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Tonga country facts

Kingdom of Tonga Australia-Oceania Nuku'alofa 106,440 inhabitants 747 sq km 142.49 inhabitants/sq km pa'anga (TOP) population evolution



Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.



Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

20 00 S, 175 00 W

Area (sq km)

total: 747 sq km
land: 717 sq km
water: 30 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

419 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)


most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources

fish, fertile soil

Land use (%)

arable land: 21.33%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 64% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)


Natural hazards

cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
volcanism: moderate volcanic activity; Fonualei (elev. 180 m) has shown frequent activity in recent years, while Niuafo'ou (elev. 260 m), which last erupted in 1985, has forced evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Late and Tofua

Environment - current issues

deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)

People and Society


noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groups (%)

Tongan 96.6%, part-Tongan 1.7%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Languages (%)

English and Tongan 87%, Tongan (official) 10.7%, English (official) 1.2%, other 1.1%, uspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Religions (%)

Protestant 64.9% (includes Free Wesleyan Church 37.3%, Free Church of Tonga 11.4%, Church of Tonga 7.2%, Tokaikolo Christian Church 2.6%, Assembly of God 2.3% Seventh Day Adventist 2.2%, Constitutional Church of Tonga .9%, Anglican .8% and Full Gospel Church .2%), Mormon 16.8%, Roman Catholic 15.6%, other 1.1%, none 0.03%, unspecified 1.7% (2006 est.)


106,440 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 35.6% (male 19,272/female 18,661)
15-24 years: 19.3% (male 10,514/female 10,016)
25-54 years: 33.3% (male 17,717/female 17,732)
55-64 years: 5.5% (male 2,852/female 3,013)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 3,044/female 3,619) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Tonga

Median age (years)

total: 22 years
male: 21.6 years
female: 22.5 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

0.09% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

23.55 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

4.86 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

-17.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 23% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.84% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

NUKU'ALOFA 25,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

110 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 12.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 75.82 years
male: 74.35 years
female: 77.34 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

3.36 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

5.3% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.56 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

2.6 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 99% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 1% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.7% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 99.4% of population
rural: 88.9% of population
total: 91.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 0.6% of population
rural: 11.1% of population
total: 8.7% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

57.6% (2008)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

3.9% of GDP (2004)

Literacy (%)

definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99.1% (2006 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2002)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 11.9%
male: 9.9%
female: 15.1% (2003)


Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands

Government type

constitutional monarchy


name: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

5 island divisions; 'Eua, Ha'apai, Ongo Niua, Tongatapu, Vava'u


4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National holiday

National Day, 4 November (1875)


adopted 4 November 1875; amended many times, last in 2013 (2013)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King TUPOU VI (since 18 March 2012); note - King George TUPOU V died on 18 March 2012 in Hong Kong; he was succeeded by his brother Crown Prince TUPOUTO'A Lavaka, who took the throne name TUPOU VI
head of government: Prime Minister Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO (since 22 December 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
note: a Privy Councilt advises the monarch
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from members of parliament and appointed by the monarch; election last held on 21 December 2010 (next to be held in NA 2014)
election results: Lord Siale'ataonga TU'IVAKANO elected prime minister by parliament; vpte - 14 of 26 votes

Legislative branch

unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats - 9 for nobles elected from among the country's 29 nobles, 17 members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 November 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - independents 67.3%, Democratic Party 28.5%, other 4.2%; seats - Democratic Party 12, independents 5

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and a number of judges determined by the monarch); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are brought before the King in Privy Council, the monarch's advisory organ that has both judicial and legislative powers
judge selection and term of office: judge appointments and tenures made by the King in Privy Council, judge appointments subject to consent of the Legislative Assembly
subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Magistrate's Courts; Land Courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands [Samuela 'Akilisi POHIVA]
People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]
Sustainable Nation-Building Party [Sione FONUA]
Tonga Democratic Labor Party [NA]
Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM [NA]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]
Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mahe'uli'uli Sandhurst TUPOUNIUA (since 10 September 2013)
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (800) 345-6541
consulate(s) general: San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the US ambassador to Fiji, currently Ambassador Frankie A. REED, is accredited to Tonga

Flag description

red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity

National symbol(s)

red cross on white field; arms equal length

National anthem

name: "Ko e fasi `o e tu"i `o e `Otu Tonga" (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)
lyrics/music: Uelingatoni Ngu TUPOUMALOHI/Karl Gustavus SCHMITT
note: in use since 1875; the anthem is more commonly known as "Fasi Fakafonua" (National Song)


Economy - overview

Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 39,000 visitors in 2006. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. High unemployment among the young, moderate inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$846 million (2013 est.)
$837.3 million (2012 est.)
$831.3 million (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$477 million (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

1% (2013 est.)
0.7% (2012 est.)
1.9% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$8,200 (2013 est.)
$8,100 (2012 est.)
$8,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 20.9%
industry: 21.9%
services: 57.2% (2013 est.)

Labor force

39,960 (2007)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 31.8%
industry: 30.6%
services: 2,003% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

13% (FY03/04 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)

24% (FY03/04)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $112.4 million
expenditures: $112.4 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

23.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

0% of GDP (2012 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2% (2013 est.)
1.2% (2012 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

10.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
10.36% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$85.97 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$81.03 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$178.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$186.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$110 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$125.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products

squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish


tourism, construction, fishing

Industrial production growth rate (%)

1% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$43.3 million (2013 est.)
-$48.5 million (2012 est.)


$9.1 million (2013 est.)
$8.4 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Exports - partners (%)

South Korea 18.5%, US 17%, NZ 15.6%, Fiji 10.2%, Japan 9.5%, Samoa 8.6%, American Samoa 5.4%, Australia 5.1% (2012)


$122.5 million (2013 est.)
$121.9 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners (%)

Fiji 35.7%, NZ 24.4%, US 10.5%, China 10.2% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$147.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$152.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$215.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$198.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$61.39 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$61.43 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
pa'anga (TOP) per US dollar -
1.78 (2013 est.)
1.72 (2012 est.)
1.906 (2010 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June


Electricity - production (kWh)

41 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

38.13 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

12,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

1,221 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

1,202 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

154,600 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

30,000 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

56,000 (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 80 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

2 state-owned TV stations and 2 privately owned TV stations; satellite and cable TV services are available; 2 state-owned and 3 privately owned radio stations; Radio Australia broadcasts available via satellite (2009)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

5,367 (2012)

Internet users

8,400 (2009)



6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways (km)

total: 680 km
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 7
by type: cargo 4, carrier 1, passenger/cargo 2
foreign-owned: 2 (Australia 1, UK 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Nuku'alofa, Neiafu, Pangai


Military branches

Tonga Defense Services (TDS): Land Force (Royal Guard), Maritime Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

16 years of age for voluntary enlistment (with parental consent); no conscription; the king retains the right to call up "all those capable of bearing arms" in wartime (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 24,460
females age 16-49: 24,041 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 20,956
females age 16-49: 20,577 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 1,196
female: 1,134 (2010 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Largest cities of Tonga

These are the 50 largest cities of Tonga ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population