Solomon Islands Population: 635,027


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The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, endemic crime, and a narrow economic base have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.

Strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara; the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 S, 159 00 E
Area: total: 28,896 sq km
land: 27,986 sq km
water: 910 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 5,313 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes
Terrain: mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Land use: agricultural land: 3.9% arable land 0.7%; permanent crops 2.9%; permanent pasture 0.3% forest: 78.9%
other: 17.2% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km NA (2012)
Natural hazards: typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis volcanism: Tinakula (elev. 851 m) has frequent eruption activity, while an eruption of Savo (elev. 485 m) could affect the capital Honiara on nearby Guadalcanal
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander
Ethnic groups: Melanesian 95.3%, Polynesian 3.1%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 0.3% (2009 est.)
Languages: Melanesian pidgin (in much of the country is lingua franca), English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population), 120 indigenous languages
Religions: Protestant 73.4% (Church of Melanesia 31.9%, South Sea Evangelical 17.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 11.7%, United Church 10.1%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.5%), Roman Catholic 19.6%, other Christian 2.9%, other 4%, none 0.03%, unspecified 0.1% (2009 est.)
Population: 635,027 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.13% (male 114,871/female 108,229)
15-24 years: 20.01% (male 65,349/female 61,702)
25-54 years: 36.12% (male 116,795/female 112,564)
55-64 years: 4.55% (male 14,565/female 14,302)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 12,701/female 13,949) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 75.1%
youth dependency ratio: 69.1%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%
potential support ratio: 16.8% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 22.2 years
male: 22 years
female: 22.4 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.98% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 25.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 3.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 22.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.25% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: HONIARA (capital) 73,000 (2014)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 21.6 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2006/07 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 114 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 17.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.3 years male: 72.7 years
female: 78.1 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.22 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 34.6% (2006/07)
Health expenditures: 5.1% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density: 1.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 93.2% of population
rural: 77.2% of population
total: 80.8% of population

urban: 6.8% of population
rural: 22.8% of population
total: 19.2% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 81.4% of population
rural: 15% of population
total: 29.8% of population

urban: 18.6% of population
rural: 85% of population
total: 70.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 25% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 11.5% (2007)
Education expenditures: 10% of GDP (2010)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.1%
male: 88.9%
female: 79.2% (2009 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2007)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands
etymology: Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA named the isles in 1568 after the wealthy biblical King SOLOMON in the mistaken belief that the islands contained great riches
Government type: parliamentary democracy (National Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Capital: name: Honiara
geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces and 1 city*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira and Ulawa, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western
Independence: 7 July 1978 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
Constitution: adopted 31 May 1978, effective 7 July 1978; new constitution drafted in 2014 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Frank KABUI (since 7 July 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE (since 9 December 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the National Parliament for up to 5 years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by the National Parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Parliament

election results: Manasseh SOGAVARE (independent) elected prime minister; National Parliament vote - 31 to 19
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 19 November 2014 (next to be held in 2018)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 32, DAP 7, UDP 5, PAP 3, KPSI 1, SIPFP 1, SIPRA 1
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, and ex officio members to include the High Court chief justice and its puisne judges); High Court (consists of the chief justice and puisne judges as prescribed by the National Parliament) judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court president, chief justices, and puisne judges appointed by the governor-general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, chaired by the chief justice to include 5 members, mostly judicial officials and legal professionals; all judges appointed until retirement at age 60

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts; Customary Land Appeal Court; local courts
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Steve ABANA] Kadere Party of Solomon Islands or KPSI [Alfred LEGUA] People's Alliance Party or PAP [Nathaniel WAENA] Solomon Islands People First Party or SIPFP [Jimmie RODGERS] Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Manasseh MAELANGA] United Democratic Party [Thomas Ko CHAN] note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
Political pressure groups and leaders: Isatabu Freedom Movement or IFM Malaita Eagle Force or MEF note: these rival armed ethnic factions crippled the Solomon Islands in a wave of violence from 1999 to 2003
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, EITI (candidate country), ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): national colors: blue, yellow, green, white
National anthem: name: "God Save Our Solomon Islands"
lyrics/music: Panapasa BALEKANA and Matila BALEKANA/Panapasa BALEKANA

note: adopted 1978
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Collin David BECK (since 31 March 2004)
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400L, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192, 6193
FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in the Solomon Islands; the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands
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The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Prior to the arrival of The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), severe ethnic violence, the closure of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.198 billion (2016 est.) $1.163 billion (2015 est.) $1.127 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $1.218 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2016 est.) 3.3% (2015 est.) 2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,000 (2016 est.) $2,000 (2015 est.) $2,000 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 18.7% of GDP (2016 est.) 17.1% of GDP (2015 est.) 14.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, fruit; cattle, pigs; fish; timber
Industries: fish (tuna), mining, timber
Industrial production growth rate: 3.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 202,500 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 75%
industry: 5%
services: 20% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $421.6 million
expenditures: $458.8 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 34.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.4% (2016 est.) -0.6% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$54 million (2016 est.) -$30 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $419.9 million (2015 est.) $419.9 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports - partners: China 61.7%, India 5.9%, Italy 5.9% (2015)
Imports: $425.7 million (2015 est.) $425.7 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners: Australia 24.7%, China 18.4%, Malaysia 6.3%, Singapore 5.8%, Fiji 4.7%, NZ 4.6%, Papua New Guinea 4.6% (2015)
Debt - external: $491.5 million (31 December 2013 est.) $187.3 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $545.6 million (31 December 2016 est.) $522.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $50.1 million (31 December 2016 est.) $50.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rates: Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar - 8.064 (2016 est.) 7.9147 (2015 est.) 7.9147 (2014 est.) 7.3754 (2013 est.) 7.36 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 85 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 79.05 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 37,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 1,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 1,554 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 300,000 Mt (2013 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 425,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 68 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system:

domestic: mobile-cellular telephone density is about 65 per 100 persons

international: country code - 677; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
Broadcast media: Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) is the sole TV broadcaster with 1 station; multi-channel pay-TV is available; SIBC operates 2 national radio stations and 2 provincial stations; 2 local commercial radio stations; Radio Australia is availabl (2009)
Internet country code: .sb
Internet users: total: 62,000 percent of population: 10% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 36 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 35

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 24 (2013)
Heliports: 3 (2013)
Roadways: total 1,390 km
paved: 34 km
unpaved: 1,356 km

note: includes 920 km of private plantation roads (2011)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor, Tulaghi
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Military branches: no regular military forces; Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (2013)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: since 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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