Society of Kiribati



Population per sq km: 139

Life expectancy: 66 years

Population: 112,000 (2015); the Phoenix Islands and central and southern Line Islands are mostly uninhabited; 44 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.7 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 29 per 1,000 people (est.; 41 in 1970); life expectancy 66 years (49 in 1970).

The government’s resettlement programme, which began in 1989, aimed to transfer almost 5,000 people from the densely populated western atolls to the Line and Phoenix islands. Five of the Phoenix Islands were designated for residential development in 1995, especially for people from the overcrowded island of South Tarawa.

The people are mostly of Micronesian origin (98.8 per cent in 2000 census). There are also Polynesian and European-descended minorities.

Language: I-Kiribati is the national language, English is the official language though it is not generally used outside of the capital.

Religion: Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 55 per cent, Protestants 36 per cent, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists; 2005 census). There is a small Baha’i minority.

Media: Te Uekera is a weekly newspaper mainly in I-Kiribati, but with main news items also in English. Kiribati Newstar is an independent weekly. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches publish newsletters. Radio Kiribati provides a public service. There is no national television service.

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Women’s Day (March), Health Day (18 April), Independence (usually several days around 12 July), Youth Day (7 August), Human Rights Day (10 December), Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Independence celebrations continue for three days.

Religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday and Easter Monday