Map Maldives
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Maldives


Background: Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated the islands' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress was sluggish, however, and many promised reforms were slow to be realized. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution, which was ratified by the president in August. The first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system were held in October 2008. GAYOOM was defeated in a runoff poll by Mohamed NASHEED, a political activist who had been jailed several years earlier by the former regime. Challenges facing President NASHEED include strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. Maldives officials have played a prominent role in the international climate change discussion (due to the islands' low elevation and the threat from sea-level rise) and on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
Area land: 298 sq km
Area water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 644 km
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
Country name conventional short form: Maldives
Country name former: Republic of Maldives
Population: 394,999 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.5% (male 43,332/female 41,642); 15-64 years: 74.4% (male 177,365/female 116,552); 65 years and over: 4.1% (male 7,888/female 8,220) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: -0.151% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 14.83 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 3.71 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -12.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.57 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.98 male(s)/female; total population: 1.4 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 27.45 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 29.93 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 24.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.45 years; male: 72.22 years; female: 76.8 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: fewer than 100 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 100 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Maldivian(s); adjective: Maldivian;
Ethnic groups: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs;
Religions: Sunni Muslim;
Languages: Dhivehi (official) (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 93.8%; male: 93%; female: 94.7% (2006 Census);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.776 billion (2010 est.); $1.708 billion (2009 est.); $1.763 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $1.433 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2010 est.); -3.1% (2009 est.); 6.2% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,600 (2010 est.); $4,300 (2009 est.); $4,600 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.6%; industry: 16.9%; services: 77.5% (2009 est.);
Population below poverty line: 16% (2008);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 110,000 (2010);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 11%; industry: 23%; services: 65% (2006 est.);
Unemployment rate: 14.5% (2010 est.); 14.4% (2006 est.);
Budget: revenues: $476 million; expenditures: $758 million (2010 est.);
Industries: tourism, fish processing, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining;
Industrial production growth rate: -0.9% (2004 est.);
Electricity - production: 542 million kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 542 million kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2009 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.

Maldives in the News

Expensive H.I.V. Drugs Further Instability in South Asia

Although concern among the South Asian population about the spread and impact of H.I.V./AIDS is significant, governments continue to give the problem a low priority.