Timor Leste

República Democrática de Timor-Leste (Democratic Republic of East Timor)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Dili

  • Population estimate, 2015: 1.19 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 5,363

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.595/133

  • Internet domain extension: .tl

Civil Aviation

There is an international airport at Dili (Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport).


In the north there is an average annual temperature of over 24 °C (75 °F), weak precipitation—below 1,500 mm (59″) annually—and a dry period lasting 5 months. The mountainous zone, between the northern and southern parts of the island, has high precipitation—above 1,500 mm (59″)—and a dry period of 4 months. The southern zone has precipitation reaching 2,000 mm (79″) and is permanently humid. The monsoon season extends from Nov. to May.

Constitution and Government

The constitution promulgated in 2002 created a unicameral system with a National Parliament with a minimum requirement of 52 directly-elected seats and a maximum of 65. For the first term after independence the parliament had 88 members but this was reduced after the June 2007 legislative elections. The President is directly elected for a period of 5 years and may not serve more than two terms.


The official currency is the US dollar.


The Timor-Leste Defence Force comprises an army and a small naval element. In 2013 the army had 1,250 personnel and the naval element around 80. Defence spending totalled US$67 m. in 2013 (US$57 per capita), representing 1.6% of GDP.


In 2010 unemployment was officially 9.8% of the labour force between 15 and 64.


In 2007 there were three daily newspapers: Suara Timor Lorosae, Timor Post and Jornal Nacional Diario. There were also three non-dailies in 2007.


Over 90% of Timor-Leste’s population are Roman Catholic, with Protestants, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists accounting for the remainder.

Social Statistics

2008 estimates: births, 44,000; deaths, 9,500. Rates, 2008 estimates (per 1,000 population): births, 40.0; deaths, 8.7. Annual population growth rate in 2000–08, 3.7%. Fertility rate, 2008, 6.5 children per woman. In 2013 life expectancy at birth was 66.0 years for males and 69.1 years for females. From having the world’s highest rate of infant mortality in the early 1980s, Timor-Leste’s infant mortality rate dropped to 46 per 1,000 live births in 2010, although the figure varies widely between urban and rural areas.


In 2010 there were 2,907 landline telephone subscriptions (2,334 in 2005) and 350,891 mobile phone subscriptions (33,072 in 2005).

Territory and Population

Timor-Leste (East Timor) has a total land area of 14,954 km2 (5,774 sq. miles), consisting of the mainland (13,987 km2), the enclave of Oecussi-Ambeno in West Timor (817 km2), and the islands of Ataúro to the north (140 km2) and Jaco to the east (10 km2). The mainland area incorporates the eastern half of the island of Timor. Oecussi-Ambeno lies westwards, separated from the main portion of Timor-Leste by a distance of some 100 km. The island is bound to the south by the Timor Sea and lies approximately 500 km from the Australian coast. Population at the census of July 2010, 1,066,409 (544,198 males); density, 71 per km2. The largest city is Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital. In 2010 its population was 192,652. In 2011, 28.6% of the population were urban. The ethnic East Timorese form the majority of the population. Timor-Leste’s constitution designates Portuguese and Tetum (an Austronesian language influenced by Portuguese) as the official languages, and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages.


In 2009, 44,131 non-resident tourists—excluding same-day visitors—arrived by air (up from 35,999 in 2008 and 22,254 in 2007).

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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