The country of Nauru is an island located in Micronesia. Nauru – once known as Pleasant Island – is located in the Central Pacific and is about 190 miles from its closest neighbor, Kiribati’s Banaba Island.
Nauru has just over eight square miles of land area and is the third smallest country in the world, only falling behind Monaco and Vatican City. It is the smallest island country in the world. Its population is just as small, with just 11,200 inhabitants based on census data from 2018. This makes it the second smallest country by population, beating out Vatican City. It is the least populous country in Oceania. However, despite its small population, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population density of over 1,243 people per square mile.
Nauru’s largest city is Denigomodu. About 25% of the population – or over 1,800 people – live in this district. The population has declined in recent years after 1,500 inhabitants left the island following the repatriation of immigrant workers.
The largest ethnic group on the island are Nauruan. Over one-quarter of the population is Pacific Islander. Other ethnic groups include Europeans and Han Chinese. The majority of Nauruans speak Nauru. Though about 96% of the population speaks this language at home, English is also used and is the language used by the government and for commerce.
Most Nauruans practice various forms of Christianity, with faiths including Roman Catholic and Baptist. Although there is freedom of religion on the island, the government has imposed restrictions on Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.