[Country map of Solomon Islands]

Solomon Islands


Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea

Map references: Oceania

total area: 28,450 sq km
land area: 27,540 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 5,313 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls

Natural resources: fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 93%
other: 4%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; much of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
natural hazards: typhoons, but they are rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Law of the Sea


Population: 399,206 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (female 90,293; male 93,695)
15-64 years: 51% (female 100,183; male 103,374)
65 years and over: 3% (female 5,738; male 5,923) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.4% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 38.48 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 4.51 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 26.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.84 years
male: 68.38 years
female: 73.41 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.59 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander

Ethnic divisions: Melanesian 93%, Polynesian 4%, Micronesian 1.5%, European 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, other 0.4%

Religions: Anglican 34%, Roman Catholic 19%, Baptist 17%, United (Methodist/Presbyterian) 11%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, other Protestant 5%, traditional beliefs 4%

Languages: Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2% of population
note: 120 indigenous languages

Literacy: NA%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: agriculture, forestry, and fishing 32.4%, services 25%, construction, manufacturing, and mining 7.0%, commerce, transport, and finance 4.7% (1984)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands

Digraph: BP

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Honiara

Administrative divisions: 7 provinces and 1 town*; Central, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Temotu, Western

Independence: 7 July 1978 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 7 July (1978)

Constitution: 7 July 1978

Legal system: common law

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Moses PITAKAKA (since 10 June 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Solomon MAMALONI (since 7 November 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Dennis LULEI (since 10 November 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the governor general on advice of the prime minister from members of parliament

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Parliament: elections last held NA November 1994 (next to be held NA 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (47 total) number of seats by party NA

Judicial branch: High Court

Political parties and leaders: People's Alliance Party (PAP); United Party (UP), leader NA; Solomon Islands Liberal Party (SILP), Bartholemew ULUFA'ALU; Nationalist Front for Progress (NFP), Andrew NORI; Labor Party (LP), Joses TUHANUKU; National Action Party, leader NA; Christian Fellowship, leader NA; National Unity Group, Solomon MAMALONI


Diplomatic representation in US: ambassador traditionally resides in Honiara (Solomon Islands)

US diplomatic representation: embassy closed July 1993; the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands

Flag: divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green


Overview: The bulk of the population depend on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. The economy suffered from a severe cyclone in mid-1986 that caused widespread damage to the infrastructure. In 1993, the government was working with the IMF to develop a structural adjustment program to address the country's fiscal deficit.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $1 billion (1992 est.)

National product real growth rate: 8% (1992)

National product per capita: $2,590 (1992 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13% (1992 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $48 million
expenditures: $107 million, including capital expenditures of $45 million (1991 est.)

Exports: $84 million (f.o.b., 1991)
commodities: fish 46%, timber 31%, palm oil 5%, cocoa, copra
partners: Japan 39%, UK 23%, Thailand 9%, Australia 5%, US 2% (1991)

Imports: $110 million (c.i.f., 1991)
commodities: plant and machinery, manufactured goods, food and live animals, fuel
partners: Australia 34%, Japan 16%, Singapore 14%, NZ 9%

External debt: $128 million (1988 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -3.8% (1991 est.); accounts for 5% of GDP

capacity: 21,000 kW
production: 30 million kWh
consumption per capita: 80 kWh (1993)

Industries: copra, fish (tuna)

Agriculture: including fishing and forestry, accounts for 31% of GDP; mostly subsistence farming; cash crops - cocoa, beans, coconuts, palm kernels, timber; other products - rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs; not self-sufficient in food grains; 90% of the total fish catch of 44,500 metric tons was exported (1988)

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-89), $250 million

Currency: 1 Solomon Islands dollar (SI$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Solomon Islands dollars (SI$) per US$1 - 3.3113 (September 1994), 3.1877 (1993), 2.9281 (1992), 2.7148 (1991), 2.5288 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,300 km
paved: 30 km
unpaved: gravel 290 km; earth 980 km
note: in addition, there are 800 km of private logging and plantation roads of varied construction (1982)

Ports: Aola Bay, Honiara, Lofung, Noro, Viru Harbor, Yandina

Merchant marine: none

total: 31
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 19
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 9


Telephone system: 3,000 telephones
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: no military forces; Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP