macrohistory & world report

Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor)

Map of East Timor

East Timor (capital Dili) a predominately Christian half of an island amid islands in Indonesia, 400 miles northwest of Australia

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Since its 1999 independence, Timor-Leste has faced great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has greatly supplemented government revenues. This technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed in part because there are no production facilities in Timor-Leste. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005, the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and to preserve the value of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth for future generations... On the strength of its oil-wealth, the economy has achieved real growth between 8-12% per year for the last several years, among the highest sustained growth rates in the world."

Economic growth rate
2011: 7.3%
2010: 6.1%
2009: 12.9%

Labor force in agriculture
2010: 64%

Unemployment rate

Export commodities
oil, coffee, sandalwood, marble

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $18 million, imports $689 million

East Timor receives financial assistance from Australia. According to the Australian government, 46 per cent of children to 5 years of age are underweight, and 44% of the entire People is malnourished. Overall, 41 per cent live on below 0.88 US dollars (88 cents) per day. (May 2011)

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 109th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 2.3% of GDP


Living in an urban area:
2010: 28%

Ethnic groups
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority

2005: Roman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1%

2002: 58.6%


Half of an island in Southeast Asia on the eastern fringe of Indonesia in Southeastern Asia.

Recent History

Violence from Indonesians (mostly Muslim) resisting the independence sought by East Timorese (mostly Christian) was brought to an end by the intervention of Australia, in September 1999. On May 20, 2002 East Timor was recognized as an independent state. 

World Factbook: "In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 300,000 people fled westward. Over the next three years, however, a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas."

March 17, 2006. According to a report in the BBC, East Timor suffers "an acute shortage of skilled people."

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