Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Faroe Islands
Flag of Faroe Islands                                Map of Faroe Islands
Background:The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was attained in 1948.
Location:Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway
Geographic coordinates:62 00 N, 7 00 W
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
Area—comparative:eight times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:1,117 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 3 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Climate:mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
Terrain:rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
Natural resources:fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Land use:arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2005)
Irrigated land:0 sq km
Natural hazards:NA
Environment—current issues:NA
Environment—international agreements:party to: Marine Dumping -associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution
Geography—note:archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
Population:47,511 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 20.6% (male 4,882/female 4,904)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 16,353/female 14,668)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 3,041/female 3,663) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 35 years
male: 34.8 years
female: 35.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:0.543% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:14.12 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.996 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.115 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.045 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 6.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 79.49 years
male: 76.06 years
female: 82.93 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.15 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
Nationality:noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese
Ethnic groups:Scandinavian
Religions:Evangelical Lutheran
Languages:Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
Literacy:definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
note: probably 100%, the same as Denmark proper
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Foroyar
Dependency status:part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
Government type:NA
Capital:name: Torshavn
geographic coordinates: 62 01 N, 6 46 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities
Independence:none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
National holiday:Olaifest (Olavasoka), 29 July
Constitution:5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)
Legal system:the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Birgit KLEIS, chief administrative officer (since 1 November 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Joannes EIDESGAARD (since 3 February 2004)
cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held 20 January 2004 (next to be held no later than January 2008)
election results: Joannes EIDESGAARD elected prime minister; percent of parliamentary vote - NA
Legislative branch:unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 19 January 2008 (next to be held no later than January 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 21%, Social Democratic Party 19.4%, Republican Party 23.3%, People's Party 20.1%, Center Party 8.4%, Self-Government Party 7.2%, other 0.6%; seats by party - Republican Party 8, Union Party 7, Social Democratic Party 6, People's Party 7, Center Party 3, Independence Party 2
note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 13 November 2007 (next to be held no later than November 2011); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, Union Party 1
Judicial branch:none
Political parties and leaders:Center Party [Jenis A. RANA]; Independence Party [Kari P. HOJGAARD]; People's Party [Jorgen NICLASEN]; Republican Party [Hogni HOYDAL]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Diplomatic representation from the US:none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Flag description:white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
Economy—overview:The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price swings. Since 2003 the Faroese economy has picked up as a result of higher prices for fish and for housing. Unemployment is minimal and government finances are relatively sound. Oil finds close to the Islands give hope for economically recoverable deposits, which could eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (about 15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$1.7 billion (2005 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:2.4% (2005 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$31,000 (2001 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 27%
industry: 11%
services: 62% (1999)
Labor force:24,250 (October 2000)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 33%
industry: 33%
services: 34% (October 2000)
Unemployment rate:2.1% (2006)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):1.8% (2005)
Budget:revenues: $588 million
expenditures: $623 million (2005)
Agriculture—products:milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
Industries:fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:8% (1999 est.)
Electricity—production:290 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:269.7 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:4,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:4,580 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports:$634 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports—commodities:fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships (1999)
Exports—partners:Denmark 31%, UK 27.4%, Norway 10.3%, Nigeria 9.5%, Netherlands 5.6% (2006)
Imports:$751 million c.i.f. (2006)
Imports—commodities:consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, machinery and transport equipment 29%, fuels, fish, salt (1999)
Imports—partners:Denmark 52.6%, Norway 20.7%, Iceland 6.1%, Sweden 4.3% (2006)
Debt—external:$64 million (1999)
Economic aid—recipient:$105 million; note - annual subsidy from Denmark (2005)
Currency (code):Danish krone (DKK)
Exchange rates:Danish kroner per US dollar - 5.4797 (2007), 5.9468 (2006), 5.9969 (2005), 5.9911 (2004), 6.5877 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:23,000 (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:50,000 (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
domestic: digitalization was completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
international: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable
Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:3 (plus 43 repeaters) (September 1995)
Internet country
Internet hosts:8,490 (2007)
Internet users:34,000 (2006)
Airports:1 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways:total: 463 km (2006)
Merchant marine:total: 16 ships (1000 GRT or over) 92,454 GRT/63,291 DWT
by type: cargo 10, container 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 8 (Iceland 4, Norway 4) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Torshavn, Vagur
Military branches:no regular military forces
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 10,695 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 8,852 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 366 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:NA
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of Denmark
Transnational Issues
Disputes—international:because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm


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