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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Republic of Palau

Insular Area Summary for Palau

Political Status091509_Palau's-Rock-Islands

The Republic of Palau (Palau) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 to 1978. Palau was the TTPI’s last district to choose its political future and become a sovereign country. Upon independence in 1994, Palau entered into a 50-year Compact of Free Association (U.S. Public Law 99-658) with the United States, similar to that of its neighbors, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. Palau also joined the United Nations in 1994. Under the Compact, the United States, through the Department of the Interior, provides economic and financial assistance, defends Palau’s territorial integrity, and allows uninhibited access by Palauan citizens to the United States in return for exclusive and unlimited access to Palau’s land and waterways for strategic purposes. The close strategic and economic ties between the United States and Palau that go back to the end of World War II are also reflected in the fact that hundreds of Palauan citizens serve in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and choose to further their education in the United States. Palau also uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.

Immigration & Employment Status of Citizens of Palau in the U.S.

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau Are Eligible to Work in the United States Indefinitely.

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and Palau are admitted to the United States as nonimmigrants when admitted under the terms of those nations’ respective Compacts of Free Association with the United States.  These three countries are sometimes referred to collectively as the “Freely Associated States.” (more)

President: Tommy Remengesau, Jr. (January 2013)
Vice President:


The UN and Bilateral Relations

Palau became a recognized and full fledged member of the United Nations on December 15, 1994.  It currently has bilateral relations with 40 countries, which includes the United States, the European Union and Taiwan. Click here for a complete list of countries with which Palau has established relations.

Washington DC: 9,765 miles
Honolulu: 4,615 miles
Tokyo: 850 miles
Guam: 815 miles


Population & Demography

Total population: 20,227
Palauan: 69.9% (2000 census)
Filipino: 15.3%
Chinese: 4.9%
Other Asian: 2.4%
White: 1.9%
Carolinian: 1.4%
Other Micronesian: 1.1%
Other groups: 3.2%
Median age: 32.3 years
U.S. median age: 36.7 years

Estimated GDP: $164.3 million
Per capita GDP: $8,122
U.S. per capita GDP: $45,800
Foreign grants: $51 million
Foreign grants as a % of GDP: 31.0%
Foreign grants as a % of total government spending: 51.3%
Total visitor arrivals: 102,723 (2007)
Taiwanese visitors: 31,118
Korean visitors: 14,330
American visitors: 8,435
Other visitors: 14,833
Filipino visitors: 4,445
Government services
Wholesale and retail trade
Hotels and restaurants
Tourist and recreational services
Other services


Labor Force & Employment

Total payroll employment: 11,144
Private sector employment: 8,270
Foreign employees: 5,693
Palauan employees: 5,452
Government employees: 3,764

Government Finances

Total government revenues: $114.8 million
Total government spending: $99.5 million
Total Federal grants: $17.2 million

Tanya Harris Joshua
Desk Officer for Palau
Office of Insular Affairs
Washington, DC 20240
Telephone:  202 208-6008