The territory of Palau is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu are the most populated islands. The latter three are connected by a barrier reef, whereas Angaur is an oceanic island located several miles to the south. Koror is home to about two-thirds of the population.
The uninhabited Rock Islands (approximately 200) lie west of the main island group, while the coral atoll of Kayangel is north of these islands. The states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol are made up of a distant collection of six islands known as the Southwest Islands, located some 375 miles (604 km) from the main islands.
Palau has a tropical climate with an annual mean temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit). Throughout the year, there is a lot of rain, with an average of 3,800 mm (150 in). The average humidity is 82%, and despite the fact that rain falls more often between July and October, there is still plenty of sunlight.
Typhoons are uncommon in Palau since it is located outside of the major typhoon zone. Storm Haiyan in 2013 was the most powerful typhoon to hit Palau since reliable records began. Kayangel was ordered to evacuate in an emergency. Several homes were damaged by a storm surge. Despite homeowners’ reluctance to leave properly, there were no deaths or serious injuries recorded.
Palau has a population of around 21,000 people, 70 percent of whom are native Palauans of mixed Melanesian and Austronesian ancestry. Palau is home to a large number of Asian populations. Filipinos are the country’s biggest Asian population and second largest ethnic group. There are a lot of Chinese and Koreans here. There are also a tiny number of Palauans of Japanese heritage. There are also a small number of Bangladeshi and Nepalese migrant laborers and their descendants who arrived on the islands in the late 1900s. The majority of Palauans of Asian ancestry arrived in the late 1900s, with numerous Filipinos, Chinese, Bangladeshis, and Nepalese arriving as unskilled laborers and professionals. There are also a few Europeans and Americans.
Both the German and Japanese occupations of Palau supported missionaries who followed the Spanish. Three-quarters of the population is Christian (mostly Roman Catholics and Protestants), with Modekngei (a mix of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion, and fortune telling) and the ancient Palauan religion being practiced. Under Japanese control, the predominant faiths among Japanese immigrants were Mahayana Buddhism and Shinto. However, after Japan’s defeat in World War II, the surviving Japanese mainly converted to Christianity, while the rest practiced Buddhism but no longer practiced Shinto rituals. There are also around 400 Bengali Muslims in Palau, and a few Uyghurs imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay were recently permitted to live there.
According to the 2005 census, 49.4% of the population is Roman Catholic, 21.3 % Protestant, 8.7 % Modekngei, and 5.3 % Seventh-day Adventist. In 2010, just 1% of the population was believed to be Buddhist, with the Chinese community also following Chinese folk religion. The tiny Jewish community sent two cyclists to the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009.
The economy of Palau is mainly based on tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular tourist activities in the islands’ rich marine environment, which includes the walls of barrier reefs and World War II wrecks. The government is the biggest employer, and it is largely reliant on financial support from the United States. In the fiscal year 2000/2001, there were about 50,000 business and tourist arrivals.
The population has double the per capita income of Micronesia as a whole. Long-term prospects for the main tourism industry have been significantly enhanced by the growth of Pacific air travel, the increasing wealth of leading East Asian nations, and foreigners’ readiness to fund infrastructure development.
Air service has been patchy at times. During the 2000s, Palau Micronesia Air, Asian Spirit, and Pacific Flier all flew to the Philippines and other locations, but all ceased operations. United Airlines currently offers daily service to and from Guam, as well as once-weekly service to Yap. Delta Air Lines also flies to Tokyo three times each week.
Palau Saving Bank declared bankruptcy in November 2006. The Palau Horizon reported 641 impacted depositors on December 13, the same year. 398 of them had less than $5,000 USD, with the rest having between $5,000 and $2 million USD. On December 12, 79 individuals who had been impacted got compensation. “The money for the payment came from the remainder of the Palau government’s loan from Taiwan,” Mr. Toribiong said. At the time of bankruptcy, $955,000 USD remained from a total of $1 million USD initially intended for supporting Palau’s growth. Toribiong asked that the Taiwanese government utilize the remaining funds to settle its debts. Taiwan granted the request. Those who have less than $4,000 USD in their accounts would be eligible for reimbursement.
The income tax is divided into three categories with progressive rates of 9.3 percent, 15%, and 19.6 percent, respectively. The corporate tax rate is 4%, while the general sales tax rate is 0%. There are no real estate taxes.