Factbook: Aruba


A(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)



Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates: 12 30 N, 69 58 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 193 sq km
land: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 68.5 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: flat with a few hills; scant vegetation

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m

Natural resources: negligible; white sandy beaches

Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 89% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt

Environment – current issues: NA

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



Population: 68,031 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years : 22% (male 7,814; female 7,127)
15-64 years: 69% (male 22,544; female 24,656)
65 years and over: 9% (male 2,433; female 3,457) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.39% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 14.2 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 6.32 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.8 years
male: 73.11 years
female : 80.68 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun : Aruban(s)
adjective: Aruban

Ethnic groups: mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%

Religions: Roman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish

Languages: Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish

Literacy: NA



Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Aruba

Data code: AA

Dependency status: part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles

Government type: NA

National capital: Oranjestad

Administrative divisions: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; in 1990, Aruba requested and received from the Netherlands cancellation of the agreement to automatically give independence to the island in 1996)

National holiday: Flag Day, 18 March

Constitution: 1 January 1986

Legal system: based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Olindo KOOLMAN (since 1 January 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Jan (Henny) H. EMAN (since 29 July 1994) and Deputy Prime Minister Glenbert F. CROES
cabinet : Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
elections: the queen is a constitutional monarch; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the queen; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for a four-year term; election last held 29 July 1994 (next to be held by July 1998)
election results : Jan (Henny) H. EMAN elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote – NA; Glenbert F. CROES elected deputy prime minister; percent of legislative vote – NA

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote and serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 29 July 1994 (next to be held by NA July 1998)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – AVP 10, MEP 9, OLA 2

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice

Political parties and leaders: Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson ODUBER]; Aruban People’s Party or AVP [Jan (Henny) H. EMAN]; National Democratic Action or ADN [Pedro Charro KELLY]; New Patriotic Party or PPN [Eddy WERLEMEN]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban Democratic Party or PDA [Leo BERLINSKI]; Democratic Action ’86 or AD ’86 [Arturo ODUBER]; Aruban Liberal Party or OLA [Glenbert CROES]
note: governing coalition includes the AVP and OLA

International organization participation: ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), WCL, WToO (associate)

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Flag description: blue with two narrow horizontal yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner



Economy – overview: Tourism is the mainstay of the Aruban economy, although offshore banking and oil refining and storage are also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the reopening of the country’s oil refinery in 1993, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, has further spurred growth. Aruba’s small labor force and less than 1% unemployment rate have led to a large number of unfilled job vacancies despite sharp rises in wage rates in recent years.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $1.4 billion (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $21,000 (1996 est.)

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

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 3.5% (1996)

Labor force: NA
by occupation: most employment is in the tourist industry (1996)

Unemployment rate: 0.5% (1994)

revenues: $145 million
expenditures : $185 million, including capital expenditures of $42 million (1988)

Industries: tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – capacity: NA kW

Electricity – production: NA kWh

Electricity – consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture – products: aloes; livestock; fishing

total value: $1.3 billion (including oil re-exports) (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: mostly refined petroleum products
partners: US 64%, EU

total value: $1.8 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: food, consumer goods, manufactures, petroleum products, crude oil for refining and reexport
partners: US 8%, EU

Debt – external: $669 million (December 1995)

Economic aid: the Netherlands provided a 1996 aid package of $224 million to Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and Suriname

Currency: 1 Aruban florin (Af.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Aruban florins (Af.) per US$1 – 1.7900 (fixed rate since 1986)

Fiscal year: calendar year



Telephones: 22,922 (1993 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: more than adequate
international: 1 submarine cable to Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles); extensive interisland microwave radio relay links

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 4, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 19,000 (1993 est.)



Railways: 0 km

total: NA km
paved : NA km
unpaved: NA km
note : most coastal roads are paved, while unpaved roads serve large tracts of the interior

Ports and harbors: Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Merchant marine:
total : 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,274 GRT/ 10,130 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 3 (1996 est.)

Airports: 2 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1



Military – note: defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

Illicit drugs: drug money-laundering center and transit point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; added to the US list of major drug producing or drug transit countries in December 1996