Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island’s economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, semi-autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba’s request in 1990.

Geography :: Aruba


Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

12 30 N, 69 58 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 180 sq km

land: 180 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative

slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


68.5 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation


flat with a few hills; scant vegetation


lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Ceru Jamanota 188 m

Natural resources

NEGL; white sandy beaches foster tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 11.1% (2016 est.)

arable land: 11.1% (2016 est.) /** permanent crops:** 0% (2016 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 0% (2016 est.)

forest: 2.3% (2016 est.)

other: 86.6% (2016 est.)

Irrigated land


Population distribution

most residents live in or around Oranjestad and San Nicolaas; most settlments tend to be located on the less mountainous western side of the island

Natural hazards

hurricanes; lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened

Environment – current issues

difficulty in properly disposing of waste produced by large numbers of tourists; waste burning that occurs in the landfill causes air pollution and poses an environmental and health risk; ocean environmental damage due to plastic pollution

Geography – note

a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)

People and Society :: Aruba


119,428 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Aruban(s)

adjective: Aruban; Dutch

Ethnic groups

Aruban 66%, Colombian 9.1%, Dutch 4.3%, Dominican 4.1%, Venezuelan 3.2%, Curacaoan 2.2%, Haitian 1.5%, Surinamese 1.2%, Peruvian 1.1%, Chinese 1.1%, other 6.2% (2010 est.)

note: data represent population by country of birth


Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 69.4%, Spanish 13.7%, English (widely spoken) 7.1%, Dutch (official) 6.1%, Chinese 1.5%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)


Roman Catholic 75.3%, Protestant 4.9% (includes Methodist 0.9%, Adventist 0.9%, Anglican 0.4%, other Protestant 2.7%), Jehovah’s Witness 1.7%, other 12%, none 5.5%, unspecified 0.5% (2010 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 47

youth dependency ratio: 25.6

elderly dependency ratio: 21.5

potential support ratio: 4.7 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 39.9 years

male: 38.2 years

female: 41.5 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.19% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

12.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

8.7 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

8.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

most residents live in or around Oranjestad and San Nicolaas; most settlments tend to be located on the less mountainous western side of the island



Major urban areas – population

30,000 ORANJESTAD (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female

total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.5 years

male: 74.4 years

female: 80.7 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.83 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 98.1% of population

rural: 98.1% of population

total: 98.1% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 1.9% of population

rural: 1.9% of population

total: 1.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 97.7% of population

rural: 97.7% of population

total: 97.7% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 2.3% of population

rural: 2.3% of population

total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS – deaths


Education expenditures

6.2% of GDP (2016)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.8%

male: 97.8%

female: 97.8% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2012)

Government :: Aruba

Country name

conventional long form: Country of Aruba

conventional short form: Aruba

local long form: Land Aruba (Dutch); Pais Aruba (Papiamento)

local short form: Aruba

etymology: the origin of the island’s name is unclear; according to tradition, the name comes from the Spanish phrase “oro huba” (there was gold), but in fact no gold was ever found on the island; another possibility is the native word “oruba,” which means “well-situated”

Dependency status

constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs

Government type

parliamentary democracy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


name: Oranjestad

geographic coordinates: 12 31 N, 70 02 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: translates as “orange town” in Dutch; the city is named after William I (1533-1584), Prince of Orange, the first ruler of the Netherlands

Administrative divisions

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

note: Aruba is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three are the Netherlands, Curacao, and Sint Maarten


none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

National holiday

National Anthem and Flag Day, 18 March (1976)


history: previous 1947, 1955; latest drafted and approved August 1985, enacted 1 January 1986 (regulates governance of Aruba but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); in 1986, Aruba became a semi-autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Legal system

civil law system based on the Dutch civil code


see the Netherlands


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor General Alfonso BOEKHOUDT (since 1 January 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister Evelyn WEVER-CROES (since 17 November 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Legislature (Staten)

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; prime minister and deputy prime minister indirectly elected by the Staten for 4-year term; election last held on 27 September 2013 (next to be held by September 2017)
election results: Evelyn WEVER-CROES (MEP) elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote – NA

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 22 September 2017 (next to be held in September 2021)

election results: percent of vote by party AVP 39.8%, MEP 37.6%, POR 9.4%, RED 7.1%, other 6.1%; seats by party – AVP 9, MEP 9, POR 2, RED 1; composition as of October 2018 – men 14, women 7, percent of women 33.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba or “Joint Court of Justice” (sits as a 3-judge panel); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court in The Hague, Netherlands

judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed for life by the monarch

subordinate courts: Court in First Instance

Political parties and leaders

Aruban People’s Party or AVP [Michiel “Mike” EMAN]
Democratic Electoral Network or RED [L.R. CROES]
People’s Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Evelyn WEVER-CROES]
Pueblo Orguyoso y Respeta or POR [O.E. ODUBER]
Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]

International organization participation

Caricom (observer), FATF, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note – Guillfred BESARIL (since 20 November 2017) is Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba, seated with his cabinet in the Aruba House (Arubahuis) in The Hague
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands) note – there is a Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba, Rendolf “Andy” LEE, at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Diplomatic representation from the US

the US does not have an embassy in Aruba; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Aruba

Flag description

blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner; the star represents Aruba and its red soil and white beaches, its four points the four major languages (Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English) as well as the four points of a compass, to indicate that its inhabitants come from all over the world; the blue symbolizes Caribbean waters and skies; the stripes represent the island’s two main “industries”: the flow of tourists to the sun-drenched beaches and the flow of minerals from the earth

National symbol(s)

Hooiberg (Haystack) Hill; national colors: blue, yellow, red, white

National anthem


Economy :: Aruba

Economy – overview

Tourism, petroleum bunkering, hospitality, and financial and business services are the mainstays of the small open Aruban economy.

