macrohistory & world report

Cook Islands

Map of the Cook Islands of Oceania

Cook Islands. 2,900 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, 2,000 miles Northwest of New Zealand, 850 miles southeast of the Samoan Islands.

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth."

The main island, Rarotonga, has an is an international airport.

Per capita GDP
2005: $9,100


Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births)
2011: 15.81 deaths
2009: 16.9

Average life expectancy at birth
2011: 74.70
2009: 74.22 years

July 2011: 11,124

Birth rate

New Zealand has a larger population of Cook Islanders than do the Cook Islands. World Factbook gives no migration figure for the islanders.

Ethnic groups
2001 census: Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 87.7%, part Cook Island Maori 5.8%, other 6.5%

2001 census: Cook Islands Christian Church 55.9%, Roman Catholic 16.8%, Seventh-Day Adventists 7.9%, Church of Latter Day Saints 3.8%, other Protestant 5.8%, other 4.2%, unspecified 2.6%, none 3%


Halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. The biggest island, Rarotonga, is about 4 by 7 miles. It's volcanic, the top of it's volcano at 658 meters (2,140 feet) above sea level.


Chief of state: Elizabeth II (queen, House of Windsor) since 6 February 1952. Self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand. New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense in consultation with the Cook Islands

Bicameral parliament consists of a House of Ariki, or upper house, made up of traditional leaders and a Legislative Assembly, or lower house. The twenty-four , members of the lower house are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms.

Capital: Avarua.

The World Factbook

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