Aruba

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Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.

Geography

Location

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

12.30° N, 69.58° W

Area 218/257

total: 180 sq km

land: 180 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

68.5 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate

tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Ceru Jamanota 188 m

Natural resources

NEGL; white sandy beaches foster tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 11.1%

arable land 11.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 2.3%

other: 86.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

NA

Natural hazards

hurricanes; lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened

Environment - current issues

NA

Geography - note

a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Aruban(s)

adjective: Aruban; Dutch

Ethnic groups

Dutch 82.1%, Colombian 6.6%, Venezuelan 2.2%, Dominican 2.2%, Haitian 1.2%, other 5.5%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)

Languages

Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 69.4%, Spanish 13.7%, English (widely spoken) 7.1%, Dutch (official) 6.1%, Chinese 1.5%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 75.3%, Protestant 4.9% (includes Methodist .9%, Adventist .9%, Anglican .4%, other Protestant 2.7%), Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 12%, none 5.5%, unspecified 0.5% (2010 est.)

Population 190/238

112,162 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.69% (male 9,953/female 9,888)

15-24 years: 13.27% (male 7,470/female 7,417)

25-54 years: 42.59% (male 23,015/female 24,750)

55-64 years: 13.73% (male 7,114/female 8,287)

65 years and over: 12.72% (male 5,591/female 8,677) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 44%

youth dependency ratio: 26.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 17.6%

potential support ratio: 5.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 39 years

male: 37.1 years

female: 40.8 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 89/233

1.33% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 157/224

12.56 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 92/225

8.18 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 12/222

8.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 41.5% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: -0.28% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

ORANJESTAD (capital) 29,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female

total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 127/224

total: 11.37 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 14.94 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 83/224

total population: 76.56 years

male: 73.5 years

female: 79.68 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 146/224

1.84 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 98.1% of population

rural: 98.1% of population

total: 98.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.9% of population

rural: 1.9% of population

total: 1.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 97.7% of population

total: 97.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 2.3% of population

total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Education expenditures 41/173

6% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 43/134

total: 28.9%

male: 29.9%

female: 27.5% (2010 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Aruba

Government type

parliamentary democracy

Capital

name: Oranjestad

geographic coordinates: 12.31° N, 70.02° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Independence

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

National holiday

Flag Day, 18 March (1976)

Constitution

previous 1947, 1955; latest drafted and approved August 1985, enacted 1 January 1986 (regulates governance of Aruba, but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, following dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2015)

Legal system

civil law system based on the Dutch civil code

Citizenship

see the Netherlands

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)

head of government: Prime Minister Michiel "Mike" Godfried EMAN (since 30 October 2009)

cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Legislature (Staten)

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; prime minister and deputy prime minister indirectly elected by the Staten for 4-year tern; election last held on 25 September 2009 (next to be held by September 2013)

election results: Michiel "Mike" Godfried EMAN (AVP) elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 27 September 2013 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AVP 13, MEP 8

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, NA members, and NA substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands

note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba

judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life

subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance

Political parties and leaders

Aruban People's Party or AVP [Michiel "Mike" EMAN]

People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Evelyn WEVER-CROES]

Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: environmental groups

International organization participation

Caricom (observer), FATF, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU

Flag description

blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner; the star represents Aruba and its red soil and white beaches, its four points the four major languages (Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English) as well as the four points of a compass, to indicate that its inhabitants come from all over the world; the blue symbolizes Caribbean waters and skies; the stripes represent the island's two main "industries": the flow of tourists to the sun-drenched beaches and the flow of minerals from the earth

National symbol(s)

Hooiberg (Haystack) Hill; national colors: blue, yellow, red, white

National anthem

name: "Aruba Deshi Tera" (Aruba Precious Country)

lyrics/music: Juan Chabaya 'Padu' LAMPE/Rufo Inocencio WEVER

note: local anthem adopted 1986; as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, "Het Wilhelmus" is official (see Netherlands)

Economy

Economy - overview

Tourism, petroleum bunkering, hospitality, and financial and business services are the mainstays of the small open Aruban economy.

Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 2008 global financial crisis. Tourism now accounts for a majority of economic activity. Over 1 million tourists per year visit Aruba, with the large majority of those from the US. The rapid growth of the tourism sector has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction continues to boom with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level.

Aruba is heavily dependent on imports and is making efforts to expand exports to achieve a more desirable trade balance. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands, and Panama being the major suppliers.

Aruba weathered two major shocks in recent years: fallout from the global financial crisis, which had its largest impact on tourism, and the closure of its oil refinery in 2009. However, tourism and related industries have continued to grow, and the Aruban government is working to attract more diverse industries. Aruba's banking sector withstood the recession well, and unemployment has significantly decreased.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 191/230

$2.516 billion (2009 est.)

$2.258 billion (2005 est.)

$2.205 billion (2004 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.516 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 129/225

2.4% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 74/230

$25,300 (2011 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 63.3%

government consumption: 28.3%

investment in fixed capital: 22.9%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 68.1%

imports of goods and services: -82.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.4%

industry: 33.3%

services: 66.3% (2002 est.)

Agriculture - products

aloes; livestock; fish

Industries

tourism, petroleum transshipment facilities, banking

Industrial production growth rate

NA%

Labor force 192/233

51,610

note: of the 51,610 workers aged 15 and over in the labor force, 32,252 were born in Aruba and 19,353 came from abroad; foreign workers are 38% of the employed population (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

note: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade, followed by hotels and restaurants

Unemployment rate 81/207

6.9% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $648.1 million

expenditures: $838.3 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 115/219

25.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 195/220

-7.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 52/176

67% of GDP (2013)

55% of GDP (2012)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 68/226

1% (2015 est.)

0.4% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 123/156

1% (31 December 2010)

3% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 95/184

9% (31 December 2015 est.)

7.3% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 154/192

$990.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$990.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 158/193

$1.942 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.838 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 142/191

$1.754 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.754 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exports 188/224

$189.2 million (2015 est.)

$236.5 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment

Exports - partners

Colombia 31.2%, Netherlands Antilles 21.7%, US 15.7%, Venezuela 12.4%, Netherlands 6.1% (2014)

Imports 172/223

$1.329 billion (2015 est.)

$1.35 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and electrical equipment, refined oil for bunkering and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs

Imports - partners

US 56%, Netherlands 11.3% (2014)

Debt - external 172/206

$693.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$666.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Aruban guilders/florins per US dollar -

1.79 (2015 est.)

1.79 (2014 est.)

1.79 (2013 est.)

1.79 (2012 est.)

1.79 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 149/220

990 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 157/219

920.7 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 95/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 112/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 148/214

320,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 73/214

90.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 34/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 154/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 39/212

9.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 102/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 92/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 32/214

229,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 102/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 48/214

234,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 163/212

6,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 30/214

234,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 150/213

6,341 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 96/216

1 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 114/215

1 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 52/215

1 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 75/214

1 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 107/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 168/212

876,400 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 169/219

total subscriptions: 35,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 185/217

total: 139,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern fully automatic telecommunications system

domestic: increased competition through privatization; 3 mobile-cellular service providers are now licensed

international: country code - 297; landing site for the PAN-AM submarine telecommunications cable system that extends from the US Virgin Islands through Aruba to Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and the west coast of South America; extensive interisland microwave radio relay links (2007)

Broadcast media

2 commercial TV stations; cable TV subscription service provides access to foreign channels; about 20 commercial radio stations broadcast (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television broadcast stations

1 (1997)

Internet country code

.aw

Internet hosts 101/232

40,560 (2012)

Internet users 172/217

total: 87,700

percent of population: 79.2% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 210/236

1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Barcadera, Oranjestad

oil terminal(s): Sint Nicolaas

cruise port(s): Oranjestad

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces (2011)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none

Illicit drugs

transit point for US- and Europe-bound narcotics with some accompanying money-laundering activity; relatively high percentage of population consumes cocaine