Micronesia, Federated States of

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The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean; they became part of a UN Trust Territory under US administration following World War II. The eastern four island groups adopted a constitution in 1979 and chose to become the Federated States of Micronesia. (The westernmost island group became Palau.) Independence came in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the US, which was amended and renewed in 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, overdependence on US foreign aid, and state perception of inequitable allocation of US aid.



Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia

Geographic coordinates

6.55° N, 158.15° E

Area 191/257

total: 702 sq km

land: 702 sq km

water: 0 sq km (fresh water only)

note: includes Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae (Kosaie)

Area - comparative

four times the size of Washington, DC (land area only)

Land boundaries

0 km


6,112 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage


islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Dolohmwar (Totolom) 791 m

Natural resources

timber, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate

Land use

agricultural land: 25.5%

arable land 2.3%; permanent crops 19.7%; permanent pasture 3.5%

forest: 74.5%

other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km NA (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons (June to December)

Environment - current issues

overfishing, climate change, pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

four major island groups totaling 607 islands

People and Society


noun: Micronesian(s)

adjective: Micronesian; Chuukese, Kosraen(s), Pohnpeian(s), Yapese

Ethnic groups

Chuukese/Mortlockese 49.3%, Pohnpeian 29.8%, Kosraean 6.3%, Yapese 5.7%, Yap outer islanders 5.1%, Polynesian 1.6%, Asian 1.4%, other 0.8% (2010 est.)


English (official and common language), Chuukese, Kosrean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi


Roman Catholic 54.7%, Protestant 41.1% (includes Congregational 38.5%, Baptist 1.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 0.8%, Assembly of God .7%), Mormon 1.5%, other 1.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)

Population 194/238

105,216 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 31.34% (male 16,761/female 16,215)

15-24 years: 20% (male 10,576/female 10,469)

25-54 years: 38.41% (male 19,583/female 20,827)

55-64 years: 6.72% (male 3,494/female 3,580)

65 years and over: 3.53% (male 1,660/female 2,051) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 62.4%

youth dependency ratio: 55.3%

elderly dependency ratio: 7.1%

potential support ratio: 14.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 24.2 years

male: 23.6 years

female: 24.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 223/233

-0.46% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 81/224

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

Death rate 204/225

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

Net migration rate 221/222

-20.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 22.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PALIKIR (capital) 7,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 71/184

100 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 82/224

total: 21.18 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 23.46 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 137/224

total population: 72.62 years

male: 70.59 years

female: 74.75 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 77/224

2.49 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 6/191

12.6% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source


urban: 94.8% of population

rural: 87.4% of population

total: 89% of population


urban: 5.2% of population

rural: 12.6% of population

total: 11% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 85.1% of population

rural: 49% of population

total: 57.1% of population


urban: 14.9% of population

rural: 51% of population

total: 42.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate 12/191

33.2% (2014)

Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: Federated States of Micronesia

conventional short form: none

local long form: Federated States of Micronesia

local short form: none

former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Ponape, Truk, and Yap Districts

abbreviation: FSM

etymology: the term "Micronesia" is a 19th-century construct composed of two Greek words, "micro" (small) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean

Government type

constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 3 November 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004


name: Palikir

geographic coordinates: 6.55° N, 158.09° E

time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

4 states; Chuuk (Truk), Kosrae (Kosaie), Pohnpei (Ponape), Yap


3 November 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 10 May (1979)


drafted June 1975, ratified 1 October 1978, entered into force 10 May 1979; amended 1990 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of common and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of FSM

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Peter M. CHRISTIAN (since 12 May 2015); Vice President Yosiwo P. GEORGE (since 12 May 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Peter M. CHRISTIAN (since 12 May 2015); Vice President Yosiwo P. GEORGE (since 12 May 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet includes the vice president and the heads of the 8 executive departments

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by Congress from among the 4 'at large' senators for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 May 2011 (next to be held in May 2015)

election results: Peter M. CHRISTIAN elected president by Congress; Yosiwo P. GEORGE elected vice president

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Congress (14 seats; 10 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 2-year terms and 4 directly elected from each of the 4 states by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 5 March 2013 (next to be held in March 2015)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 14

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and not more than 5 associate justices and organized into appellate and criminal divisions)

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president of the Federated States of Micronesia with the approval of two-thirds of Congress; justices appointed for life

subordinate courts: the highest state-level courts are: Chuuk Supreme Court; Korsae State Court; Pohnpei State Court; Yap State Court

Political parties and leaders

no formal parties

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Flag description

light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pattern; blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, the stars represent the four island groups of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap

National symbol(s)

four, five-pointed, white stars on a light blue field; national colors: light blue, white

