Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Flag of Cocos (Keeling) Islands                                Map of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Background:There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK in 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
Location:Southeastern Asia, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Indonesia, about halfway from Australia to Sri Lanka
Geographic coordinates:12 30 S, 96 50 E
Map references:Southeast Asia
Area:total: 14 sq km
land: 14 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of West Island and Home Island
Area—comparative:about 24 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:26 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:tropical with high humidity, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year
Terrain:flat, low-lying coral atolls
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
Natural resources:fish
Land use:arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land:NA
Natural hazards:cyclone season is October to April
Environment—current issues:fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs
Geography—note:islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation
Population:596 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate:0% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:NA
Death rate:NA
Net migration rate:NA
Infant mortality rate:total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth:total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
Nationality:noun: Cocos Islander(s)
adjective: Cocos Islander
Ethnic groups:Europeans, Cocos Malays
Religions:Sunni Muslim 80%, other 20% (2002 est.)
Languages:Malay (Cocos dialect), English
Country name:conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Dependency status:non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Australian Attorney-General's Department
Government type:NA
Capital:name: West Island
geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 96 50 E
time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:none (territory of Australia)
Independence:none (territory of Australia)
National holiday:Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Constitution:Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955 (23 November 1955) as amended by the Territories Law Reform Act of 1992
Legal system:based upon the laws of Australia and local laws
Executive branch:chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Neil LUCAS (since 30 January 2006)
cabinet: NA
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the monarch and Australia
Legislative branch:unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in May 2005 (next to be held in May 2007)
Judicial branch:Supreme Court; Magistrate's Court
Political parties and leaders:none
Political pressure groups and leaders:none
International organization participation:none
Diplomatic representation in the US:none (territory of Australia)
Diplomatic representation from the US:none (territory of Australia)
Flag description:the flag of Australia is used
Economy—overview:Grown throughout the islands, coconuts are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$NA
Labor force:NA
Labor force—by occupation:note: the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd. employs construction workers, stevedores, and lighterage workers; tourism employs others
Unemployment rate:60% (2000 est.)
Budget:revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture—products:vegetables, bananas, pawpaws, coconuts
Industries:copra products and tourism
Exports—partners:Australia (2006)
Imports—partners:Australia (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:$NA
Currency (code):Australian dollar (AUD)
Exchange rates:Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003)
Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June
Telephones—main lines in use:287 (1992)
Telephone system:general assessment: connected within Australia's telecommunication system
domestic: NA
international: country code - 61; telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; 1 INTELSAT satellite earth station (2001)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:NA
Internet country
Internet users:NA
Airports:1 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways:total: 22 km
paved: 10 km
unpaved: 12 km (2006)
Ports and terminals:Port Refuge
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of Australia; the territory has a five-person police force
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