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Northern Mariana Islands
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Northern Mariana Islands Flag
Northern Mariana Islands

Country Profile

Capital City: Saipan (on the island Saipan)

Local Time: UTC +10h

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea along the Mariana Trench, north of Papua New Guinea and east of the Philippines.
Area: 477 sq. km
Terrain: The northern islands are of volcanic origin, active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan, the southern islands are lacustrine limestone fringed by coral reefs.

Climate: Tropical marine, dry season from December to June, rainy season from July to October.

Type: Commonwealth in political union with the US; self-governing with locally elected governor.
Chief of state: George W. Bush

Population: 80 000
Ethnic Groups: Chamorro, Carolinians and other Micronesians
Religions: Christian (Roman Catholic majority, although traditional beliefs and taboos may still be found)
Languages: Chamorro, Carolinian, English
note: 86% of the population speaks a language other than English at home.
Literacy: 97%


Currency: US dollar $ (USD)

Natural resources: Aarable land, fish.

Agriculture products: Coconuts, fruits, vegetables; cattle.

Industries: Tourism, construction, garments, handicrafts.

Exports partners:

Imports partners: USA, Japan

Internet Links

Official Sites of Northern Mariana Islands

Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

CNMI Attorney General's Office

CNMI House of Representatives

The CNMI Senate

Northern Mariana Islands map

Map of West Pacific Islands

Map of Oceania


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. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.

Geography Northern Mariana Islands

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 note: includes 14 islands including Saipan,
Rota, and Tinian water: 0 sq km land: 477 sq km

Area - comparative:  2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  1,482 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 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: 15% permanent crops: 7% other: 78% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

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

People Northern Mariana Islands

Population:  77,311 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 23.4% (male 9,208; female 8,902) 15-64 years:
74.8% (male 27,041; female 30,781) 65 years and over: 1.8% (male 690;
female 689) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  3.49% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  20.29 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  2.42 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  17.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
1 male(s)/female total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  5.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   79.23 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.76 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: NA adjective: NA

Ethnic groups:  Chamorro, Carolinians and other Micronesians, Caucasian,
Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean

Religions:  Christian (Roman Catholic majority, although traditional
beliefs and taboos may still be found)

Languages:  English, Chamorro, Carolinian note: 86% of population speaks
a language other than English at home

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 97% male: 97% female: 96% (1980 est.)

Government Northern Mariana Islands

Country name:  conventional long form: Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands conventional short form: Northern Mariana Islands former:
Mariana Islands District (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)

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:  Saipan

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:  Covenant Agreement effective 4 November 1986 and the
Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective
1 January 1978

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 Juan N. BABOUTA (since NA
January 2002) and Lieutenant Governor Diego T. BENEVENTE (since NA
January 2002) cabinet:  for four-year terms; governor and lieutenant
governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms;
election last held NA November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2005)
election results:  Juan N. BABOUTA (Republican Party) 49%

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 (18 seats; members are elected by
popular vote to serve two-year terms) election results: Senate - percent
of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Republican Party 4, Democratic
Party 3, Reform Party 1, independent 1; House of Representatives -
percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Republican Party 16,
Democratic Party 1, Covenant Party 1 note: the Northern Mariana Islands
does not have a nonvoting delegate in the US Congress; instead, it has
an elected official or "resident representative" located in Washington,
DC; seats by party - Republican Party 1 (Pedro A. TENORIO) elections:
Senate - last held 5 November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2003);
House of Representatives - last held 5 November 2001 (next to be held
NA November 2003)

Judicial branch:  Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal
District Court

Political parties and leaders:  Democratic Party [Dr. Carlos S. CAMACHO];
Republican Party [Benigno R. FITIAL]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ESCAP (associate), Interpol
(subbureau), SPC

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 Northern Mariana Islands

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 employment of 17,500 mostly Chinese workers and sizable shipments
to the US under duty and quota exemptions.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $900 million (2000 est.)  note: GDP
numbers reflect US spending

GDP - real growth rate:  NA%

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $12,500 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  1.2% (1997 est.)

Labor force:  6,006 total indigenous labor force; 2,699 unemployed;
28,717 foreign workers (1995)

Labor force - by occupation:  NA

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $193 million expenditures: $223 million, including
capital expenditures of NA (FY 2001/02 est.)

Industries:  tourism, construction, garments, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  NA kWh

Electricity - consumption:  NA kWh

Agriculture - products:  coconuts, fruits, vegetables; cattle

Exports:  $NA

Exports - commodities:  garments

Exports - partners:  US

Imports:  $NA

Imports - commodities:  food, construction equipment and materials,
petroleum products

Imports - partners:  US, Japan

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  extensive funding from US

Currency:  US dollar (USD)

Currency code:  USD

Exchange rates:  the US dollar is used

Fiscal year:  1 October - 30 September

Communications Northern Mariana Islands

Telephones - main lines in use:  21,000 (1996)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  1,200 (1995)

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: NA international:
satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios:  NA

Television broadcast stations:  1 (on Saipan and one station planned
for Rota; in addition, two cable services on Saipan provide varied
programming from satellite networks) (1997)

Televisions:  NA

Internet country code:  .mp

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2001)

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Northern Mariana Islands

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 362 km paved: NA km unpaved: NA km (1991)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Saipan, Tinian

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  6 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 3 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to
2,437 m: 2 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 3 under 914 m: 2 (2001) 2,438
to 3,047 m: 1

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Northern Mariana Islands

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues Northern Mariana Islands

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Marianas Variety

Saipan Tribune

Arts & Culture
Northern Mariana Islands Museum of History & Culture.

Destination Northern Mariana Islands - Country Guides
Visit Marianas

The CNMI Guide

Jane's Saipan

Saipan Sucks

Northern Marianas College

Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities

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The Mariana Trench




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