Back To CourseGeography: Middle School
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David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.
For Americans, the Pacific might seem like little more than a dream holiday destination. But there's a lot more to these areas than their beautiful weather and unspoiled beaches.
Australia and the Pacific Islands cover a wide area and include a population of 37 million people. For this reason, summarizing the economy of the area is difficult: it varies a lot by island. But there are certain generalizations we can make. Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii are the only fully developed nations in the area, and so their economies are quite different than the remainder of the islands. Since they have many similarities, let's first talk about those three countries.
Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii (which is part of the United States), like most developed countries, have significantly service-driven economies. The service sector is much bigger than any other single sector for all three: it accounts for 68% of Australia's GDP (that's gross domestic product), 63% of New Zealand's GDP and a full 90% of Hawaii's GDP. These services include healthcare, law, accounting, tourism, engineering, government services (including the armed forces), finance and education.
In the case of Hawaii, tourism is very much responsible for the large service industry - few countries in the Pacific come close to achieving Hawaii's success in promoting itself as a tourist destination. There's a reason that saying the word 'Hawaii' makes most people think of sunny weather, pristine sandy beaches and hula dancing.
Australia's next most important sector is industry at 27% of GDP as of 2012. This includes mining and manufacturing. Agriculture is also an important sector at three to four percent of GDP. New Zealand's next most important sector is also industry at 23% of GDP as of 2013, a full 6.5% of which is primary industry. Hawaii's remaining ten percent is spread between agriculture, manufacturing and fishing.
Australia's main industries (in order of importance) are mining, industrial and transport equipment, food, chemicals and steel. Mining in particular has been a boom industry in Australia since the 1960s. New Zealand's main industries are food, textiles, industrial and transport equipment, finance, tourism and mining.
Australia and New Zealand are both part of several trade organizations, including APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), WTO (World Trade Organizations), EAS (East Asia Summit) and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). But most notably for the focus of this lesson, EAS has the potential to become a full trade bloc in the future. This is especially important for the smaller pacific islands that rely on trade with Australia and New Zealand. Australia mainly exports to China and Japan and imports from China and the U.S. New Zealand's main import and export partners are Australia, China and the U.S.
The remainder of the Pacific is much less developed, and so their economies are quite different. To this day, quite a few of the Pacific Islands are mostly agriculture industries. But it's important to bear in mind that these agriculture industries are quite different from those in more developed population. Many of the inhabitants of the islands are subsistence farmers, who focus on farming just enough to feed and clothe their families. This means that, although their incomes are low, their standard of living is higher than you might expect. A lot of these families make their own clothes and produce goods manually for themselves. When items are imported, they usually come from Australia, New Zealand or the United States.
Agriculture aside, the service sector (almost chiefly tourism) is vitally important to the Pacific Islands. Even on islands where agriculture is the focus, tourism tends to still be a reasonable chunk of the economy. And in many places, tourism completely eclipses it. Fiji, for example, welcomes around 500,000 tourists per year. Guam and French Polynesia are also highly popular destinations - though Hawaii has far more tourists per year than any of them.
Australia and the Pacific Islands as a whole cover a wide area and include a population of 37 million people. This makes summarizing their economies difficult. Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii have significantly service-driven economies. These services include healthcare, law, accounting, tourism, engineering, government services (including the armed forces), finance and education. After services, industry is the next most important sector, followed by agriculture.
Australia's main industries are mining, industrial and transport equipment, food, chemicals and steel. New Zealand's main industries are food, textiles, industrial and transport equipment, finance, tourism and mining. Australia and New Zealand are both part of several trade organizations, including APEC, WTO, EAS and the OECD. Trade is especially important for the smaller pacific islands that rely on it for their economies to function.
The remainder of the Pacific is much less developed, and so their economies are quite different. The primary focus of their economies is agriculture and tourism. The exact balance of those things depends on the island. Fiji, Guam and French Polynesia have particularly large amounts of tourism. But many Pacific Islands are dominated by subsistence farmers, who focus on farming enough to feed and clothe their families. When items are imported, they usually come from Australia, New Zealand or the United States.
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Back To CourseGeography: Middle School
55 chapters | 528 lessons