CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Pitcairn Islands

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map of Pitcairn Islands

Introduction Pitcairn Islands
Background: Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire in the South Pacific. Outmigration, primarily to New Zealand, has thinned the population from a peak of 233 in 1937 to less than 50 today.

Geography Pitcairn Islands
Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about midway between Peru and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 25 04 S, 130 06 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 47 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 47 sq km
Area - comparative: about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 51 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; modified by southeast trade winds; rainy season (November to March)
Terrain: rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pawala Valley Ridge 347 m
Natural resources: miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish
note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore
Land use: arable land: NA
permanent crops: NA
other: NA (2001)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: typhoons (especially November to March)
Environment - current issues: deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)
Geography - note: Britain's most isolated dependency; only the larger island of Pitcairn is inhabited but it has no port or natural harbor; supplies must be transported by rowed longboat from larger ships stationed offshore

People Pitcairn Islands
Population: 46 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate: -0.013% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population
Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population
Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years
Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
adjective: Pitcairn Islander
Ethnic groups: descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives
Religions: Seventh-Day Adventist 100%
Languages: English (official), Pitcairnese (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
Literacy: NA

Government Pitcairn Islands
Country name: conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands
conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands
Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK
Government type: NA
Capital: Adamstown
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
Constitution: 1838; reformed 1904 with additional reforms in 1940; further refined by the Local Government Ordinance of 1964
Legal system: local island by-laws
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal with three years residency
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by UK High Commissioner to New Zealand and Governor (nonresident) of the Pitcairn Islands Richard FELL (since NA December 2001); Commissioner (nonresident) Leslie JACQUES (since November 2003); serves as liaison between the governor and the Island Council
election results: Jay WARREN elected mayor and chairman of the Island Council
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner and commissioner appointed by the monarch; island mayor elected by popular vote for a three-year term; election last held December 2004 (next to be held December 2007)
head of government: mayor and chairman of the Island Council Jay WARREN (since 15 December 2004)
cabinet: NA
Legislative branch: unicameral Island Council (10 seats - 5 elected by popular vote, 1 nominated by the 5 elected members, 2 appointed by the governor including 1 seat for the Island Secretary, the Island Mayor, and a commissioner liaising between the governor and council; elected members serve one-year terms)
elections: last held 24 December 2003 (next to be held 24 December 2004)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independents
Judicial branch: Island Court (island magistrate, appointed by the governor, presides over the court)
Political parties and leaders: none
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description: blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Pitcairn Islander coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms is yellow, green, and light blue with a shield featuring a yellow anchor

Economy Pitcairn Islands
Economy - overview: The inhabitants of this tiny isolated economy exist on fishing, subsistence farming, handicrafts, and postage stamps. The fertile soil of the valleys produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, sugarcane, watermelons, bananas, yams, and beans. Bartering is an important part of the economy. The major sources of revenue are the sale of postage stamps to collectors and the sale of handicrafts to passing ships.
GDP: purchasing power parity - NA
GDP - real growth rate: NA
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - NA
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): NA
Labor force: 12 able-bodied men (1997)
Labor force - by occupation: no business community in the usual sense; some public works; subsistence farming and fishing
Unemployment rate: NA
Budget: revenues: $729,900
expenditures: $878,100, including capital expenditures of NA (FY94/95 est.)
Agriculture - products: wide variety of fruits and vegetables, goats, chickens
Industries: postage stamps, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity - production: NA kWh; note - electric power is provided by a small diesel-powered generator
Electricity - consumption: NA kWh
Exports: NA
Exports - commodities: fruits, vegetables, curios, stamps
Exports - partners: NA (2000)
Imports: NA
Imports - commodities: fuel oil, machinery, building materials, flour, sugar, other foodstuffs
Imports - partners: NA (2000)
Debt - external: NA
Economic aid - recipient: from UK'S DFID
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code: NZD
Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.7229 (2003), 2.162 (2002), 2.3776 (2001), 2.1863 (2000), 1.8886 (1999)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications Pitcairn Islands
Telephones - main lines in use: 1 (there are 17 telephones on one party line); (2004)
Telephone system: general assessment: only party line telephone service is available for this small, closely related community
domestic: party line service only
international: country code - 672; satellite earth station (Inmarsat)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: NA
Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .pn
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: NA

Transportation Pitcairn Islands
Highways: total: 6.4 km
paved: 0 km
unpaved: 6.4 km
Ports and harbors: Adamstown (on Bounty Bay)
Merchant marine: total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 3,313 GRT/5,651 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2003 est.)
Airports: none (2003 est.)

Military Pitcairn Islands
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

This page was last updated on 1 January 2003

This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005