Kiribati Geography and Population

ETYMOLOGY: The name Kiribati is a transformation of English Gilbert Islands ‘Gilbert Islands’.

OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Kiribati


POPULATION: 105,000 (2007)

AREA: 811 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): English, Kiribati (Gilbertese)

RELIGION: Catholics 54%, Protestants 39%, Baha’is 2%, Adventists 2%, Mormons 2%, others 1%

COIN: Australian dollar





GDP PER residents: $ 488 (2007)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 59 years, women 65 years (2005)




Kiribati, Republic of the Pacific Ocean, which consists of three archipelagos spread over a vast ocean area on both sides of the equator and across the date line in the Pacific Ocean. Kiribati is one of the micronations of the world and in practice hardly a unified entity; part of the population lives in very small, self-sufficient and extremely isolated communities.

National flag

The flag was introduced at independence in 1979. Its design is similar to the coat of arms given to the then British Crown Colony Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1937. The bird is a frigate bird and symbolizes freedom and power. The rising sun over the Pacific Ocean refers to the islands’ location at the date line.


Kiribati consists of three separate archipelagos; to the west the Gilbert Islands, to the east of them the uninhabited Phoenix Islands and to the far east several of the Line Islands, whose other islands belong to the United States. With the exception of the phosphate-rich Banaba (formerly Ocean Island), all the islands are low-lying atolls, coral islands built on underwater volcanoes. The climate is tropical, characterized by trade winds and almost without seasons.

The economy was previously completely dominated by the phosphate excavation at Banaba; it was discontinued in 1979, and after lawsuits, Kiribati received significant compensation for many years of British mining. The interest on the compensation is included in the country’s development projects, which are otherwise characterized by foreign aid. Contributions from Kiribati, who work as sailors and at phosphate excavations on Nauru, also contribute to the economy. In contrast, agriculture and fisheries are of particular local importance in the small self-sufficient communities of remote islands. In the saline soil, only a few plants can be grown: especially coconut, taro, yams and bananas. Pig farming is very widespread. Part of the sea’s resources are utilized by the USA, Japan and South Korea, which, among other things, fishing tuna on license.

Kiribati had large population growth throughout the 1990’s. The growth takes place especially in the capital Bairiki on the southern and very densely populated part of the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands; there were 33,000 residents on Tarawa in 2001. The population is otherwise stagnating on most of the 20 inhabited islands. In Bairiki, parliament and administration have seats. One of the seats in parliament is reserved for a representative of Banaba, whose population was relocated to the island of Rabi in Fiji in 1945 due to the phosphate excavation on their home island.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Kiribati? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.


Ikiribati, also known as kiribati or Gilbertese, which belongs to the Micronesian language family of the Austronesian language family, is spoken. English is the official language. For culture and traditions of Kiribati, please check calculatorinc.


The population of Kiribati is linguistically and culturally remarkably uniform. The first residents came from Southeast Asia 4000-5000 years ago. From approximately 1000-1400 AD the southern Gilbert Islands were heavily influenced by immigrants from Samoa. In the 1800’s. on a number of islands there were small kingdoms, which were marked by frequent wars. Despite previous visits by European sailors, it was not until the early 1800’s that the population came into constant, close contact with the foreign whalers, traders, Christian missionaries and “blackbirders” who were in search of labor.

In 1892, Britain made the Gilbert and Ellice Islands a protectorate and in 1900 annexed the phosphate island of Ocean Island (Banaba). In 1916 the protectorate became a crown colony. Thereafter, several islands were incorporated into the colony. During World War II, Kiribati was occupied by Japan in 1942-43, and many islands suffered heavy fighting. The subsequent deployment of American troops greatly helped to establish the modern world in the life and consciousness of the people. In 1979, Kiribati became an independent republic.