The World Factbook (1990)/Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands
(part of the Danish realm)

World Factbook (1990) Faroe Islands.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 1,400 km²; land area: 1,400 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than eight times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 764 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 4 nm
Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy

Terrain: rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast

Natural resources: fish

Land use: 2% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 98% other

Environment: precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands; archipelago of 18 inhabited islands and a few uninhabited islets

Note: strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic about midway between Iceland and Shetland Islands


Population: 47,715 (July 1990), growth rate 0.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 17 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

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

Infant mortality rate: 9 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 74 years male, 81 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Faroese (sing., pl.); adjective—Faroese

Ethnic divisions: homogeneous Scandinavian population

Religion: Evangelical Lutheran

Language: Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 17,585; largely engaged in fishing, manufacturing, transportation, and commerce

Organized labor: NA


Long-form name: none

Type: part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark

Capital: Tórshavn

Administrative divisions: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Independence: part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark

Constitution: Danish

Legal system: Danish

National holiday: Birthday of the Queen, 16 April (1940)

Executive branch: Danish monarch, high commissioner, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet (Landsstýri)

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (Løgting)

Judicial branch: none

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen MARGRETHE II (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Bent KLINTE (since NA);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Jógvan SUNDSTEIN (since 17 January 1989)

Political parties and leaders: four-party ruling coalition—People's Party, Jógvan Sundstein; Republican Party, Signer Hansen; Progressive and Fishing Industry Party combined with the Christian People's Party (CPP-PFIP); Home Rule Party, Hilmar Kass; opposition—Social Democratic Party, Atli P. Dam; Cooperation Coalition Party, Pauli Ellefsen; Progress Party

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: Parliament—last held 8 November 1988 (next to be held November 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(32 total) three-party coalition 21 (People's Party 8, Cooperation Coalition Party 7, Republican Party 6); Social Democrat 7, CPP-PFIP 2, Home Rule 2

Communists: insignificant number

Member of: Nordic Council

Diplomatic representation: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Flag: white with a red cross outlined in blue that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)


Overview: The Faroese enjoy the high standard of living characteristic of the Danish and other Scandinavian economies. Fishing is the dominant economic activity. It employs over 25% of the labor force, accounts for about 25% of GDP, and contributes over 80% to export revenues. A handicraft industry employs about 20% of the labor force. Because of cool summers agricultural activities are limited to raising sheep and to potato and vegetable cultivation. There is a labor shortage, and immigrant workers accounted for 5% of the work force in 1989. Denmark annually subsidizes the economy, perhaps on the order of 15% of GDP.

GDP: $662 million, per capita $14,000; real growth rate 3% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.0% (1988)

Unemployment rate: labor shortage

Budget: revenues $176 million; expenditures $176 million, including capital expenditures of NA (FY86)

Exports: $267 million (f.o.b., 1986); commodities—fish and fish products 86%, animal feedstuff's, transport equipment; partners—Denmark 18%, US 14%, FRG, France, UK, Canada

Imports: $363 million (c.i.f., 1986); commodities—machinery and transport equipment 38%, food and livestock 11%, fuels 10%, manufactures 10%, chemicals 5%; partners:Denmark 46%, FRG, Norway, Japan, UK

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 80,000 kW capacity; 280 million kWh produced, 5,910 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: fishing, shipbuilding, handicrafts

Agriculture: accounts for 27% of GDP and employs 27% of labor force; principal crops potatoes and vegetables; livestock sheep; annual fish catch about 360,000 metric tons

Aid: none

Currency: Danish krone (plural kroner); 1 Danish krone (DKr) = 100 øre

Exchange rates: Danish kroner (DKr) per US$1—6.560 (January 1990), 7.310 (1989), 6.732 (1988), 6.840 (1987), 8.091 (1986), 10.596 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Highways: 200 km

Ports: Torshavn, Tvoroyri; 8 minor

Merchant marine: 7 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 17,249 GRT/11,887 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 2 cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 2 refrigerated cargo; note—a subset of the Danish register

Airports: 1 with permanent-surface runway 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: good international communications; fair domestic facilities; 27,900 telephones; stations—1 AM, 3 (10 repeaters) FM, 3 (29 repeaters) TV; 3 coaxial submarine cables

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of Denmark