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The World Factbook. 2008.

Northern Mariana Islands

Flag of Northern Mariana Islands                                Map of Northern Mariana Islands
Background:Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links with the US. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in 1975, and came into force on 24 March 1976. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.
Location:Oceania, islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines
Geographic coordinates:15 12 N, 145 45 E
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 477 sq km
land: 477 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes 14 islands including Saipan, Rota, and Tinian
Area—comparative:2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:1,482 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:tropical marine; moderated by northeast trade winds, little seasonal temperature variation; dry season December to June, rainy season July to October
Terrain:southern islands are limestone with level terraces and fringing coral reefs; northern islands are volcanic
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Agrihan 965 m
Natural resources:arable land, fish
Land use:arable land: 13.04%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 82.61% (2005)
Irrigated land:NA
Natural hazards:active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan; typhoons (especially August to November)
Environment—current issues:contamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development
Geography—note:strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean
Population:84,546 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 18.9% (male 8,354/female 7,612)
15-64 years: 79.5% (male 27,334/female 39,860)
65 years and over: 1.6% (male 717/female 669) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 29.7 years
male: 31.8 years
female: 28.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:2.461% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:19.27 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:2.29 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:7.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.097 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.686 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.072 male(s)/female
total population: 0.756 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 6.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 76.29 years
male: 73.7 years
female: 79.05 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.21 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
Nationality:noun: NA (US citizens)
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups:Asian 56.3%, Pacific islander 36.3%, Caucasian 1.8%, other 0.8%, mixed 4.8% (2000 census)
Religions:Christian (Roman Catholic majority, although traditional beliefs and taboos may still be found)
Languages:Philippine languages 24.4%, Chinese 23.4%, Chamorro 22.4%, English 10.8%, other Pacific island languages 9.5%, other 9.6% (2000 census)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 96% (1980 est.)
Country name:conventional long form: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
conventional short form: Northern Mariana Islands
abbreviation: CNMI
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Mariana Islands District
Dependency status:commonwealth in political union with the US; federal funds to the Commonwealth administered by the US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs
Government type:commonwealth; self-governing with locally elected governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature
Capital:name: Saipan
geographic coordinates: 15 12 N, 145 45 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:none (commonwealth in political union with the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four municipalities at the second order: Northern Islands, Rota, Saipan, Tinian
Independence:none (commonwealth in political union with the US)
National holiday:Commonwealth Day, 8 January (1978)
Constitution:Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective 1 January 1978; Covenant Agreement fully effective 4 November 1986
Legal system:based on US system, except for customs, wages, immigration laws, and taxation
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Benigno R. FITIAL (since 9 January 2006); Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. VILLAGOMEZ (since 9 January 2006)
cabinet: the cabinet consists of the heads of the 10 principal departments under the executive branch who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; other members include Special Assistants to the governor and office heads appointed by and reporting directly to the governor
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 5 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: Benigno R. FITIAL elected governor in a four-way race; percent of vote – Benigno R. FITIAL 28.07%, Heinz HOFSCHNEIDER 27.34%, Juan BABAUTA 26.6%, Froilan TENORIO 17.99%
Legislative branch:bicameral Legislature consists of the Senate (9 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year staggered terms) and the House of Representatives (20 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held 3 November 2007 (next to be held in November 2009); House of Representatives – last held 3 November 2007 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Covenant Party 3, Republican Party 3, Democratic Party 1, independents 2; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Republican Party 12, Covenant Party 4, Democratic Party 1, independents 3
note: the Northern Mariana Islands does not have a nonvoting delegate in the US Congress; instead, it has an elected official or “resident representative” in Washington, DC; seats by party – Republican Party 1 (Pedro A. TENORIO)
Judicial branch:Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal District Court
Political parties and leaders:Covenant Party [Benigno R. FITIAL]; Democratic Party [Dr. Carlos S. CAMACHO]; Republican Party [Juan S. REYES]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:Interpol (subbureau), SPC, UPU
Flag description:blue, with a white, five-pointed star superimposed on the gray silhouette of a latte stone (a traditional foundation stone used in building) in the center, surrounded by a wreath
Economy—overview:The economy benefits substantially from financial assistance from the US. The rate of funding has declined as locally generated government revenues have grown. The key tourist industry employs about 50% of the work force and accounts for roughly one-fourth of GDP. Japanese tourists predominate. Annual tourist entries have exceeded one-half million in recent years, but financial difficulties in Japan have caused a temporary slowdown. The agricultural sector is made up of cattle ranches and small farms producing coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons. Garment production is by far the most important industry with the employment of 17,500 mostly Chinese workers and sizable shipments to the US under duty and quota exemptions.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$900 million
note: GDP estimate includes US subsidy (2000 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$633.4 million (2000)
GDP—real growth rate:NA%
GDP—per capita (PPP):$12,500 (2000 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force:44,470 total indigenous labor force; 2,699 unemployed; 28,717 foreign workers (2000)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:3.9% (2001)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):-0.8% (2000)
Budget:revenues: $193 million
expenditures: $223 million (FY01/02 est.)
Agriculture—products:coconuts, fruits, vegetables; cattle
Industries:tourism, construction, garments, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity—production:NA kWh
Electricity—consumption:NA kWh
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2007 est.)
Exports—partners:US (2006)
Imports:$214.4 million (2001)
Imports—commodities:food, construction equipment and materials, petroleum products
Imports—partners:US, Japan (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:extensive funding from US
Currency (code):US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates:the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:1 October – 30 September
Telephones—main lines in use:21,000 (2000)
Telephones—mobile cellular:20,500 (2004)
Telephone system:general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code – 1-670; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 1 (2005)
Television broadcast stations:1 (on Saipan; in addition, 2 cable services on Saipan provide varied programming from satellite networks) (2006)
Internet country
Internet hosts:5 (2007)
Internet users:10,000 (2003)
Airports:5 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Heliports:1 (2007)
Roadways:total: 536 km (2004)
Ports and terminals:Saipan, Tinian
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues