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Faroe Islands

Map of Faroe Islands
Introduction Top
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.
 
 
Geography Top
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
 
 
Map references: Europe
 
 
Area: total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
 
 
Area - comparative: eight times the size of Washington, DC
 
 
Land boundaries: 0 km
 
 
Coastline: 1,117 km
 
 
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
 
 
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, possible oil and gas
 
 
Land use: arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2001)
 
 
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998 est.)
 
 
Natural hazards: NA
 
 
Environment - current issues: NA
 
 
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 Top
Population: 46,962 (July 2005 est.)
 
 
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.3% (male 4,997/female 4,999)
15-64 years: 64.9% (male 16,120/female 14,360)
65 years and over: 13.8% (male 2,923/female 3,563) (2005 est.)
 
 
Median age: total: 35.11 years
male: 34.64 years
female: 35.68 years (2005 est.)
 
 
Population growth rate: 0.62% (2005 est.)
 
 
Birth rate: 13.97 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
 
 
Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
 
 
Net migration rate: 0.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
 
 
Sex ratio: at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
 
 
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.24 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
 
 
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.21 years
male: 75.77 years
female: 82.67 years (2005 est.)
 
 
Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (2005 est.)
 
 
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA%
 
 
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
 
 
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
 
 
Nationality: noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese
 
 
Ethnic groups: Scandinavian
 
 
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran
 
 
Languages: Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
 
 
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
note: probably the same as Denmark proper
 
 
Government Top
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Foroyar
 
 
Government type: NA
 
 
Capital: Torshavn
 
 
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 49 municipalities
 
 
Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
 
 
National holiday: Olaifest (Olavasoka), 29 July
 
 
Constitution: 5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)
 
 
Legal system: Danish
 
 
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
 
 
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 Joannes EIDESGAARD (since 3 February 2004)
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 20 January 2004 (next to be held no later than January 2008)
election results: Joannes EIDESGAARD elected prime minister; percent of parliamentary vote - NA%
note: coalition of Social Democrats, Union Party, and People's Party
 
 
Legislative branch: unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 January 2004 (next to be held no later than January 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 23.7%, Social Democrats 21.8%, Republican Party 21.7%, People's Party 20.6%, Center Party 5.2%, Independence Party 4.6%; seats by party - Union Party 7, Social Democrats 7, Republican Party 8, People's Party 7, Center Party 2, Independence Party 1
note: election of 2 seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 8 February 2005 (next to be held February 2009); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, People's Party 1
 
 
Judicial branch: none
 
 
Political parties and leaders: Center Party [Jenis A. RANA]; Independence Party [Kari P. HOJGAARD]; People's Party [Anfinn KALLSBERG]; Republican Party [Hogni HOYDAL]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Kaj Oeo JOHANNESEN]
 
 
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
 
 
International organization participation: IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UPU
 
 
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)
 
 
Economy Top
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 minimal 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 has helped 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 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 lessen dependence on 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 - $1 billion (2001 est.)
 
 
GDP - real growth rate: 10% (2001 est.)
 
 
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $22,000 (2001 est.)
 
 
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 27%
industry: 11%
services: 62% (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: 1% (October 2000)
 
 
Population below poverty line: NA%
 
 
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
 
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.1% (1999)
 
 
Budget: revenues: $488 million
expenditures: $484 million, including capital expenditures of $21 million (1999)
 
 
Agriculture - products: milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
 
 
Industries: fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
 
 
Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1999 est.)
 
 
Electricity - production: 220 million kWh (2002)
 
 
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 62.4%
hydro: 37.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
 
 
Electricity - consumption: 204.6 million kWh (2002)
 
 
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2002)
 
 
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2002)
 
 
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
 
 
Oil - consumption: 4,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
 
 
Oil - exports: NA
 
 
Oil - imports: NA
 
 
Exports: $408 million f.o.b. (2002)
 
 
Exports - commodities: fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships (1999)
 
 
Exports - partners: Denmark 38.6%, UK 29.4%, Norway 8.2%, Nigeria 6.1% (2004)
 
 
Imports: $466 million c.i.f. (2002)
 
 
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 29%, consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, fuels, fish and salt (1999)
 
 
Imports - partners: Denmark 59.1%, Norway 18.8%, Iceland 4.6% (2004)
 
 
Debt - external: $64 million (1999)
 
 
Currency (code): Danish krone (DKK)
 
 
Currency code: DKK
 
 
Exchange rates: Danish kroner per US dollar - 5.9911 (2004), 6.5877 (2003), 7.8947 (2002), 8.3228 (2001), 8.0831 (2000)
 
 
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
 
Communications Top
Telephones - main lines in use: 23,000 (2002)
 
 
Telephones - mobile cellular: 30,700 (2002)
 
 
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
 
 
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
 
 
Radios: 26,000 (1997)
 
 
Television broadcast stations: 3 (plus 43 low-power repeaters) (September 1995)
 
 
Televisions: 15,000 (1997)
 
 
Internet country code: .fo
 
 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
 
 
Internet users: 25,000 (2002)
 
 
Transportation Top
Highways: total: 463 km
paved: 454 km
unpaved: 9 km (1999)
 
 
Ports and harbors: Torshavn
 
 
Merchant marine: total: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 24,051 GRT/11,998 DWT
by type: cargo 6, container 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 8 (Denmark 2, Germany 1, Iceland 2, Norway 2, United Kingdom 1) (2005)
 
 
Airports: 1 (2004 est.)
 
 
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2004 est.)
 
 
Military Top
Military branches: no regular military forces
 
 
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA
 
 
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA
 
 
Military note: defense is the responsibility of Denmark
 
 
Transnational Issues Top
Disputes - international: because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland disputes the Faroe Islands' fisheries median line boundary; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
 

 

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