Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Faroe Islands
Flag of Faroe Islands
Map of Faroe Islands
Introduction Faroe Islands
The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was attained in 1948.
Geography Faroe Islands
Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway
Geographic coordinates:
62 00 N, 7 00 W
Map references:
total: 1,399 sq km
land: 1,399 sq km
water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)
Area - comparative:
eight times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
1,117 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy
rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m
Natural resources:
fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Land use:
arable land: 2.14%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.86% (2005)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
People Faroe Islands
47,246 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.9% (male 4,940/female 4,952)
15-64 years: 65.1% (male 16,247/female 14,522)
65 years and over: 13.9% (male 2,976/female 3,609) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 35 years
male: 34.7 years
female: 35.5 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.58% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
14.05 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
8.7 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.12 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.35 years
male: 75.91 years
female: 82.8 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.17 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
adjective: Faroese
Ethnic groups:
Evangelical Lutheran
Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
note: probably 100%, the same as Denmark proper
Government Faroe Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Faroe Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Foroyar
Dependency status:
part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
Government type:
name: Torshavn
geographic coordinates: 62 01 N, 6 46 W
time difference: UTC (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities
none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
National holiday:
Olaifest (Olavasoka), 29 July
5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)
Legal system:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Birgit KLEIS, chief administrative officer (since 1 November 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Joannes EIDESGAARD (since 3 February 2004)
cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held 20 January 2004 (next to be held no later than January 2008)
election results: Joannes EIDESGAARD elected prime minister; percent of parliamentary vote - NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 January 2004 (next to be held no later than January 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 23.7%, Social Democratic Party 21.8%, Republican Party 21.7%, People's Party 20.6%, Center Party 5.2%, Independence Party 4.6%; seats by party - Union Party 7, Social Democratic Party 7, Republican Party 8, People's Party 7, Center Party 2, Independence Party 1
note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 8 February 2005 (next to be held February 2009); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 1, People's Party 1
Judicial branch:
Political parties and leaders:
Center Party [Jenis A. RANA]; Independence Party [Kari P. HOJGAARD]; People's Party [Anfinn KALLSBERG]; Republican Party [Hogni HOYDAL]; Social Democratic Party [Joannes EIDESGAARD]; Union Party [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Flag description:
white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
Economy Faroe Islands
Economy - overview:
The Faroese economy has had a strong performance since 1994, mostly as a result of increasing fish landings and high and stable export prices. Unemployment is minimal and there are signs of labor shortages in several sectors. The positive economic development has helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses, which in turn have helped reduce the large public debt, most of it owed to Denmark. However, the total dependence on fishing makes the Faroese economy extremely vulnerable, and the present fishing efforts appear in excess of what is a sustainable level of fishing in the long term. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate Faroese area, which may eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (about 15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
GDP - real growth rate:
10% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$31,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 27%
industry: 11%
services: 62% (1999)
Labor force:
24,250 (October 2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 33%
services: 34%
Unemployment rate:
1% (October 2000)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.1% (1999)
revenues: $488 million
expenditures: $484 million; including capital expenditures of $21 million (1999)
Agriculture - products:
milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:
8% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
292.6 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 62.4%
hydro: 37.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
272.1 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
4,550 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.)
$533 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships (1999)
Exports - partners:
Denmark 38%, UK 29.4%, Nigeria 8.9%, Norway 6.1%, Netherlands 4.3% (2005)
$639 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods 36%, raw materials and semi-manufactures 32%, machinery and transport equipment 29%, fuels, fish, salt (1999)
Imports - partners:
Denmark 47.4%, Norway 18.7%, Germany 8.4%, Spain 7.8%, Iceland 4.9% (2005)
Debt - external:
$64 million (1999)
Economic aid - recipient:
$135 million (annual subsidy from Denmark) (1998)
Currency (code):
Danish krone (DKK)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Danish kroner per US dollar - 5.93667 (2006), 5.9969 (2005), 5.9911 (2004), 6.5877 (2003), 7.8947 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Faroe Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
23,800 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
42,500 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
domestic: digitalization was completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
international: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
26,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus 43 low-power repeaters) (September 1995)
15,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
6,915 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
33,000 (2005)
Transportation Faroe Islands
1 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
total: 458 km
note: no roads between towns (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 18 ships (1000 GRT or over) 19,265 GRT/9,171 DWT
by type: cargo 10, container 2, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 8 (Iceland 4, Norway 4) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Military Faroe Islands
Military branches:
no regular military forces
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 10,695 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 8,852 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 366 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Denmark
Transnational Issues Faroe Islands
Disputes - international:
because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland disputes the Faroe Islands' fisheries median line boundary; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007