The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean; they became part of a UN Trust Territory under US administration following World War II. The eastern four island groups adopted a constitution in 1979 and chose to become the Federated States of Micronesia. (The westernmost island group became Palau.) Independence came in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the US, which was amended and renewed in 2004. Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, overdependence on US foreign aid, and state perception of inequitable allocation of US aid.



Oceania, island group in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia

Geographic coordinates

6 55 N, 158 15 E

Map references



total: 702 sq km
land: 702 sq km
water: 0 sq km (fresh water only)
note: includes Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae (Kosaie)

Area - comparative

four times the size of Washington, DC (land area only)

Land boundaries

0 km


6,112 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage


islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Dolohmwar (Totolom) 791 m

Natural resources

timber, marine products, deep-seabed minerals, phosphate

Land use

agricultural land: 25.5%
arable land 2.3%; permanent crops 19.7%; permanent pasture 3.5%
forest: 74.5%
other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km NA (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons (June to December)

Environment - current issues

overfishing, climate change, pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

composed of four major island groups totaling 607 islands

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Chuukese/Mortlockese 49.3%, Pohnpeian 29.8%, Kosraean 6.3%, Yapese 5.7%, Yap outer islanders 5.1%, Polynesian 1.6%, Asian 1.4%, other 0.8% (2010 est.)


104,719 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Micronesian(s)
adjective: Micronesian; Chuukese, Kosraen(s), Pohnpeian(s), Yapese

Birth rate

20.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)


English (official and common language), Chuukese, Kosrean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi


Roman Catholic 54.7%, Protestant 41.1% (includes Congregational 38.5%, Baptist 1.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 0.8%, Assembly of God 0.7%), Mormon 1.5%, other 1.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)

Median age

24total: 24.7 years
male: 24 years
female: 25.3 years (2016 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.81% (male 16,401/female 15,863)
15-24 years: 19.8% (male 10,406/female 10,326)
25-54 years: 38.8% (male 19,667/female 20,966)
55-64 years: 6.87% (male 3,532/female 3,659)
65 years and over: 3.72% (male 1,753/female 2,146) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 62.4%
youth dependency ratio: 55.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 7.1%
potential support ratio: 14.1% (2015 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.49% (2016 est.)

Death rate

4.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-20.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 22.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PALIKIR (capital) 7,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

100 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.9 years
male: 70.8 years
female: 75 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.45 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

13.7% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source

urban: 94.8% of population
rural: 87.4% of population
total: 89% of population
urban: 5.2% of population
rural: 12.6% of population
total: 11% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 85.1% of population
rural: 49% of population
total: 57.1% of population
urban: 14.9% of population
rural: 51% of population
total: 42.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Major infectious diseases

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

33.2% (2014)

Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: Federated States of Micronesia
conventional short form: none
local long form: Federated States of Micronesia
local short form: none
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Ponape, Truk, and Yap Districts
abbreviation: FSM
etymology: the term "Micronesia" is a 19th-century construct of two Greek words, "micro" (small) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean

Government type

federal republic in free association with the US


name: Palikir
geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 09 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

4 states; Chuuk (Truk), Kosrae (Kosaie), Pohnpei (Ponape), Yap


3 November 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 10 May (1979); Independence Day, 3 November (1986)


drafted June 1975, ratified 1 October 1978, entered into force 10 May 1979; amended 1990; note - in 2001, all 26 amendments proposed by the FSM constitutional convention were defeated in a national referendum (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of common and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of FSM
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Peter M. CHRISTIAN (since 12 May 2015); Vice President Yosiwo P. GEORGE (since 12 May 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Peter M. CHRISTIAN (since 12 May 2015); Vice President Yosiwo P. GEORGE (since 12 May 2015)
cabinet: Cabinet includes the vice president and the heads of the 8 executive departments
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by Congress from among the 4 'at large' senators for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 May 2011 (next to be held in May 2015)
election results: Peter M. CHRISTIAN elected president by Congress; Yosiwo P. GEORGE elected vice president

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Congress (14 seats; 10 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 2-year terms and 4 directly elected from each of the 4 states by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 March 2013 (next to be held in March 2015)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 14

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and not more than 5 associate justices and organized into appellate and criminal divisions)
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president of the Federated States of Micronesia with the approval of two-thirds of Congress; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: the highest state-level courts are: Chuuk Supreme Court; Korsae State Court; Pohnpei State Court; Yap State Court

