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  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Marine Dumping -associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution

mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
62 00 N, 7 00 W

Natural resources:
fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m

rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast

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

total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)

Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Iceland and Norway

1,117 km

Area - comparative:
eight times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
0 sq km

Environment - current issues:

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line

Natural hazards:

Land use:
arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2005)

  People Back To Top

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

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.29 years
male: 76.86 years
female: 81.89 years (2008 est.)

NA; note - probably 99%, the same as Denmark proper

Net migration rate:
-0.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:

Median age:
total: 36.7 years
male: 36 years
female: 37.5 years (2008 est.)

48,668 (July 2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.376% (2008 est.)

Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

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

Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.46 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.69 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.9% (male 5,489/female 5,166)
15-64 years: 64% (male 16,650/female 14,482)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 3,233/female 3,648) (2008 est.)

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

Evangelical Lutheran 83.8%, other and unspecified 16.2% (2006 administrative data)

noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

National holiday:
Olaifest (Olavasoka), 29 July

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Sea Shepard [Paul WATSON] (preservation of small whales)
other: conservationists

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Dependency status:
part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948

International organization participation:
Arctic Council, FAO, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UPU

Legislative branch:
unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 19 January 2008 (next to be held no later than January 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 21%, Social Democratic Party 19.4%, Republican Party 23.3%, People's Party 20.1%, Center Party 8.4%, Self-Government Party 7.2%, other 0.6%; seats by party - Republican Party 8, Union Party 7, Social Democratic Party 6, People's Party 7, Center Party 3, Independence Party 2
note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 13 November 2007 (next to be held no later than November 2011); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, Union Party 1

Legal system:
the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply

Flag description:
white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)

none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Foroyar

Political parties and leaders:
Center Party [Jenis A. RANA]; Independence Party [Kari P. HOJGAARD]; People's Party [Jorgen NICLASEN]; Republican Party [Hogni HOYDAL]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]

name: Torshavn
geographic coordinates: 62 01 N, 6 46 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Birgit KLEIS, chief administrative officer (since 1 November 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN (since 26 September 2008)
cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held 19 January 2008 (next to be held no later than January 2012)
election results: Joannes EIDESGAARD elected prime minister; governing coalition collapses in September 2008, Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN becomes Prime Minister

Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities

Judicial branch:

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Denmark 29.6%, UK 24.5%, Norway 13.3%, Nigeria 10.5%, Netherlands 6.8% (2007)

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

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$64 million (1999)

Unemployment rate:
1.4% (2007)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$31,000 (2001 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1 billion (2001 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.7 billion (2005 est.)

Exchange rates:
Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar - 5.0236 (2008 est.), 5.4797 (2007), 5.9468 (2006), 5.9969 (2005), 5.9911 (2004)

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

Labor force:
24,250 (October 2000)

Imports - partners:
Denmark 51.9%, Norway 21.6%, Sweden 5%, UK 4.6% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2005)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 27%
industry: 11%
services: 62% (1999)

Oil - imports:
4,636 bbl/day (2005)

$634 million f.o.b. (2006)

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

Currency (code):
Danish krone (DKK)

Economy - overview:
The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price swings. The sector accounts for 95% of exports and nearly half of GDP. Since 2003 the Faroese economy has picked up as a result of higher prices for fish and for housing. Unemployment is minimal and government finances are relatively sound. Oil finds close to the Islands give hope for economically recoverable deposits, which could eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (about 15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.

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

Imports - commodities:
consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, machinery and transport equipment 29%, fuels, fish, salt (1999)

fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

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

$751 million c.i.f. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 11.2%
industry: 21.9%
services: 66.9% (2007)

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

Oil - consumption:
4,628 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:

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

Exports - commodities:
fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships (1999)

Economic aid - recipient:
$105 million; note - annual subsidy from Denmark (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 62.4%
hydro: 37.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

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

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

revenues: $588 million
expenditures: $623 million (2005)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
34,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
23,000 (2006)

15,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)

26,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
50,000 (2006)

Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus 43 repeaters) (September 1995)

Telephone system:
general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
domestic: digitalization was completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
international: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
8,516 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Torshavn, Vagur

Merchant marine:
total: 12
by type: cargo 9, passenger/cargo 3
foreign-owned: 5 (Iceland 1, Norway 4) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

total: 463 km (2006)

1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 11,725 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Denmark

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 9,735 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 400
female: 387 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

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