Population: 44,582 (July 2012 - CIA est.)
Surface Area: 477 sq km
Currency: US dollar (USD)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $12,500 (2000 est.)
Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links with the US. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in 1975, and came into force on 24 March 1976. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.
Economy – Overview:
The economy benefits substantially from financial assistance from the US. The rate of funding has declined as locally generated government revenues have grown. The key tourist industry employs about 50% of the work force and accounts for roughly one-fourth of GDP. Japanese tourists predominate. Annual tourist entries have exceeded one-half million in recent years, but financial difficulties in Japan have caused a temporary slowdown. The agricultural sector is made up of cattle ranches and small farms producing coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons. Garment production is by far the most important industry with the employment of 17,500 mostly Chinese workers and sizable shipments to the US under duty and quota exemptions.
Major Export Commodities: garments
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not ranked
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Receives extensive funding from the US.
Total External Debt: Not available
Life Expectancy at Birth: 77.27 years (CIA)
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated July 2012