The climate is hot and humid, with a wet season from May to
November. The islands occasionally suffer from typhoons. Many Pacific
typhoons start in the Marshall Islands region and grow stronger as they
move west toward the Mariana Islands and the Philippines.
Both Marshallese and English are the official languages of the
Marshall Islands. Marshallese belongs to the Austronesian Language
Family, the most geographically widespread language family in the world.
Of the Austronesian languages, Marshallese is a member of the Malayo
Polynesian group, a group which contains 880 different languages. In the
Marshalls, two major dialects have emerged, one in the Ralik chain and
one in the Ratak chain of atolls. The differences between the two
dialects is minor.
Islands use the U.S. dollar as their currency. This has the advantages
of not having the expense of running a central bank, the currency is
completely convertible, and price stability is reasonably well ensured
as the Marshallese do not have the ability to print currency.
population of Marshall Islands in 2003 was estimated by the United
Nations at 55, 000, which placed it as number 185 in population among
the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 2% of the
population was over 65 years of age, with another 49% of the population
under 15 years of age.
Majuro is a
large coral atoll of 64 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a
legislative district of the Ratak Chain of the Marshall Islands.