National anthem

name: "Patriots of Micronesia"

lyrics/music: unknown

note: adopted 1991; also known as "Across All Micronesia"; the music is based on the 1820 German patriotic song "Ich hab mich ergeben", which was the West German national anthem from 1949-1950; variants of this tune are used in Johannes Brahms' "Festival Overture" and Gustav Mahler's "Third Symphony"


Economy - overview

Economic activity consists largely of subsistence farming and fishing, and government, which employs two-thirds of the adult working population and receives funding largely - 58% in 2013 – from Compact of Free Association assistance provided by the US. The islands have few commercially valuable mineral deposits. The potential for tourism is limited by isolation, lack of adequate facilities, and limited internal air and water transportation. Under the terms of the original Compact, the US provided $1.3 billion in grants and aid from 1986 to 2001. The US and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) negotiated a second (amended) Compact agreement in 2002-2003 that took effect in 2004. The amended Compact runs for a 20-year period to 2023; during which the US will provide roughly $2.1 billion to the FSM. The amended Compact also develops a Trust Fund for the FSM that will provide a comparable income stream beyond 2024 when Compact grants end. The country's medium-term economic outlook appears fragile because of dependence on US assistance and lackluster performance of its small and stagnant private sector.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 216/230

$310.3 million (2015 est.)

$311 million (2014 est.)

$315.9 million (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2013 US dollars; GDP supplemented by grant aid, averaging perhaps $100 million annually

GDP (official exchange rate)

$307 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 200/225

-0.2% (2015 est.)

-1.6% (2014 est.)

-3.9% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 190/230

$3,000 (2015 est.)

$3,000 (2014 est.)

$3,100 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 83.5%

government consumption: 41.8%

investment in fixed assets: 24.3%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 26.6%

imports of goods and services: -76.2% (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 26.3%

industry: 18.9%

services: 54.8% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products

taro, yams, coconuts, bananas, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sakau (kava), Kosraen citrus, betel nuts, black pepper, fish, pigs, chickens


tourism, construction; specialized aquaculture, craft items (shell and wood)

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force 199/233

37,920 (2010 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 0.9%

industry: 5.2%

services: 93.9%

note: two-thirds of the labor force are government employees (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 155/207

16.2% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line

26.7% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index 6/144

61.1 (2013 est.)


revenues: $213.8 million

expenditures: $192.1 million (FY12/13 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 5/219

69.6% of GDP (FY12/13 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 5/220

7.1% of GDP (FY12/13 est.)

Public debt 145/176

28% of GDP (2013)

27% of GDP (2012)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6/226

-1% (2015 est.)

0.9% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 119/184

7.1% (2013 est.)

6.4% (2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money 182/192

$196 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of broad money 189/193

$225.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 185/191

$56.98 million (2013 est.)

$56.77 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 53/197

$1 million (2015 est.)

$14 million (2014 est.)

Exports 196/224

$88.3 million (2013 est.)

$95.7 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities

fish, sakau (kava), betel nuts, black pepper

Imports 202/223

$258.5 million (2013 est.)

$263.4 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities

food, beverages, clothing, computers, household electronics, appliances, manufactured goods, automobiles, machinery and equipment, furniture, tools

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 167/170

$75.06 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external 195/206

$93.6 million (2013 est.)

$93.5 million (2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 119/120

$15.8 million (2013 est.)

$34.4 million (2012 est.)

Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - production 187/220

192 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - consumption 189/219

178.6 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - exports 138/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 149/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 204/214

18,000 kW (2015 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 64/214

96% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 92/214

0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 143/214

1% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 72/212

3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 136/214

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - exports 125/214

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - imports 190/214

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - proved reserves 134/215

0 bbl (1 January 2014)

Refined petroleum products - production 182/214

0 bbl/day (2014)

Refined petroleum products - exports 180/214

0 bbl/day

Natural gas - production 187/216

0 cu m (2014)

Natural gas - exports 51/215

2,014 cu m

Natural gas - proved reserves 139/212

0 cu m

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 212/212

105 Mt (2010 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 204/219

total subscriptions: 7,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 208/217

total: 31,400

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2013)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate system

domestic: islands interconnected by shortwave radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes), satellite (Intelsat) ground stations, and some coaxial and fiber-optic cable; mobile-cellular service available on Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap

international: country code - 691; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2002)

Broadcast media

no TV broadcast stations; each state has a multi-channel cable service with TV transmissions carrying roughly 95% imported programming and 5% local programming; about a half dozen radio stations (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 5, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television broadcast stations

3 (cable TV also available) (2004)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 147/232

4,668 (2012)

Internet users 196/217

total: 29,900

percent of population: 28.3% (2014 est.)


Airports 173/236

6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)

Roadways 208/223

total: 388 km

paved: 184 km

unpaved: 204 km (2015)

Merchant marine 139/156

total: 3

by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 2 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Colonia (Tomil Harbor), Lele Harbor, Pohnepi Harbor

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

major consumer of cannabis