Tourism accounts for a majority of economic activity; as of 2017, over 2 million tourists visited Aruba annually, with the large majority (80-85%) of those from the US. The rapid growth of the tourism sector has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction continues to boom, especially in the hospitality sector.

Aruba is heavily dependent on imports and is making efforts to expand exports to improve its trade balance. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands, and Panama being the major suppliers.

In 2016, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, and the Government of Aruba signed an agreement to restart Valero Energy Corp.’s former 235,000-b/d refinery. Tourism and related industries have continued to grow, and the Aruban Government is working to attract more diverse industries. Aruba’s banking sector continues to be a strong sector; unemployment has significantly decreased.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$4.158 billion (2017 est.)
$4.107 billion (2016 est.)
$4.112 billion (2015 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.7 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

1.2% (2017 est.)
-0.1% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$37,500 (2017 est.)
$37,300 (2016 est.)
$37,700 (2015 est.)

Gross national saving

17% of GDP (2017 est.)
17.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 60.3% (2014 est.)

government consumption: 25.3% (2015 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.3% (2014 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2015 est.)

exports of goods and services: 70.5% (2015 est.)

imports of goods and services: -76.6% (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.4% (2002 est.)

industry: 33.3% (2002 est.)

services: 66.3% (2002 est.)

Agriculture – products

aloes; livestock; fish


tourism, petroleum transshipment facilities, banking

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

51,610 (2007 est.)

note: of the 51,610 workers aged 15 and over in the labor force, 32,252 were born in Aruba and 19,353 came from abroad; foreign workers are 38% of the employed population

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: NA

industry: NA

services: NA

note: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade, followed by hotels and restaurants

Unemployment rate

7.7% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 681.6 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 755.5 million (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

25.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

86% of GDP (2017 est.)
84.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.5% (2017 est.)
-0.9% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

$22 million (2017 est.)
$133 million (2016 est.)


$137.1 million (2017 est.)
$283.1 million (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

US 20.2%, Colombia 17.6%, Venezuela 13%, Netherlands 9.1%, Thailand 8.4%, Panama 4.8% (2017)

Exports – commodities

live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment


$1.122 billion (2017 est.)
$1.142 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery and electrical equipment, refined oil for bunkering and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs

Imports – partners

US 53.7%, Netherlands 13.1% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$921.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$828 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt – external

$693.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$666.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Aruban guilders/florins per US dollar –
1.79 (2017 est.)
1.79 (2016 est.)
1.79 (2015 est.)
1.79 (2014 est.)
1.79 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Aruba

Electricity access

population without electricity: 11,364 (2012)

electrification – total population: 95.6% (2016)
electrification – urban areas: 100% (2016)
electrification – rural areas: 92.5% (2016)

Electricity – production

939 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

873.3 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

296,000 kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

87% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

13% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

8,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

7,891 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

1 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

1 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

1 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

1 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.266 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Aruba

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 35,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (July 2016 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 141,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (July 2016 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: modern fully automatic telecommunications system; increased competition through privatization has increased mobile-cellular teledensity; three mobile-cellular service providers are now licensed; MNO (mobile network operator) launched island-wide LTE services; MNP (mobile number portability) introduced (2018)

domestic: ongoing changes in regulations and competition improving teledensity; 31 per 100 fixed-line, 126 per 100 mobile-cellular (2018)

international: country code – 297; landing points for the PAN-AM, PCCS, Deep Blue Cable, and Alonso de Ojeda submarine telecommunications cable system that extends from Trinidad and Tobago, Florida, Puerto Ricco, Jamaica, Guyana, Sint Eustatius & Saba, Suriname, Dominican Republic, BVI, USVI, Haiti, Cayman Islands, the Netherlands Antilles, through Aruba to Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile; extensive interisland microwave radio relay links (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

2 commercial TV stations; cable TV subscription service provides access to foreign channels; about 19 commercial radio stations broadcast (2017)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 113,277

percent of population: 97.17% (July 2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Aruba

Military and security forces

no regular military forces (2011)

Military – note

defense is the responsibility of the Netherlands; the Aruba security services focus on organized crime and terrorism

Transportation :: Aruba

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 19

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 274,280 (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

P4 (2016)


1 (2020)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 1 (2019)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1


total: 1,000 km (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Barcadera, Oranjestad

oil terminal(s): Sint Nicolaas

cruise port(s): Oranjestad

Transnational Issues :: Aruba

Disputes – international


Illicit drugs

transit point for US- and Europe-bound narcotics with some accompanying money-laundering activity; relatively high percentage of population consumes cocaine


Leave a Reply

Next Post

Antigua and Barbuda

Thu Feb 25 , 2021
Introduction :: Antigua and Barbuda Background The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in […]

You May Like