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Flag of Aruba
Map of Aruba
Introduction Aruba
Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
Geography Aruba
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
12 30 N, 69 58 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 193 sq km
land: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
68.5 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation
flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m
Natural resources:
NEGL; white sandy beaches
Land use:
arable land: 10.53%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.47% (2005)
Irrigated land:
0.01 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
People Aruba
71,891 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.5% (male 7,175/female 6,849)
15-64 years: 68.2% (male 23,894/female 25,140)
65 years and over: 12.3% (male 3,616/female 5,217) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.5 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 40.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.44% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
11.03 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
6.68 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.79 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.28 years
male: 75.95 years
female: 82.78 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Aruban(s)
adjective: Aruban; Dutch
Ethnic groups:
mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%
Roman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish
Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish
definition: NA
total population: 97%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Aruba
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Aruba
Dependency status:
member country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
name: Oranjestad
geographic coordinates: 12 33 N, 70 06 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holiday:
Flag Day, 18 March
1 January 1986
Legal system:
based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Nelson O. ODUBER (since 30 October 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held 2005 (next to be held by 2009)
election results: Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 23 September 2005 (next to be held by in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - MEP 43%, AVP 32%, MPA 7%, RED 7%, PDR 6%, OLA 4%, PPA 2%; seats by party - MEP 11, AVP 8, MPA 1, RED 1
Judicial branch:
Common Court of Justice of Aruba (judges are appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Aliansa/Aruban Social Movement or MSA [Robert WEVER]; Aruban Liberal Organization or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Movement or MPA [Monica ARENDS-KOCK]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Mike EMAN]; People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson O. ODUBER]; Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]; RED [Rudy LAMPE]; Workers Political Platform or PTT [Gregorio WOLFF]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - Mr. Henry BAARH, Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Aruba; the Consul General to Netherlands Antilles is accredited to Aruba
Flag description:
blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner
Economy Aruba
Economy - overview:
Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba, with 75% of those from the US. Construction continues to boom, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the reopening of the country's oil refinery in 1993, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, has further spurred growth. Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The island experiences only a brief low season, and hotel occupancy in 2004 averaged 80%, compared to 68% throughout the rest of the Caribbean. The government has made cutting the budget and trade deficits a high priority.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.258 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.258 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.4% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$21,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 33.3%
services: 66.3%
Labor force:
41,500 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
note: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants; oil refining
Unemployment rate:
6.9% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2005)
revenues: $507.9 million
expenditures: $577.9 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
46.3% of GDP (2005)
Agriculture - products:
aloes; livestock; fish
tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
770 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
716.1 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
2,363 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:
7,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
$80 million f.o.b.; note - includes oil reexports (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment
Exports - partners:
Netherlands 33.5%, Panama 16.7%, Colombia 11.9%, US 11.3%, Venezuela 10.1%, Netherlands Antilles 9% (2005)
$875 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
US 55.9%, Netherlands 12.9%, UK 3.8% (2005)
Debt - external:
$478.6 million (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$-11.3 million (2004)
Currency (code):
Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Aruban guilders/florins per US dollar - 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003), 1.79 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Aruba
Telephones - main lines in use:
37,100 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
98,400 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern fully automatic telecommunications system
domestic: increased competition through privatization; 3 wireless service providers are now licensed
international: country code - 297; 1 submarine cable to Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles); extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2004)
50,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
20,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
11,548 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
24,000 (2002)
Transportation Aruba
1 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
total: 800 km
paved: 513 km
unpaved: 287 km
Ports and terminals:
Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas
Military Aruba
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Royal Netherlands Navy and Marines, Coast Guard
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 16,278 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 13,219 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 520 (2005 est.)
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Transnational Issues Aruba
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transit point for US- and Europe-bound narcotics with some accompanying money-laundering activity

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007