Vanuatu Travel Information

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Facts About Vanuatu

Background: The British and French who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980.
Government type: republic
Capital: Port-Vila
Currency: 1 vatu (VT) = 100 centimes

Geography of Vanuatu

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 S, 167 00 E
total: 14,760 sq km
land: 14,760 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes more than 80 islands
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 2,528 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds
Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 10%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 75%
other: 11% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes
Environment - current issues: a majority of the population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: a Y-shaped chain of some 80 islands, 70 of which are inhabited; several of the islands have active volcanoes.

People of Vanuatu

The population of Vanuatu is 94% indigenous Melanesian. About 30,000 live in the capital, Port Vila. Another 9,600 live in Luganville (or Santo Town) on Espiritu Santo. The remainder live in rural areas. Approximately 2,000 ni-Vanuatu live and work in New Caledonia. Although local pidgin, called Bislama, is the national language, English and French also are official languages. Indigenous Melanesians speak 105 local languages.

Christianity has had a profound influence on ni-Vanuatu society, and an estimated 90% of the population is affiliated with a Christian denomination. The largest denominations are Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Anglican. John Frum, a syncretic sect, also is important on Tanna Island.

Population: 205,754 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% 
15-64 years: 60%
65 years and over: 3%  
Population growth rate: 1.74% 
Birth rate: 25.93 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 8.52 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 62.52 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.57 years
male: 59.23 years
female: 61.98 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.29 children born/woman 
noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)
adjective: Ni-Vanuatu
Ethnic groups: indigenous Melanesian 94%, French 4%, Vietnamese, Chinese, Pacific Islanders
Religions: Presbyterian 36.7%, Anglican 15%, Roman Catholic 15%, indigenous beliefs 7.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, Church of Christ 3.8%, other 15.7%
Languages: English (official), French (official), pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 53%
male: 57%
female: 48% (1979 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Vanuatu > Map Economy History