rural, with only 21 percent of the people living in urban areas. However, the urban growth rate is about 50 percent higher than the total growth rate, and this growth is mainly centered on the 2 largest urban centers, Port Vila and Luganville.


Vanuatu has no territories or colonies.


Ambrose, David, and Savenaca Siwatibau. "Recent Development in Vanuatu." Pacific Economic Bulletin. Vol. 12, No. 1, 1997.

Asian Development Bank. Vanuatu: Economic Performance, Policy and Reform Issues. Manila: Asian Development Bank, 1997.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Vanuatu. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

"Key Indicators for Developing Asian and Pacific Countries." Asian Development Bank. <> . Accessed February 2001.

United Nations Development Programme, Pacific Human Development Report 1999: Creating Opportunities. Suva: United Nations Development Programme, 1999.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://> . Accessed August 2001.

—Wardlow Friesen


Port Vila.


Vatu (VT). There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 vatu and notes of 500, 1,000 and 5,000 vatu. One vatu equals 100 centimes, although there are no centime coins still in circulation.


Copra, beef, cocoa, coffee, timber, kava, squash.


Food, machinery and equipment, fuels.


US$245 million (1999 est.).


Exports: US$33.8 million (1998 est.). Imports: US$76.2 million (1998 est.).

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