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Faroe Islands

Background: The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was attained in 1948.
Dependency status: part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948.
Capital: Torshavn
Currency: 1 Danish krone (DKr) = 100 oere

Geography of Faroe Islands

Location: Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the north Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 7 00 W
total: 1,399 sq. km
land: 1,399 sq. km
water: 0 sq. km (some lakes and streams)
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,117 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate: mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
Terrain: rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
Natural resources: fish, whales, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 94% (1996)
Irrigated land: 0 sq. km
Geography – note: archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands.

People of Faroe Islands

Population: 46,962 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  22.62% 
15-64 years:  63.64% 
65 years and over:  13.74%
Population growth rate: 0.78% 
Birth rate: 13.64 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 2.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  78.59 years
male:  75.12 years
female:  82.06 years
Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman 
noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese
Ethnic groups: Scandinavian
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran
Languages: Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

Faroe Islands Economy

Economy – overview: The Faroese economy has had a strong performance since 1994, mostly as a result of increasing fish landings and high and stable export prices. Unemployment is falling and there are signs of labor shortages in several sectors. The positive economic development has helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses which in turn help to reduce the large public debt, most of it owed to Denmark. However, the total dependence on fishing makes the Faroese economy extremely vulnerable, and the present fishing efforts appear in excess of what is required to ensure a sustainable level of fishing in the long term. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate Faroese area, which may eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus less dependence on Denmark and Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $910 million (2000 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 6% (1996 est.), 5% (2000 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $20,000 (2000 est.)
GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture:  27%
industry:  11%
services:  62% (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (1996 est.), 5.1% (1999)
Labor force: 24,250 (October 2000)
Labor force – by occupation: fishing, fish processing, and manufacturing 33%, construction and private services 33%, public services 34%
Unemployment rate: 5% (1998 est.), 1% (October 2000)
revenues:  $488 million
expenditures:  $484 million, including capital expenditures of $21 million (1999)
Industries: fishing, shipbuilding, construction, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1999 est.)
Electricity – production: 170 million kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel:  58.82%
hydro:  41.18%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0% (1999)
Agriculture – products: milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
Exports: $471 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports – commodities: fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships (1999)
Exports – partners: Denmark 31%, United Kingdom 25%, Germany 9%, France 7%, Spain 6%, United States  2% (1996)
Imports: $469 million (c.i.f., 1999)
Imports – commodities: machinery and transport equipment 29%, consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, fuels, fish and salt (1999)
Imports – partners: Denmark 28%, Norway 26%, Germany 7%, UK 6% Sweden 5%, Iceland 4%, US (1999)
Debt – external: $64 million (1999)
Economic aid – recipient: $135 million (annual subsidy from Denmark) (1999)
Currency: Danish krone (DKK)

Map of Faroe Islands