Coconut Islands General Information

Coconut Islands General Information

General information: According to 800 Zip Codes, the islands were discovered in 1609, but remained uninhabited until the 19th century. British possession since 1857. In 1955, the islands were transferred to Australia. The population of the two inhabited islands is predominantly European on West Island and Malay on Home Island.


Location: Southeast Asia, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia, about halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Geographic coordinates: 12° 30’S latitude, 96° 50′ E
Reference map: Southeast Asia.
Area: total: 14 km2; land surface area: 14 km2; water surface area: 0 km2; note: includes two main islands: West Island and Home Island.
Comparative area: about 24 times the size of Mall Park in Washington, DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 2.6 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive fishing rights zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 3 nautical miles.
Climate: pleasant, moderated by southeast trade winds for about 9 months a year; moderate rainfall.
Terrain: flat, low coral atolls.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point 5 m.
Natural resources: fish.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 100% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural hazards: cyclones are possible in the first months of the year.
Current environmental issues: Fresh water resources are limited by rainwater stored in natural underground reservoirs.
International environmental agreements:
Geography note: Two coral atolls are densely covered with coconut palms and other vegetation.


Population: 633 people (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: up to 14 years: no data; from 15 to 64 years: no data; over 65 years: no data.
Population growth: -0.21% (2001 est.).
Fertility: no data.
Mortality: no data.
Migration: no data.
Sex ratio:
Child mortality: no data.
Life expectancy: for the general population: not available; men: no data; women: no data.
General birth rate: no data.
Proportion of adults infected with HIV:
Number of people infected with HIV:
AIDS deaths:
Nationality: noun: resident of the Cocos Islands; adjective: pertaining to the Cocos Islands.
Ethnic groups: Europeans, Malays.
Believers: Sunni Muslim 57%, Christian 22%, other 21% (1981 est.).
Language(s): English, Malay.


Common long form: Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands;
Common short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Dependency State: Territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Ministry of Environment, Sports and Territories.
State structure: no data.
Capital: West Island.
Administrative division: none (territory of Australia).
Dependent Territories:
Independence: None (Territory of Australia).
National holiday: no data.
Constitution: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955.
Legal System: Based on Australian and local laws.
Suffrage: no data.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by the Governor General of Australia;
head of government: Governor (not resident on the island) William Leonard TAYLOR (since February 4, 1999);
Government: no data; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the steward is appointed by the Governor General of Australia and represents the Queen and Australia.
Legislature: unicameral Cocos Islands County Council (number of seats not available).
Judiciary: Supreme Court; Magistrate’s Court.
Political parties and leaders: no.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: no.
Diplomatic representation in the United States: none (territory of Australia).
US Diplomatic Mission: None (Australian Territory).
Flag Description: The flag of Australia is used.


Economic overview: Coconut farming is the main source of income. The main exports are copra and fresh coconuts. Small gardens and fishing contribute to food security, but the bulk of other food and consumer goods must be imported from Australia.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – no data.
Real GDP growth rate: no data available.
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity – no data available.
Composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: no data; industry: no data; service sector: no data.
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: no data.
Labor force: no data.
Employment structure: Cocos Islands Cooperative Society Ltd employs construction and port workers; part of the population is engaged in serving tourists.
Unemployment rate:
Budget: income: n/a; expenses: n/a, including capital investment – n/a.
Spheres of economy: production of copra and tourism.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity production: no data.
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: no data available; hydropower: no data; nuclear fuel: no data; others: no data.
Electricity consumption: no data.
Export of electricity: no data.
Electricity import: no data.
Agricultural products: vegetables, bananas, papayas, coconuts.
Export: no data.
Export articles: copra.
Export partners: Australia.
Import: no data.
Import articles: foodstuffs.
Import partners: Australia.
External debt: no data. Recipient of economic assistance: no data.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Australian dollar.
Currency code: AUD.
Exchange rate: AUD / USD – 1.7995 (January 2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996).
Fiscal year: July 1 – June 30.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: no data.
Mobile cell phones: 0 (1999).
Telephone system: internal: no data; international: telephone, telex and facsimile communication with Australia and the rest of the world via satellite; 1 earth satellite station (type – no data).
Broadcast stations: AM – 1, FM – 0, shortwave – 0 (1998).
Radios: 300 (1992).
Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997).
TVs: no data.
Internet country code: cc
Internet service providers: 2 (2000).
Number of users: no data.


Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total: no data; coated: no data; uncoated: no data.
Ports and harbours: none; only anchorage in the lagoon.
Merchant Marine: None (1999 est.).
Airports: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 1; from 1524 to 2437 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways:

Coconut Islands General Information