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(part of the Dutch realm)

World Factbook (1990) Aruba.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 193 km²; land area: 193 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 68.5 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 2 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Natural resources: negligible; white sandy beaches

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other

Environment: lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt

Note: 28 km north of Venezuela


Population: 62,656 (July 1990), growth rate 0.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 16 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1 ,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -8 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 8 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 80 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1 .8 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: 80% mixed European/Caribbean Indian

Religion: 82% Roman Catholic, 8% Protestant; also small Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, and Jewish minority

Language: Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish

Literacy: 95%

Labor force: NA, but most employment is in the tourist industry (1986)

Organized labor: Aruban Workers' Federation (FTA)


Long-form name: none

Type: part of the Dutch realm—full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles

Capital: Oranjestad

Administrative divisions: none (self-governing part of the Netherlands)

Independence: planned for 1996

Constitution: 1 January 1986

Legal system: based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence

National holiday: Flag Day, 18 March

Executive branch: Dutch monarch, governor, prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (Staten)

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Felipe B. TROMP (since 1 January 1986);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Nelson ODUBER (since NA February 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Electoral Movement Party (MEP), Nelson Oduber; Aruban People's Party (AVP), Henny Eman; National Democratic Action (ADN), Pedro Charro Kelly; New Patriotic Party (PPN), Eddy Werlemen; Aruban Patriotic Party (PPA), Benny Nisbet; Aruban Democratic Party (PDA), Leo Berlinski; Democratic Action 86 (AD'86), Arturo Oduber; governing coalition includes the MEP, PPA, and ADN

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Parliament—last held 6 January 1989 (next to be held by January 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(21 total) MEP 10, AVP 8, ADN 1, PPN 1, PPA 1

Diplomatic representation: none (self-governing part of the Netherlands)

Flag: blue with two narrow horizontal yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner


Overview: Tourism is the mainstay of the economy. In 1985 the economy suffered a severe blow when Exxon closed its refinery, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings. Economic collapse was prevented by soft loans from the Dutch Government and by a booming tourist industry. Hotel capacity expanded by 20% between 1985 and 1987 and is projected to more than double by 1990. Unemployment has steadily declined from about 20% in 1986 to about 3% in 1988.

GDP: $620 million, per capita $10,000; real growth rate 16.7% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3% (1988 est.)

Budget: revenues $145 million; expenditures $185 million, including capital expenditures of $42 million (1988)

Exports: $47.5 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—mostly petroleum products; partners—US 64%, EC

Imports: $296.0 million (c.i.f., 1988 est.); commodities—food, consumer goods, manufactures; partners—US 8%, EC

External debt: $81 million (1987)

Industrial production: growth rate -20% (1984)

Electricity: 310,000 kW capacity; 945 million kWh produced, 15,120 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tourism, transshipment facilities

Agriculture: poor quality soils and low rainfall limit agricultural activity to the cultivation of aloes

Aid: none

Currency: Aruban florin (plural—florins); 1 Aruban florin (Af.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Aruban florins (Af.) per US$1—1.7900 (fixed rate since 1986)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Ports: Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Airfield: government-owned airport east of Oranjestad

Telecommunications: generally adequate; extensive interisland radio relay links; 72,168 telephones; stations—4 AM, 4 FM, 1 TV; 1 sea cable to St. Maarten

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the Netherlands until 1996