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World > Oceania > Marshall Islands > People (Notes)

Marshall Islands - People (Notes)


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE
The Marshall Islands is comprised of 29 atolls and five single islands, which form two parallel groups--the 'Ratak' (sunrise) chain and the 'Ralik'(sunset) chain. Two-thirds of the nation's population lives in Majuro and Ebeye. The outer islands are sparsely populated due to lack of employment opportunities and economic development.


The Marshallese are of Micronesian origin, which is traced to a combination of peoples who emigrated from Southeast Asia in the remote past. The matrilineal Marshallese culture revolves around a complex system of clans and lineages tied to land ownership.


Virtually all Marshallese are Christian, most of them Protestant. Other Christian denominations include Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Mormon, Salvation Army, and Jehovah's Witness. A small Bahai community also exists.


Marshallese is the official language. English is spoken to some extent by most of the adult urban population. However, both the Nitijela (parliament) and national radio use Marshallese.


The public school system provides education through grade 12, although admission to secondary school is selective. The elementary program employs a bilingual/bicultural curriculum. English is introduced in the fourth grade. Many Marshallese and American observers have lamented the poor state of the public education system as a major stumbling block to economic development. The Marshall Islands' largest secondary institution--the 2-year College of the Marshall Islands--has experienced U.S. accreditation problems since 2003. However, thanks to an increase in funding, it has shown steady improvement since and is heading toward full accreditation. The University of the South Pacific offers courses at a small campus on Majuro.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - US Dollar Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
US Dollar Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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