Cocos (Keeling) Islands
(territory of Australia)
[Country Flag of Cocos (Keeling) Islands]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Cocos (Keeling) Islands]

Cocos (Keeling) Islands


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Location: Southeastern Asia, group of islands in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia, about one-half of the way from Australia to Sri Lanka

Geographic coordinates: 12 30 S, 96 50 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

total: 14 sq km
land: 14 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of West Island and Home Island

Area—comparative: about 24 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 2.6 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: pleasant, modified by the southeast trade wind for about nine months of the year; moderate rainfall

Terrain: flat, low-lying coral atolls

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 100% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: cyclones may occur in the early months of the year

Environment—current issues: fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography—note: two coral atolls thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation


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Population: 637 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.21% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

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

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

noun: Cocos Islander(s)
adjective: Cocos Islander

Ethnic groups: Europeans, Cocos Malays

Religions: Sunni Muslim 57%, Christian 22%, other 21% (1981 est.)

Languages: English, Malay


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Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Data code: CK

Dependency status: territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Australian Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

Government type: NA

National capital: West Island

Administrative divisions: none (territory of Australia)

Independence: none (territory of Australia)

National holiday: NA

Constitution: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act of 1955

Legal system: based upon the laws of Australia and local laws

Suffrage: NA

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator (acting) Maureen ELLIS (since NA)
cabinet: NA
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia and represents the queen and Australia

Legislative branch: unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (NA seats)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: none

International organization participation: WMO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of Australia)

Flag description: the flag of Australia is used


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Economy—overview: Grown throughout the islands, coconuts are the sole cash crop. Copra and fresh coconuts are the major export earners. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$NA

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$NA

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force: NA
note: the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd. employs construction workers, stevedores, and lighterage worker operations; tourism employs others

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: copra products and tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: NA kW

Electricity—production: NA kWh

Electricity—consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture—products: vegetables, bananas, pawpaws, coconuts

Exports: $NA
commodities: copra
partners: Australia

Imports: $NA
commodities: foodstuffs
partners: Australia

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid: none

Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1—1.5281 (January 1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996), 1.3486 (1995), 1.3667 (1994), 1.4704 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June


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Telephones: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; 1 satellite earth station of NA type

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 300 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 0
note: intermittent television service via satellite

Televisions: NA


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Railways: 0 km

total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: none; lagoon anchorage only

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military—note: defense is the responsibility of Australia

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none