States of Palau

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I added populations from the 2005 census, and a note about the capital.

FIPS PUB 10-4 Change Notice 13 was issued on 2008-02-04. It provides codes for the states of Palau.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-8, published on 2007-04-17, has new ISO state codes for Palau. In the table below, they are identical to the older FIPS 6-4 codes. The ISO newsletter uses Hatobohei as the spelling of the fourth state in the list. Because ISO now recognizes these as primary divisions, I've promoted them from secondary divisions.

Country overview: 

Short namePALAU
ISO codePW
LanguageEnglish (en)
Time zone+9


Palau consists of some of the westernmost of the Caroline Islands, in Micronesia. Germany bought almost all of Micronesia from Spain in the 1890s. The islands were conquered by Japan, and mandated to it in 1920 by the League of Nations. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was created on 1947-04-02 and granted in trust to the United States. This territory was divided into districts, one of which was Palau. On 1994-10-01, Palau became a freely associated state of the United States, a status somewhere between protectorate and independent country.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Palau Republikken
  2. Dutch: Palau, Republiek Palau (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Palau (formal), Belau (variant)
  4. Finnish: Palau
  5. French: Belau, Palaos p
  6. German: Belau, Palau n
  7. Icelandic: Palá
  8. Italian: Palau
  9. Norwegian: Palau
  10. Portuguese: Palau, República f de Palau (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Палау (formal)
  12. Spanish: Palaos, República f de Palaos (formal)
  13. Swedish: Palau
  14. Turkish: Palau Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Primary subdivisions: 

Palau is divided into sixteen states.

16 states19,90717,225487188
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. Same as the old FIPS PUB 6-4 codes (see note).
  • FIPS: codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-2005: 2005-04-01 census (source [2]).
  • Pop-1995: 1995-09-09 census (source [1]).
  • Area: Source [1].
  • Capital: Data provided by Karem Abdalla.


Note: FIPS PUB 5-2 and FIPS PUB 6-4 are U.S. government standards. FIPS PUB 5-2 assigns a two-letter code and a two-digit code to each state-level division of the United States. The codes for Palau are PW and 70. FIPS PUB 6-4 assigns a three-digit code to each county-level division of the United States. When the FIPS 5-2 and 6-4 codes are concatenated, as in 70004 for Airai, the result is a code that uniquely identifies a county-level division of the United States. Since Palau became an independent country ("freely associated state") in 1994, these codes may no longer be applicable.

Note: The capital is located in Ngerulmud, which is a village or settlement in Melekeok state.

Territorial extent: 

Palau includes a chain of islands running from Tobi in the southwest to Kayangel Atoll in the northeast. The largest, and the site of the capital, is Babelthuap Island.

  1. Babelthuap Island (often spelled Babeldaob), the largest in the Palau group, includes all of the states except the ones described below.
  2. Angaur includes Angaur Island.
  3. Hatohobei, at the southwest end of the group, includes the islands of Hatohobei, Hotsarihie (Helen's Reef), and Pieraurou.
  4. Kayangel, at the northeast end of the group, includes Kayangel Island.
  5. Koror includes Koror, Malakal, Arakabesan, Chelbacheb (Rock Islands), and several other islands.
  6. Peleliu includes Peleliu Island and others.
  7. Sonsorol includes Sonsorol, Fanna, Merir, and Pulo Anna.

The UN LOCODE page  for Palau lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. 1984: Status of the divisions of Palau changed from municipalities to states
  2. ~1994: Spelling of Melekeiok changed to Melekeok; spelling of Ngaremlengui changed to Ngeremlengui, and its code changed from 223 to 227; name of Tobi changed to Hatobohei, and its code changed from 380 to 050; Palau Islands Unorganized Territory (code 300) annexed to Koror and Peleliu.
  3. 2006-10-01: Capital of country officially moved from Koror to Ngerulmud, in Melekeok state. (The actual move took place on 2006-10-07 to coincide with the full moon.)

Other names of subdivisions:

  1. Hatohobei: Hatobei, Hatobohei (variant); Tobi (obsolete)
  2. Ngeremlengui: Ngaremlengui (variant)


  1. [1] 1995 Census of Population and Housing, Republic of Palau (retrieved 2002-06-30 from, now a dead link).
  2. [2] 2005 Census of Population and Housing  (retrieved 2010-07-07)
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