- Art Gallery -



Northern Mariana Islands

Northern Mariana Islands (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::Northern Mariana Islands


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.

Geography ::Northern Mariana Islands


Oceania, islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines

Geographic coordinates:
15 12 N, 145 45 E

Map references:



total: 464 sq km country comparison to the world: 195 land: 464 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: consists of 14 islands including Saipan, Rota, and Tinian

Area - comparative:

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km


1,482 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; moderated by northeast trade winds, little seasonal temperature variation; dry season December to June, rainy season July to October


southern islands are limestone with level terraces and fringing coral reefs; northern islands are volcanic

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed elevation on Agrihan 965 m

Natural resources:

arable land, fish

Land use:

arable land: 13.04%

permanent crops: 4.35%

other: 82.61% (2005)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan; typhoons (especially August to November)

Environment - current issues:

contamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development

Geography - note:

strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean

People ::Northern Mariana Islands


48,317 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 209

Age structure:

0-14 years: 26% (male 7,203/female 6,180)

15-64 years: 70.9% (male 16,751/female 19,747)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 784/female 819) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.3 years

male: 29.9 years

female: 29.1 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

-5.567% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 232

Birth rate:

21.05 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 87

Death rate:

3.17 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 220

Net migration rate:

-73.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 221


urban population: 91% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.059 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female

total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 5.89 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 178 male: 6.29 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.9 years country comparison to the world: 65 male: 74.27 years

female: 79.68 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.18 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: NA (US citizens)

adjective: NA

Ethnic groups:

Asian 56.3%, Pacific islander 36.3%, Caucasian 1.8%, other 0.8%, mixed 4.8% (2000 census)


Christian (Roman Catholic majority, although traditional beliefs and taboos may still be found)


Philippine languages 24.4%, Chinese 23.4%, Chamorro 22.4%, English 10.8%, other Pacific island languages 9.5%, other 9.6% (2000 census)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97%

male: 97%

female: 96% (1980 est.)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Northern Mariana Islands

Country name:

conventional long form: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

conventional short form: Northern Mariana Islands

abbreviation: CNMI

former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Mariana Islands District

Dependency status:

commonwealth in political union with the US; federal funds to the Commonwealth administered by the US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs

Government type:

commonwealth; self-governing with locally elected governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature


name: Saipan

geographic coordinates: 15 12 N, 145 45 E

time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

none (commonwealth in political union with the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four municipalities at the second order: Northern Islands, Rota, Saipan, Tinian


none (commonwealth in political union with the US)

National holiday:

Commonwealth Day, 8 January (1978)


Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective 1 January 1978; Covenant Agreement fully effective 4 November 1986

Legal system:

based on US system except for customs, wages, immigration laws, and taxation


18 years of age; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)

head of government: Governor Benigno R. FITIAL (since 9 January 2006); Lieutenant Governor Eloy S. INOS (since 1 May 2009)

cabinet: the cabinet consists of the heads of the 10 principal departments under the executive branch who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; other members include special assistants to the governor and office heads appointed by and reporting directly to the governor (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in the Democratic and Republican party presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 November 2009 (run-off election was held on 23 November 2009)

election results: percent of vote - Benigno R. FITIAL reelected with 51.4% over Heinz HOFSCHNEIDER (48.6%) in the run-off election held on 23 November 2009

Legislative branch:

bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (9 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year staggered terms) and the House of Representatives (20 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 7 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2011); House of Representatives - last held on 7 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2011)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Covenant Party 3, Republican Party 3, Democratic Party 1, independents 2; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 12, Covenant Party 4, Democratic Party 1, independents 3

note: the Northern Mariana Islands elects one nonvoting delegate to the US House of Representatives; election last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012); seats by party - independent 1

Judicial branch:

Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal District Court

Political parties and leaders:

Covenant Party [Benigno R. FITIAL]; Democratic Party [Dr. Carlos S.
CAMACHO]; Republican Party [Juan S. REYES]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

Flag description:

blue, with a white, five-pointed star superimposed on a gray latte stone (the traditional foundation stone used in building) in the center, surrounded by a wreath; blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, the star represents the Commonwealth; the latte stone and the floral head wreath display elements of the native Chamorro culture

National anthem:

name: "Gi Talo Gi Halom Tasi" (In the Middle of the Sea)

lyrics/music: Jose S. PANGELINAN [Chamoru], David PETER [Carolinian]/Wilhelm GANZHORN

note: adopted 1996; the Carolinian version of the song is known as "Satil Matawal Pacifico;" as a commonwealth of the United States, in addition to the local anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)

Economy ::Northern Mariana Islands

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$900 million (2000 est.) country comparison to the world: 203 note: GDP estimate includes US subsidy

GDP (official exchange rate):

$633.4 million (2000)

GDP - real growth rate:

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$12,500 (2000 est.) country comparison to the world: 93

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Labor force:

38,450 total indigenous labor force; 28,717 foreign workers (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 199

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate:

8% (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 88 3.9% (2001)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

-0.8% (2000) country comparison to the world: 8

Agriculture - products:

vegetables and melons, fruits and nuts; ornamental plants; livestock, poultry and eggs, fish and aquaculture products


banking, construction, fishing, garment, tourism, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

60,600 kWh (January 2009) country comparison to the world: 213

Electricity - consumption:

48,300 kWh (January 2009) country comparison to the world: 214

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (January 2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (January 2009 est.)


$98.2 million (2008) country comparison to the world: 193

Exports - commodities:



$214.4 million (2001) country comparison to the world: 199

Imports - commodities:

food, construction equipment and materials, petroleum products

Debt - external:

Exchange rates:

the US dollar is used

Communications ::Northern Mariana Islands

Telephones - main lines in use:

25,100 (2009) country comparison to the world: 184

Telephones - mobile cellular:

20,500 (2004) country comparison to the world: 209

Telephone system:

general assessment: NA

domestic: NA

international: country code - 1-670; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media:

1 TV broadcast station on Saipan; multi-channel cable TV services are available on Saipan; 9 licensed radio broadcast stations (2009)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

9 (2010) country comparison to the world: 223

Transportation ::Northern Mariana Islands


5 (2010) country comparison to the world: 181

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2010)


1 (2010)


total: 536 km (2008) country comparison to the world: 192

Ports and terminals:

Saipan, Tinian, Rota

Military ::Northern Mariana Islands

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 9,359

females age 16-49: 12,385 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 430

female: 346 (2010 est.)

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues ::Northern Mariana Islands

Disputes - international:


Political divisions of the United States

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Federal district : Washington, D.C.
Insular areas : American Samoa | Guam | Northern Mariana Islands |Puerto Rico | U.S. Virgin Islands

Outlying islands : Baker Island | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll |Kingman Reef Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Palmyra Atoll | Wake Island

Indian reservations : List of Indian reservations

Associated states : Micronesia, Federated States of | Marshall Islands | Palau


Hellenica World