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  Introduction Back To Top

Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
12 30 N, 69 58 W

Natural resources:
NEGL; white sandy beaches

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m

flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Geography - note:
a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)

total: 193 sq km
land: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

68.5 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
0.01 sq km (1998 est.)

Environment - current issues:

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm

Natural hazards:
hurricanes; lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened

Land use:
arable land: 10.53%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.47% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.85 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.06 years
male: 72.03 years
female: 78.14 years (2008 est.)

definition: NA
total population: 97.3%
male: 97.5%
female: 97.1% (2000 census)

Net migration rate:
9.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%, other 20%

Median age:
total: 37.6 years
male: 35.8 years
female: 39.3 years (2008 est.)

note: estimate based on a revision of the base population, fertility, and mortality numbers, as well as a revision of 1985-1999 migration estimates from outmigration to inmigration, which is assumed to continue into the future; the new results are consistent with the 2000 census (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.8% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
1.501% (2008 est.)

Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 66.3%, Spanish 12.6%, English (widely spoken) 7.7%, Dutch (official) 5.8%, other 2.2%, unspecified or unknown 5.3% (2000 census)

Death rate:
7.65 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 14.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.4% (male 9,933/female 9,747)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 34,123/female 37,228)
65 years and over: 10.4% (male 4,189/female 6,321) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
12.81 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 80.8%, Protestant 9%, other (includes Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish) 5.6%, none or unspecified 4.6%

noun: Aruban(s)
adjective: Aruban; Dutch

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Aruba; the Consul General to Netherlands Antilles is accredited to Aruba

National holiday:
Flag Day, 18 March (1976)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: environmental groups

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - Mr. Henry BAARH, Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Dependency status:
member country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs

International organization participation:
Caricom (observer), ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WFTU, WMO

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 23 September 2005 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - MEP 43%, AVP 32%, MPA 7%, RED 7%, PDR 6%, OLA 4%, PPA 2%; seats by party - MEP 11, AVP 8, MPA 1, RED 1

Legal system:
based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence

Flag description:
blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Aruba

Political parties and leaders:
Aliansa/Aruban Social Movement or MSA [Robert WEVER]; Aruban Liberal Organization or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Movement or MPA [Monica ARENDS-KOCK]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Mike EMAN]; People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson O. ODUBER]; Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]; RED [Rudy LAMPE]; Workers Political Platform or PTT [Gregorio WOLFF]

name: Oranjestad
geographic coordinates: 12 31 N, 70 02 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

1 January 1986

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Nelson O. ODUBER (since 30 October 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held in 2005 (next to be held by 2009)
election results: Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA

Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Judicial branch:
Common Court of Justice of Aruba (judges are appointed by the monarch)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Panama 29.7%, Colombia 17%, Netherlands Antilles 13.2%, US 11.3%, Venezuela 10.9%, Netherlands 9.2% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
744 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$478.6 million (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:
6.9% (2005 est.)

Oil - exports:
233,300 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$21,800 (2004 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.348 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.258 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.258 billion (2005 est.)

Exchange rates:
Aruban guilders/florins (AWG) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.79 (2006), 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.4% (2005 est.)

Stock of money:
$640.9 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
41,500 (2004 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 54.6%, Netherlands 12%, UK 4.7% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2005)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 33.3%
services: 66.3% (2002 est.)

Oil - imports:
238,200 bbl/day (2005)

$124 million f.o.b.; note - includes oil reexports (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)

Economy - overview:
Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba, with 75% of those from the US. Construction continues to boom, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the country's oil refinery reopened in 1993, providing a major source of employment, foreign exchange earnings, and growth. Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The island experiences only a brief low season, and hotel occupancy in 2004 averaged 80%, compared to 68% throughout the rest of the Caribbean. The government has made cutting the budget and trade deficits a high priority.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs

tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
11.01% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$792.9 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
800 million kWh (2006 est.)

$1.054 billion f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
note: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants; oil refining

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006)

Oil - consumption:
7,102 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
46.3% of GDP (2005)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment

Economic aid - recipient:
$11.3 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $507.9 million
expenditures: $577.9 million (2005 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
2,356 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
24,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
38,700 (2006)

20,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2004)

50,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
105,700 (2006)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: modern fully automatic telecommunications system
domestic: increased competition through privatization; 3 wireless service providers are now licensed
international: country code - 297; landing site for the PAN-AM submarine telecommunications cable system that extends from the US Virgin Islands through Aruba to Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and the west coast of South America; extensive interisland microwave radio relay links (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

Internet hosts:
17,661 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 24,585
females age 16-49: 25,742 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 20,173
females age 16-49: 21,062 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; the Netherlands maintains a detachment of marines, a frigate, and an amphibious combat detachment in the neighboring Netherlands Antilles (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 705
female: 719 (2008 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs:
transit point for US- and Europe-bound narcotics with some accompanying money-laundering activity; relatively high percentage of population consumes cocaine

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