The World Factbook (1982)/Tonga

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


World Factbook (1982) Tonga.jpg
(See reference map X)


997 km2 (169 islands, only 36 inhabited); 77% arable, 3% pasture, 13% forest, 3% inland water, 4% other


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): rectangular/polygonal claim (12 nm for Minerva Reef)

Coastline: 419 km (est.)


Population: 102,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 2.1%

Nationality: noun—Tongan(s); adjective—Tongan

Ethnic divisions: Polynesian, about 300 Europeans

Religion: Christian; Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents

Language: Tongan, English

Literacy: 90%-95%; compulsory education for children between ages of 6-14

Labor force: agriculture 10,303; mining 599

Organized labor: unorganized


Official name: Kingdom of Tonga

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Nuku'alofa (located on Tongatapu Island)

Political subdivisions: three main island groups (Tongatapu, Ha'api, Vava'u)

Legal system: based on English law

Branches: executive (King and Privy Council); legislative (Legislative Assembly composed of seven nobles elected by their peers, seven elected representatives of the people, eight Ministers of the Crown; the King appoints one of the seven nobles to be the speaker); Judiciary (Supreme Court, magistrate courts, Land Court)

Government leaders: King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV; Premier, Prince Fatafehi TU'IPELEHAKE (younger brother of the King)

Suffrage: granted to all literate adults over 21 years of age who pay taxes

Elections: held every three years, last in April 1978

Communists: none known

Member of: ADB, Commonwealth, ESCAP, South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation, South Pacific Bureau Forum


GNP: $34.2 million (1976), $370 per capita

Agriculture: largely dominated by coconut and banana production with subsistence crops of taro, yams, sweet potatoes, and bread fruit

Electric power: 4,100 kW capacity (1980); 8 million kWh produced (1980), 87 kWh per capita

Exports: $5.6 million (1978); 65% copra, 7% coconut products, 8% bananas

Imports: $12.4 million (1978); food, machinery, and petroleum

Major trade partners: (FY74) exports—25% Netherlands, 22% Australia, 20% New Zealand, 11% Norway; imports—63% New Zealand and Australia

Aid: economic aid commitments—Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF (1970-79), $57 million

Budget: (FY77) $10 million

Monetary conversion rate: 1 Tonga dollar=US$1.11 (1979)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Railroads: none

Highways: 249 km total (1974); 177 km rolled stone; 72 km coral base

Ports: 2 minor

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airfields: 4 total, 4 usable; 1 with permanent-surface runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: 1,285 telephones (1.4 per 100 popl.); 11,000 radio sets; no TV sets; 1 AM station; 1 ground satellite station