Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas

Region: Oceania

Capital: Saipan

Population: 51,483 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface Area: 464 sq km

Currency: US dollar (USD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $13,600 (2010 CIA est.)

Background:
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 Northern Mariana Islands’ economy benefits substantially from financial assistance from the US. The tourist industry employs approximately a quarter of the work force and accounts for roughly one-fourth of GDP. As a share of total arrivals, the number of Japanese tourists has dropped recently to less than half, while Korean visitors account for roughly one-third. Annual tourist arrivals have remained below 400,000 since 2007. Other services such as trade are also important to the local economy. The small agriculture sector is made up of cattle ranches and small farms producing coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons. (CIA 2014)

Major Export Commodities: garments

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2013 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: 77.64 years (CIA 2014)

Sources:
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 2013. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated January 2015