Ripablik blong Vanuatu (Republic of Vanuatu)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Port Vila

  • Population estimate, 2015: 265,000

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 2,803

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.594/134=

  • Internet domain extension: .vu

Civil Aviation

There is an international airport at Bauerfield Port Vila. In 2010 the state-owned Air Vanuatu flew to Auckland, Brisbane, Honiara, Nadi, Nouméa and Sydney as well as providing services between different parts of Vanuatu. In 2012 scheduled airline traffic of Vanuatu-based carriers flew 20.6 m. km; passenger-km totalled 863.8 m. in the same year.


The climate is tropical, but moderated by oceanic influences and by trade winds from May to Oct. High humidity occasionally occurs and cyclones are possible. Rainfall ranges from 90″ (2,250 mm) in the south to 155″ (3,875 mm) in the north. Vila, Jan. 80 °F (26.7 °C), July 72 °F (22.2 °C). Annual rainfall 84″ (2,103 mm).

Constitution and Government

Legislative power resides in a 52-member unicameral Parliament elected for a term of 4 years. The President is elected for a 5 year term by an electoral college comprising Parliament and the presidents of the 11 regional councils. Executive power is vested in a Council of Ministers, responsible to Parliament, and appointed and led by a Prime Minister who is elected from and by Parliament. There is also a Council of Chiefs, comprising traditional tribal leaders, to advise on matters of custom.


The unit of currency is the vatu (VUV) with no minor unit.


Vanuatu does not have an army but there is a Vanuatu Police Force and a paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force.


In 2011 agriculture accounted for 25.2% of GDP, industry 10.7% and services 64.1%.


In 2008 there was one daily newspaper (the Vanuatu Daily Post) with a circulation of 3,000.


In 2010 an estimated 93.3% of the population were Christians (mainly Protestants) and 4.1% folk religionists according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.


There are approximately 1,100 km of largely unpaved roads, mostly on Efate Island and Espiritu Santo. There were around 15,500 vehicles in use in 2008.


In Jan. 2009 there were 57 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 1.41 m. GT. Vanuatu is a ‘flag of convenience’ country. The chief ports are Port Vila and Santo.

Social Statistics

2008 estimates: births, 7,100; deaths, 1,200. Rates, 2008 estimates (per 1,000 population): births, 30.2; deaths, 5.0. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 2.6%. Life expectancy, 2013, was 69.7 years for males and 73.8 years for females. Infant mortality, 2010, 12 per 1,000 live births; fertility rate, 2008, 4.0 births per woman.


In 2012 there were 4,800 main (fixed) telephone lines; active mobile phone subscriptions numbered 146,000 in the same year (590.8 per 1,000 persons). In 2013 an estimated 11.3% of the population were internet users.

Territory and Population

Vanuatu comprises 83 islands (65 of which are inhabited), which lie roughly 800 km west of the Fiji Islands and 400 km northeast of New Caledonia. The estimated land area is 12,190 km2 (4,706 sq. miles). The larger islands of the group are: (Espiritu) Santo, Malekula, Epi, Pentecost, Aoba, Maewo, Paama, Ambrym, Efate, Erromanga, Tanna and Aneityum. They also claim Matthew and Hunter islands. Population at the 2009 census, 234,023 giving a density of 19.2 per km2. In 2009, 75.6% of the population lived in rural areas. Port Vila (the capital) had a 2009 census population of 44,040 and Luganville 13,167. 39% of the population is under 15 years of age, 55% between the ages of 15 and 59 and 6% 60 or over. The national language is Bislama (spoken by 57% of the population): English and French are also official languages; about 30,000 speak French.


In 2011 there were a record 248,898 non-resident visitor arrivals (154,938 by cruise ship and 93,960 by air), up from 237,648 in 2010 and 225,452 in 2009.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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