[Country map of Tonga]



Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Map references: Oceania

total area: 748 sq km
land area: 718 sq km
comparative area: slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 419 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

Natural resources: fish, fertile soil

Land use:
arable land: 25%
permanent crops: 55%
meadows and pastures: 6%
forest and woodland: 12%
other: 2%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
international agreements: party to - Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban

Note: archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited)


Population: 105,600 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 0.78% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 24.37 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.75 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -9.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 20.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.16 years
male: 65.8 years
female: 70.62 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.56 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan

Ethnic divisions: Polynesian, Europeans about 300

Religions: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)

Languages: Tongan, English

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write simple message in Tongan or English (1976)
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: agriculture 70%, mining (600 engaged in mining)


conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands

Digraph: TN

Type: hereditary constitutional monarchy

Capital: Nuku'alofa

Administrative divisions: three island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u

Independence: 4 June 1970 (emancipation from UK protectorate)

National holiday: Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)

Constitution: 4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967

Legal system: based on English law

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV (since 16 December 1965)
head of government: Prime Minister Baron VAEA (since 22 August 1991); Deputy Prime Minister S. Langi KAVALIKU (since 22 August 1991)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the king
Privy Council: consists of the king and the cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral; consists of twelve cabinet ministers sitting ex-officio, nine nobles selected by the country's thirty-three nobles, and nine people's representatives elected by the populace
Legislative Assembly (Fale Alea): elections last held 3-4 February 1993 (next to be held NA February 1996); results - percent of vote NA; seats - (30 total, 9 elected) 6 proreform, 3 traditionalist

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Tonga People's Party, Viliami FUKOFUKA


Diplomatic representation in US: Ambassador Sione KITE, resides in London
consulate(s) general: San Francisco

US diplomatic representation: the US has no offices in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga

Flag: red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner


Overview: The economy's base is agriculture, which employs about 70% of the labor force and contributes 40% to GDP. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The manufacturing sector accounts for only 11% of GDP. Tourism is the primary source of hard currency earnings, but the country also remains dependent on sizable external aid and remittances to offset its trade deficit. The economy continued to grow in 1993-94 largely because of a rise in squash exports, increased aid flows, and several large construction projects. The government is now turning its attention to further development of the private sector and the reduction of the budget deficit.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $214 million (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $2,050 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (1993)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $36.4 million
expenditures: $68.1 million, including capital expenditures of $33.2 million (1991 est.)

Exports: $11.3 million (f.o.b., FY92/93)
commodities: squash, vanilla, fish, root crops, coconut oil
partners: Japan 34%, US 17%, Australia 13%, NZ 13% (FY90/91)

Imports: $56 million (c.i.f., FY92/93)
commodities: food products, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, fuels, chemicals
partners: NZ 33%, Australia 22%, US 8%, Japan 8% (FY90/91)

External debt: $47.5 million (FY90/91)

Industrial production: growth rate 1.5% (FY91/92); accounts for 11% of GDP

capacity: 6,000 kW
production: 30 million kWh
consumption per capita: 231 kWh (1993)

Industries: tourism, fishing

Agriculture: accounts for 40% of GDP; dominated by coconut, copra, and banana production; vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $16 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $258 million

Currency: 1 pa'anga (T$) = 100 seniti

Exchange rates: pa'anga (T$) per US$1 - 1.2653 (January 1995), 1.3202 (1994), 1.3841 (1993), 1.3471 (1992), 1.2961 (1991), 1.2800 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Railroads: 0 km

total: 366 km
paved: 272 km (198 km on Tongatapu; 74 km on Vava'u)
unpaved: 94 km (usable only in dry weather)

Ports: Neiafu, Nuku'alofa, Pangai

Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,440 GRT/8,984 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1

total: 6
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2


Telephone system: 3,529 telephones
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: 66,000

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Tonga Defense Services, Maritime Division, Royal Tongan Marines, Tongan Royal Guards, Police

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP