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:
Location: 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
People:
Population: 51,395 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  26% (male 6,349/female 5,625)

15-64 years: 70.4% (male 15,014/female 17,397)

65 years and over: 3.6% (male 790/female 875) (2011 est.)

Government:
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
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 25,500 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 20,500 (2004)
Transportation:
Airports: 5 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Defence is the responsibility of the US

Economy:

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.