Cook Islands Population: 9,038

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The Cook Islands, named after Captain James Cook who landed in 1773, became a British protectorate in 1888 and was later annexed by proclamation in 1900. The Cook Islands was first included within the boundaries of New Zealand in 1901, and in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The Cook Islands’ economy relies on tourism, fisheries, and foreign aid. More recently a growing offshore financial sector exposed the country to vulnerabilities which the government has addressed with legislation and regulations for the oversight of all banks and financial institutions, and with enforcement measures. The Cook Islands continues to face challenges with the emigration of skilled workers, government deficits, inadequate infrastructure, and natural resource depletion. The Cook Islands is expected to graduate to the high-income threshold set by the World Bank, which will limit the country’s access to Official Development Assistance under OECD guidelines.

    The northern Cook Islands are seven low-lying, sparsely populated, coral atolls; the southern Cook Islands, where most of the population lives, consist of eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles, including the largest, Rarotonga, at 67 sq km
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 21 14 S, 159 46 W
Area: total: 236 sq km
land: 236 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: 1.3 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 120 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical oceanic; moderated by trade winds; a dry season from April to November and a more humid season from December to March
Terrain: low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
Natural resources: coconuts (copra)
Land use: agricultural land: 8.4% (2011 est.) arable land: 4.2% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 4.2% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.) forest: 64.6% (2011 est.)
other: 27% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: n/a
Natural hazards: tropical cyclones (November to March)
Current Environment Issues: limited land presents solid and liquid waste disposal problems; soil destruction and deforestation; environmental degradation due to indiscriminant use of pesticides; improper disposal of pollutants; overfishing and destructive fishing practices; over dredging of lagoons and coral rubble beds; unregulated building
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
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Nationality: noun: Cook Islander(s)
adjective: Cook Islander
Ethnic groups: Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 81.3%, part Cook Island Maori 6.7%, other 11.9% (2011 est.)
Languages: English (official) 86.4%, Cook Islands Maori (Rarotongan) (official) 76.2%, other 8.3% (2011 est.) note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census
Religions: Protestant 62.8% (Cook Islands Christian Church 49.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 7.9%, Assemblies of God 3.7%, Apostolic Church 2.1%), Roman Catholic 17%, Mormon 4.4%, other 8%, none 5.6%, no response 2.2% (2011 est.)
Population: 9,038 (July 2017 est.) (July 2018 est.) note: the Cook Islands' Ministry of Finance & Economic Management estimated the resident population to have been 11,700 in September 2016
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.68% (male 987 /female 882)
15-24 years: 15.99% (male 774 /female 671)
25-54 years: 38.06% (male 1,710 /female 1,730)
55-64 years: 12.72% (male 627 /female 523)
65 years and over: 12.55% (male 558 /female 576) (2018 est.)
Median age: total: 37.2 years
male: 36.7 years
female: 37.6 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: -2.72% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 13.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 8.6 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -32.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 75.1% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 0.37% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.2 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 12.6 deaths/1,000 live births male: 15.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.2 years male: 73.4 years
female: 79.2 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.16 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Physicians density: 1.42 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.9% of population
total: 99.9% of population

urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.1% of population
total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)
total: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 55.9% (2016)
Education expenditures: 4.7% of GDP (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 15 years male: 15 years female: 16 years (2015)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Hervey Islands
etymology: named after Captain James COOK, the British explorer who visited the islands in 1773 and 1777
Government type: self-governing parliamentary democracy (Parliament of the Cook Islands) in free association with New Zealand
Capital: name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: translates as "two harbors" in Maori
Administrative divisions: none
Independence: none (became self-governing in free association with New Zealand on 4 August 1965 and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action)
National holiday: Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
Constitution: history: 4 August 1965 (Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964) amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Parliament membership in each of several readings and assent to by the chief of state’s representative; passage of amendments relating to the chief of state also requires two-thirds majority approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2004 (2019)
Legal system: common law similar to New Zealand common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Tom J. MARSTERS (since 9 August 2013); New Zealand High Commissioner Peter MARSHALL (since 10 January 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister Henry PUNA (since 30 November 2010)

cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; UK representative appointed by the monarch; New Zealand high commissioner appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament, formerly the Legislative Assembly (24 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the House of Ariki, a 24-member parliamentary body of traditional leaders appointed by the Queen's representative serves as a consultative body to the Parliament

elections: last held on 14 June 2018 (next to be held by 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Demo 11, CIP 10, One Cook Islands Movement 1, independent 2; composition - men 15, women 9, percent of women 37.5%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges of the High Court); High Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 4 judges and organized into civil, criminal, and land divisions); note - appeals beyond the Cook Islands Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) judge selection and term of office: High Court chief justice appointed by the Queen's Representative on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the prime minister; other judges appointed by the Queen's Representative, on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the chief justice, High Court chief justice, and the minister of justice; chief justice and judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms

subordinate courts: justices of the peace
Political parties and leaders: Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA] Democratic Party or Demo [Tina BROWNE] One Cook Islands Movement [Teina BISHOP]
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMO, IMSO, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
National symbol(s): a circle of 15, five-pointed, white stars on a blue field, Tiare maori (Gardenia taitensis) flower;
national colors: green, white
National anthem: name: "Te Atua Mou E" (To God Almighty)
lyrics/music: Tepaeru Te RITO/Thomas DAVIS

note: adopted 1982; as prime minister, Sir Thomas DAVIS composed the anthem; his wife, a tribal chief, wrote the lyrics
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
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Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country became overextended, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth. The government is targeting fisheries and seabed mining as sectors for future economic growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $299.9 million (2016 est.) $183.2 million (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $299.9 million (2016 est.) (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $16,700 (2016 est.) $9,100 (2005 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 5.1% (2010 est.) industry: 12.7% (2010 est.) services: 82.1% (2010 est.)
Agriculture - products: copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
Industries: fishing, fruit processing, tourism, clothing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 1% (2002)
Labor force: 6,820 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 29%
industry: 15%
services: 56% (1995)
Unemployment rate: 13.1% (2005)
Population below poverty line: n/a
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 86.9 million (2010)
expenditures: 77.9 million (2010)
Taxes and other revenues: 29% (of GDP) (2010 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): 3% (of GDP) (2010 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: $26.67 million (2005)
Exports: $3.125 million (2011 est.) $5.163 million (2010 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish; copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
Imports: $109.3 million (2011 est.) $90.62 million (2010 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
Debt - external: $141 million (1996 est.)
Exchange rates: NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.416 (2017 est.) 1.4341 (2016 est.) 1.4341 (2015 est.) 1.441 (2014 est.) 1.4279 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 34 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 31.62 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 14,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 79% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 21% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 600 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 611 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 88,810 Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 11,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 105 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: Telecom Cook Islands offers international direct dialing, Internet, email, and fax; individual islands are connected by a combination of satellite earth stations, microwave systems, and VHF and HF radiotelephone (2018)

domestic: service is provided by small exchanges connected to subscribers by open-wire, cable, and fiber-optic cable; 75 per 100 fixed-line, 105 per 100 mobile-cellular (2018)

international: country code - 682; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); the topography of the South Pacific region has made Internet connectivity a serious issue for many of the remote islands; submarine fiber-optic networks are expensive to build and maintain, with capital costs prohibitive for the smaller island communities; some countries have to rely solely on geostationary satellites; as a result, bandwidth is limited and broadband prices are expensive; in October 2017 a fire at Aroa broadcast station temporarily disrupted all mobile network and satellite connectivity (2018)
Broadcast media: 1 privately owned TV station broadcasts from Rarotonga providing a mix of local news and overseas-sourced programs (2019)
Internet country code: .ck
Internet users: total: 5,160
percent of population: 54% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 11 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Roadways: total 295 km
(2018) paved: 207 km (2018)
unpaved: 88 km (2018)
Merchant marine: total 215

by type: bulk carrier 23, container ship 5, general cargo 91, oil tanker 25, other 71 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Avatiu
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Defense is the responsibility of New Zealand in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request
Military branches: no regular military forces; National Police Department
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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