Population: 21 186

GDP: 221 000 000.00 $



After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.



Population: 21,186 (2014).


Nationality: noun: Palauan(s), adjective: Palauan.


Ethnic groups: Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 72.5%, Carolinian 1%, other Micronesian 2.4%, Filipino 16.3%, Chinese 1.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other Asian 3.4%, white 0.9%, other 0.3%.


Languages: Palauan (official on most islands) 66.6%, Carolinian 0.7%, other Micronesian 0.7%, English (official) 15.5%, Filipino 10.8%, Chinese 1.8%, other Asian 2.6%, other 1.3%. Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official).


Religions: Roman Catholic 49.4%, Protestant 30.9% (includes Protestant (general) 23.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.3%, and other Protestant 2.5%), Modekngei 8.7% (indigenous to Palau), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 8.8%, none or unspecified 1.1%.



GDP: $ 221 000 000.00 (2011).

Military Organization


No regular military forces; Palau National Police. Defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there.

Conflicts and Disputes


Maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia.

Geographical Information and Map


Capital: Melekeok


Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines. Westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands.


Geographic coordinates:

7 30 N, 134 30 E



total: 459 sq km

land: 459 sq km

water: 0 sq km


Land boundaries: 0 km.


Coastline: 1,519 km.


Natural resources: forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals.