World Factbook

Faroe Islands

Introduction

Europe :: Faroe Islands (part of the Kingdom of Denmark)

Background:
The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was granted the Faroese in 1948, who have autonomy over most internal affairs while Denmark is responsible for justice, defense, and foreign affairs. The Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union.

Geography

Location:
Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Iceland and Norway

Geographic coordinates:
62 00 N, 7 00 W

Map references:
Europe

Area:
Total: 1,393 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 183
Land: 1,393 sq km
Water: 0 sq km (some lakes and streams)

Area - comparative:
eight times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
1,117 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 3 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line

Climate:
mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy

Terrain:
rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m

Natural resources:
fish, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas

Land use:
Arable land: 2.15%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 97.85% (2011)

Irrigated land:
0 sq km (2011)

Natural hazards:
NA

Environment - current issues:
NA

Environment - international agreements:
Party to: Marine Dumping - associate member to the London Convention and Ship Pollution

Geography - note:
archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands

People and Society

Nationality:
Noun: Faroese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Faroese

Ethnic groups:
Scandinavian

Languages:
Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

Religions:
Evangelical Lutheran 83.8%, other and unspecified 16.2% (2006 census)

Population:
49,709 (July 2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 210

Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.4% (male 5,269/female 4,882)
15-24 years: 15.6% (male 4,003/female 3,738)
25-54 years: 36.8% (male 9,892/female 8,414)
55-64 years: 11.8% (male 3,018/female 2,832)
65 years and over: 15.4% (male 3,712/female 3,949) (2013 est.)

Median age:
Total: 37.6 years
Male: 37 years
Female: 38.3 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.47% (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 154

Birth rate:
13.36 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 150

Death rate:
8.67 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 75

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 86

Urbanization:
Urban population: 40% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.18 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 5.82 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 175
Male: 6.08 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 5.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 79.98 years
Country comparison to the world: 35
Male: 77.49 years
Female: 82.64 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.39 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 87

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Literacy:
NA; note - probably 99%, the same as Denmark proper

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Total: 9.4%
Country comparison to the world: 111
Male: 6.9%
Female: 12.5% (2005)

Government

Country name:
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Faroe Islands
Local long form: none
Local short form: Foroyar

Dependency status:
part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948

Government type:
NA

Capital:
Name: Torshavn
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 6 46 W
Time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities

Independence:
none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

National holiday:
Olaifest (Olavsoka), 29 July

Constitution:
5 June 1953 (Danish Constitution)

Legal system:
the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Dan Michael KNUDSEN, chief administrative officer (since 2008)
Head of government: Prime Minister Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN (since 26 September 2008)
Cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held on 14 November 2011 (next to be held no later than November 2015)
Election results: Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN reelected prime minister in 2011

Legislative branch:
unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held on 29 October 2011 (next to be held no later than October 2015)
Election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 24.7%, People's Party 22.5%, Republican Party 18.3%, Social Democratic Party 17.7%, Progressive Party 6.3%, Center Party 6.2%, Independence Party 4.2%, other 0.1%; seats by party - Union Party 8, People's Party 8, Republican Party 6, Social Democratic Party 6, Progressive Party 2, Center Party 2, Independence Party 1
note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 15 September 2011 (next to be held no later than September 2015); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Social Democratic Party 1, Union Party 1

Judicial branch:
the Faroese Court or Raett (Rett - Danish) decides both civil and criminal cases; the Court is part of the Danish legal system

Political parties and leaders:
Center Party (Midflokkurin) [Jenis av RANA]
Independence Party (Sjalvstyrisflokkurin) [Kari P. HOJGAARD]
People's Party (Folkaflokkurin) [Jorgen NICLASEN]
Progressive Party (Framsokn) [Poul MICHELSEN]
Republican Party (Tjodveldi) [Hogni HOYDAL]
Social Democratic Party (Javnadarflokkurin) [Aksel JOHANNESEN]
Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin) [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
conservationists

International organization participation:
Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UNESCO (associate), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

National symbol(s):
ram

National anthem:
Name: "Mitt alfagra land" (My Fairest Land)
Lyrics/music: Simun av SKAROI/Peter ALBERG
note: adopted 1948; the anthem is also known as "Tu alfagra land mitt" (Thou Fairest Land of Mine); as an autonomous overseas division of Denmark, the Faroe Islands are permitted their own national anthem

Economy

Economy - overview:
The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price fluctuations. The sector normally accounts for about 95% of exports and nearly half of GDP. In early 2008 the Faroese economy began to slow as a result of smaller catches and historically high oil prices. The slowdown in the Faroese economy followed a strong performance since the mid-1990s with annual growth rates averaging close to 6%, mostly a result of increased fish landings and salmon farming, and high export prices. Unemployment reached its lowest level in June 2008 at 1.1%. The Faroese Home Rule Government produced increasing budget surpluses in that period, which helped to reduce the large public debt, most of it to Denmark. However, total dependence on fishing and salmon farming make the Faroese economy vulnerable to fluctuations in world demand. Initial discoveries of oil in the Faroese area give hope for eventual oil production, which may provide a foundation for a more diversified economy and less dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark amounting to about 3% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living almost equal to that of Denmark and Greenland. The Faroese Government ran relatively large deficits from 2008 to 2010 and budget deficits are forecast for several years ahead. At year-end 2010 the gross debt had reached approximately US$900 million.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.471 billion (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 197
$1.389 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.32 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.9% (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 112
0.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$30,500 (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 49

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 16%
Industry: 29%
Services: 55% (2007 est.)

Agriculture - products:
milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish

Industries:
fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate:
3.4% (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 81

Labor force:
34,710 (November 2010)
Country comparison to the world: 203

Labor force - by occupation:
Agriculture: 10.7%
Industry: 18.9%
Services: 70.3% (November 2010)

Unemployment rate:
6.8% (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 69
5.7% (2010)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Budget:
Revenues: $1.025 billion
Expenditures: $1.301 billion
note: Denmark supplies the Faroe Islands with almost one-third of their public funds (2010 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
44.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 28

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-11.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 208

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.3% (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 53
0.4% (2010)

Exports:
$824 million (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 163
$767 million (2009)

Exports - commodities:
fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships

Exports - partners:
Denmark 23.3%, UK 20.9%, Nigeria 13.7%, US 8.8%, Netherlands 8.4%, Russia 6.9%, China 4.4% (2012)

Imports:
$776 million (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 186
$786 million (2009)

Imports - commodities:
goods for household consumption 24%, machinery and transport equipment 23.5%, fuels 21.4%, raw materials and semi-manufactures, salt

Imports - partners:
Denmark 41.9%, Norway 31.9%, Germany 8.7%, Iceland 5.3% (2012)

Debt - external:
$888.8 million (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 165
$68.1 million (2006)

Exchange rates:
Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
5.7925 (2012 est.)
5.3687 (2011 est.)
5.6241 (2010 est.)
5.361 (2009)
5.0236 (2008)

Energy

Electricity - production:
280.3 million kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 171

Electricity - consumption:
268.8 million kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 177

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 195

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 187

Electricity - installed generating capacity:
100,100 kW (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 168

Electricity - from fossil fuels:
64.9% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 89

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
31% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 74

Electricity - from other renewable sources:
4.1% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 42

Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 135

Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 112

Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 184

Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 133

Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 178

Refined petroleum products - consumption:
4,871 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 170

Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 177

Refined petroleum products - imports:
4,859 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 157

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 130

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 143

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 99

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 193

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 137

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
744,400 Mt (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 173

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
20,200 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 189

Telephones - mobile cellular:
59,400 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 198

Telephone system:
General assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
Domestic: conversion to digital system completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
International: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable (2011)

Broadcast media:
1 publicly owned TV station; the Faroese telecommunications company distributes local and international channels through its digital terrestrial network; publicly owned radio station supplemented by 2 privately owned stations broadcasting over multiple frequencies (2008)

Internet country code:
.fo

Internet hosts:
7,575 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 140

Internet users:
37,500 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 176

Transportation

Airports:
1 (2013)
Country comparison to the world: 215

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways:
Total: 463 km (2006)
Country comparison to the world: 196

Merchant marine:
Total: 37
Country comparison to the world: 79
By type: cargo 20, chemical tanker 7, container 2, passenger/cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 2
Foreign-owned: 28 (Iceland 4, Norway 13, Sweden 11) (2010)

Ports and terminals:
Major seaport(s): Fuglafjordur, Torshavn, Vagur

Military

Military branches:
no regular military forces (2012)

Manpower available for military service:
Males age 16-49: 11,831 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 9,827
Females age 16-49: 8,418 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 372
Female: 373 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
NA

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Denmark

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Flag of Faroe Islands



Flag description:
white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); referred to as Merkid, meaning "the banner" or "the mark," the flag resembles those of neighboring Iceland and Norway, and uses the same three colors - but in a different sequence; white represents the clear Faroese sky as well as the foam of the waves; red and blue are traditional Faroese colors