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John T. Unger Studio
By Location > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Tonga
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Map of Tonga
IntroductionTop
Background:The archipelago of "The Friendly Islands" was united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga acquired its independence in 1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
GeographyTop
Location:Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates:20 00 S, 175 00 W
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 748 sq km
land: 718 sq km
water: 30 sq km

Area - comparative:four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:419 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate:tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
Terrain:most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources:fish, fertile soil
Land use:arable land: 23.61%
permanent crops: 43.06%
other: 33.33% (2001)

Irrigated land:NA
Natural hazards:cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
Environment - current issues:deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
PeopleTop
Population:112,422 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 36.2% (male 20,738/female 19,907)
15-64 years: 59.7% (male 33,226/female 33,853)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 2,031/female 2,667) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 20.46 years
male: 19.93 years
female: 21.02 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.98% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:25.18 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:5.35 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 12.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 69.53 years
male: 67.05 years
female: 72.14 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:3 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groups:Polynesian, Europeans about 300
Religions:Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Languages:Tongan, English
Literacy:definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 98.5%
male: 98.4%
female: 98.7% (1996 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands

Government type:hereditary constitutional monarchy
Capital:Nuku'alofa
Administrative divisions:3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
Independence:4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
National holiday:Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)
Constitution:4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967
Legal system:based on English law
Suffrage:21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV (since 16 December 1965)
head of government: Prime Minister Prince Lavaka ata ULUKALALA (since 3 January 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister James C. COCKER (since NA January 2001)
cabinet: cabinet consists of 16 members, 12 appointed by the monarch for life; 4 appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly including 2 each from the Nobles and Peoples representatives serving three year terms
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the Cabinet, and two governors
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed for life by the monarch

Legislative branch:unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (30 seats - 12 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, nine for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and nine elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 21 March 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - HRDMT 70%; seats - HRDMT 7, independents 2

Judicial branch:Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (consists of the Privy Council with the addition of the chief justice of the Supreme Court)
Political parties and leaders:there are no political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]
International organization participation:ACP, AsDB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Flag description:red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Tonga, a small, open, South Pacific island economy, has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. Tourism is the second largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well-developed social services. High unemployment among the young and the continuing upturn in inflation are major issues facing the government.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $244 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:1.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $2,300 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 23%
industry: 13%
services: 64% (2002 est.)

Labor force:33,910 (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 65% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:13.3% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):10.3% (2002 est.)
Budget:revenues: $39.9 million
expenditures: $52.4 million, including capital expenditures of $1.9 million (FY99/00 est.)

Agriculture - products:squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish
Industries:tourism, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:8.6% (FY98/99)
Electricity - production:24.79 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:23.06 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:1,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Exports:$27 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops
Exports - partners:Japan 51.4%, US 24.9%, India 4.1% (2004)
Imports:$86 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:New Zealand 46.7%, Fiji 21.1%, Australia 10.3%, US 6.7% (2004)
Debt - external:$63.4 million (2001)
Currency (code):pa'anga (TOP)
Currency code:TOP
Exchange rates:pa'anga per US dollar - 1.9716 (2004), 2.142 (2003), 2.1952 (2002), 2.1236 (2001), 1.7585 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:11,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:9,000 (2004)
Telephone system:general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT recently granted authority to develop high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television
domestic: fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2004)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2004)
Radios:61,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:3 (2004)
Televisions:2,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.to
Internet hosts:18,906 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):2 (2000)
Internet users:2,900 (2002)
TransportationTop
Highways:total: 680 km
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (1999 est.)

Ports and harbors:Neiafu, Nuku'alofa, Pangai
Merchant marine:total: 29 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 136,977 GRT/200,751 DWT
by type: cargo 21, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 7 (Cyprus 1, France 1, Greece 1, Norway 1, Romania 2, United Kingdom 1) (2005)

Airports:6 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Tonga Defense Services: Ground Forces (Royal Marines, Royal Guard), Maritime Force (includes Air Wing)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:NA
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none



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