Political parties and leaders

no formal parties

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ad interim James A. NAICH
chancery: 1725 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4383
FAX: [1] (202) 223-4391
consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Tamuning (Guam)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dorothea-Maria (Doria) ROSEN (since 9 August 2012)
embassy: 101 Upper Pics Road, Kolonia
mailing address: P. O. Box 1286, Kolonia, Pohnpei, 96941; U.S. Embassy in Micronesia, 4120 Kolonia Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-4120
telephone: [691] 320-2187
FAX: [691] 320-2186

Flag description

light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pattern; blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, the stars represent the four island groups of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap

National symbol(s)

four, five-pointed, white stars on a light blue field; national colors: light blue, white

National anthem

name: "Patriots of Micronesia"
lyrics/music: unknown
note: adopted 1991; also known as "Across All Micronesia"; the music is based on the 1820 German patriotic song "Ich hab mich ergeben", which was the West German national anthem from 1949-1950; variants of this tune are used in Johannes Brahms' "Festival Overture" and Gustav Mahler's "Third Symphony"


Population below poverty line

26.7% (2000 est.)

Economy - overview

Economic activity consists largely of subsistence farming and fishing, and government, which employs two-thirds of the adult working population and receives funding largely - 58% in 2013 – from Compact of Free Association assistance provided by the US. Th

Under the terms of the original Compact, the US provided $1.3 billion in grants and aid from 1986 to 2001. The US and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) negotiated a second (amended) Compact agreement in 2002-03 that took effect in 2004. The amended

The country's medium-term economic outlook appears fragile because of dependence on US assistance and lackluster performance of its small and stagnant private sector.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$314 million (2016 est.)
$310.7 million (2015 est.)
$311.2 million (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$325 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.1% (2016 est.)
-0.2% (2015 est.)
-3.4% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$3,000 (2016 est.)
$3,000 (2015 est.)
$3,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 83.5%
government consumption: 41.8%
investment in fixed assets: 24.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 26.6%
imports of goods and services: -76.2% (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 26.3%
industry: 18.9%
services: 54.8% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products

taro, yams, coconuts, bananas, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sakau (kava), Kosraen citrus, betel nuts, black pepper, fish, pigs, chickens


tourism, construction; specialized aquaculture, craft items (shell and wood)

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

37,920 (2010 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 5.2%
services: 93.9%
note: two-thirds of the labor force are government employees (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate

16.2% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index

61.1 (2013 est.)


revenues: $213.8 million
expenditures: $192.1 million (FY12/13 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

65.8% of GDP (FY12/13 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

6.7% of GDP (FY12/13 est.)

Public debt

28% of GDP (2013)
27% of GDP (2012)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.9% (2016 est.)
-1% (2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

7.1% (2013 est.)
6.4% (2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$196 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of broad money

$225.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$56.98 million (2013 est.)
$56.77 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance

$3 million (2015 est.)
$3 million (2015 est.)


$88.3 million (2013 est.)
$95.7 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities

fish, sakau (kava), betel nuts, black pepper


$258.5 million (2013 est.)
$263.4 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities

food, beverages, clothing, computers, household electronics, appliances, manufactured goods, automobiles, machinery and equipment, furniture, tools

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$75.06 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external

$93.6 million (2013 est.)
$93.5 million (2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$15.8 million (2013 est.)
$34.4 million (2012 est.)

Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 42,934
electrification - total population: 59%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)

Electricity - production

192 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - consumption

178.6 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

18,000 kW (2015 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

96% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

1% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2014)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2014)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2014)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2014)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

105 Mt (2010 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 6,808
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 31,400
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (July 2013 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate system
domestic: islands interconnected by shortwave radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes), satellite (Intelsat) ground stations, and some coaxial and fiber-optic cable; mobile-cellular service available on the major islands
international: country code - 691; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

no TV broadcast stations; each state has a multi-channel cable service with TV transmissions carrying roughly 95% imported programming and 5% local programming; about a half-dozen radio stations (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 33,000
percent of population: 31.5% (July 2015 est.)


Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

V6 (2016)


6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)


total: 388 km
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 204 km (2015)

Merchant marine

total: 3
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 2 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Colonia (Tamil Harbor), Lele Harbor, Pohnepi Harbor


Military branches

no regular military forces (2012)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

major consumer of cannabis