Facts about Aruba

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ArubaDiscovered 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 of Aruba

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
12 30 N, 69 58 W
total: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 193 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
Natural hazards:
lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt
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)

Population of Aruba

note: estimate based on a revision of the base population, fertility, and mortality numbers, as well as a revision of 1985-1999 migration estimates from outmigration to inmigration, which is assumed to continue into the future; the new results are consistent with the 2000 census (2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.4% (male 9,933/female 9,747)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 34,123/female 37,228)
65 years and over: 10.4% (male 4,189/female 6,321)
Median age:
total: 37.6 years
male: 35.8 years
female: 39.3 years
Growth rate:
Birth rate:
11.53 births/1,000
Death rate:
6.47 deaths/1,000 
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 
Infant mortality:
total: 14.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.51 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.06 years
male: 72.03 years
female: 78.14 years
Total fertility rate:
1.85 children born/woman
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


Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Aruba
Dependency status:
part 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
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 in 2005 (next to be held by 2009)
election results: Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister
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:
Joint High Court of Justice (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]


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 country's oil refinery reopened in 1993, providing a major source of employment, foreign exchange earnings, and 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.

$2.258 billion
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants; oil refining
revenues: $135.81 million
expenditures: $147 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% 
tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining
aloes; livestock; fish
live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment
Export partners:
Panama 29.7%, Colombia 17%, Netherlands Antilles 13.2%, US 11.3%, Venezuela 10.9%, Netherlands 9.2%
machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs
Import partners:
US 54.6%, Netherlands 12%, UK 4.7%
Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

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