Nauru facts on every entity in the world

The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific region. Germany annexed the island in 1888. A German-British consortium began mining the island's phosphate deposits early in the 20th century. Australian forces occupied Nauru in World War I; it subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War - and a brutal occupation by Japan - Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world's smallest independent republic.



Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands

Geographic coordinates

0.32° S, 166.55° E

Area 240/257

total: 21 sq km

land: 21 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


30 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical with a monsoonal pattern; rainy season (November to February)


sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed elevation along plateau rim 61 m

Natural resources

phosphates, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 20%

arable land 0%; permanent crops 20%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 0%

other: 80% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

periodic droughts

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; a century of intensive phosphate mining beginning in 1906 - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources

Environment - international agreements

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

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

world's smallest island country; situated just 53 km south of the Equator; Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia

People and Society


noun: Nauruan(s)

adjective: Nauruan

Ethnic groups

Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%


Nauruan 93% (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English 2% (widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes), other 5% (includes I-Kiribati 2% and Chinese 2%)

note: percentages represent main language spoken at home; Nauruan is spoken by 95% of the population, English by 66%, and other languages by 12% (2011 est.)


Protestant 60.4% (includes Nauru Congregational 35.7%, Assembly of God 13%, Nauru Independent Church 9.5%, Baptist 1.5%, and Seventh Day Adventist .7%), Roman Catholic 33%, other 3.7%, none 1.8%, unspecified 1.1% (2011 est.)

Population 225/238

9,540 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.45% (male 1,360/female 1,736)

15-24 years: 16.13% (male 785/female 754)

25-54 years: 43.19% (male 2,059/female 2,061)

55-64 years: 6.11% (male 231/female 352)

65 years and over: 2.12% (male 78/female 124) (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 25.7 years

male: 26.1 years

female: 25.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 154/233

0.55% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 52/224

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

Death rate 171/225

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

Net migration rate 218/222

-13.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 100% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.19% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 0.83 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 0.78 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.66 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female

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

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate 154/224

total: 8.07 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.34 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 170/224

total population: 66.75 years

male: 62.64 years

female: 70.19 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 58/224

2.88 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

35.6% (2007)

Health expenditures 67/191

6.3% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.71 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source


urban: 96.5% of population

total: 96.5% of population


urban: 3.5% of population

total: 3.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 65.6% of population

total: 65.6% of population


urban: 34.4% of population

total: 34.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate 2/191

45.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 91/138

4.8% (2007)

Education expenditures


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 9 years

female: 10 years (2008)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Nauru

conventional short form: Nauru

local long form: Republic of Nauru

local short form: Nauru

former: Pleasant Island

etymology: the island name may derive from the Nauruan word "anaoero" meaning "I go to the beach"

Government type



no official capital; government offices in Yaren District

time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren


31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day, 31 January (1968)


effective 29 January 1968; amended 1968, 2009, 2014 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of common law based on the English model and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


20 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Baron WAQA (since 11 June 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Baron WAQA (since 11 June 2013)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among members of Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 3-year renewable term; election last held on 11 June 2013 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: Baron WAQA reelected president on 11 June 2013; Parliament vote - Baron WAQA (independent) 13, Roland KUN (Nauru First) 5

Legislative branch

description: unicameral parliament (19 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by majority vote; members serve 3-year terms)

elections: last held on 8 June 2013 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 19

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 1 judge)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president to serve until age 65

subordinate courts: District Court, Family Court

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party [Kennan ADEANG]

Nauru First (Naoero Amo) Party

Nauru Party (informal)

note: loose multiparty system

Political pressure groups and leaders

Woman Information and News Agency (women's issues)

International organization participation


Flag description

blue with a narrow, horizontal, yellow stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; blue stands for the Pacific Ocean, the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the yellow stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru

National symbol(s)

frigatebird, calophyllum flower; national colors: blue, yellow, white

National anthem

name: "Nauru Bwiema" (Song of Nauru)

lyrics/music: Margaret HENDRIE/Laurence Henry HICKS

note: adopted 1968


Economy - overview

Revenues of this tiny island - a coral atoll with a land area of 21 square kilometers - traditionally have come from exports of phosphates. Few other resources exist, with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia, its former occupier and later major source of support. Primary reserves of phosphates were exhausted and mining ceased in 2006, but mining of a deeper layer of "secondary phosphate" in the interior of the island began the following year. The secondary phosphate deposits may last another 30 years. Earnings from Nauru’s export of phosphate remains an important source of income. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic future. Although revenue sources for government are limited, the opening of the Australian Regional Processing Center for asylum seekers since 2012 has sparked growth in the economy. Revenue derived from fishing licenses under the vessel day scheme has also boosted government income. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant are deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continues to climb. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist with estimates of Nauru's GDP varying widely.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 224/230

$150.8 million (2015 est.)

$139.7 million (2014 est.)

$127 million (2013 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$150.8 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 10/225

8% (2015 est.)

10% (2014 est.)

4.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 109/230

$14,800 (2015 est.)

$13,700 (2014 est.)

$12,500 (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.1%

industry: 33%

services: 60.8% (2009 est.)

Agriculture - products



phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force


Labor force - by occupation

note: most of the labor force is employed in phosphate mining, public administration, education, and transportation

Unemployment rate 175/207

23% (2011 est.)

90% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $57.8 million

expenditures: $51.8 million (2010 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 197/226

8% (2015 est.)

5% (2015 est.)

Exports 193/224

$125 million (2013 est.)

$110.3 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities


Imports 210/223

$143.1 million (2013 est.)

$41.2 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities

food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery

Debt - external 198/206

$33.3 million (2004 est.)

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -

1.33 (2015 est.)

1.11 (2014 est.)

1.04 (2013 est.)

0.97 (2012 est.)

0.97 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 214/220

25 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 213/219

23.25 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 179/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 184/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 210/214

6,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 24/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 157/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 193/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 209/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 177/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 171/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 110/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 177/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 120/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 200/212

1,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 211/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 195/213

1,075 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 113/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 181/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 157/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 113/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 180/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 197/212

168,700 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 218/219

total subscriptions: 0

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 214/217

total: 6,800

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate local and international radiotelephone communication provided via Australian facilities

international: country code - 674; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

1 government-owned TV station broadcasting programs from New Zealand sent via satellite or on videotape; 1 government-owned radio station, broadcasting on AM and FM, utilizes Australian and British programs (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

1 (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 138/232

8,162 (2012)


Airports 227/236

1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 220/223

total: 30 km

paved: 24 km

unpaved: 6 km (2002)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Nauru

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international