Northern Mariana Iss Economy - 2021


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Economic overview

The economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands(CNMI) has been on the rebound in the last few years, mainly on the strength of its tourism industry. In 2016, the CNMI’s real GDP increased 28.6% over the previous year, following two years of relatively rapid growth in 2014 and 2015. Chinese and Korean tourists have supplanted Japanese tourists in the last few years. The Commonwealth is making a concerted effort to broaden its tourism by extending casino gambling from the small Islands of Tinian and Rota to the main Island of Saipan, its political and commercial center. Investment is concentrated on hotels and casinos in Saipan, the CNMI’s largest island and home to about 90% of its population.

Federal grants have also contributed to economic growth and stability. In 2016, federal grants amounted to $101.4 billion which made up 26% of the CNMI government’s total revenues. A small agriculture sector consists of cattle ranches and small farms producing coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons.

Legislation is pending in the US Congress to extend the transition period to allow foreign workers to work in the CNMI on temporary visas.

Real GDP growth rate

28.6% (2016 est.)

3.8% (2015 est.)

3.5% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.3% (2016 est.)

0.1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.242 billion (2016 est.)

$933 million (2015 est.)

$845 million (2014 est.)

note: GDP estimate includes US subsidy; data are in 2013 dollars

country comparison to the world: 206

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.242 billion (2016 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$24,500 (2016 est.)

$18,400 (2015 est.)

$16,600 (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7% (2016)

industry: 58.1% (2016 est.)

services: 40.2% (2016)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 43.1% (2016 est.)

government consumption: 28.9% (2016 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 26.3% (2016 est.)

investment in inventories: NA (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 73.6% (2016 est.)

imports of goods and services: -71.9% (2016 est.)

Agricultural products

vegetables and melons, fruits and nuts; ornamental plants; livestock, poultry, eggs; fish and aquaculture products


tourism, banking, construction, fishing, handicrafts, other services

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

27,970 (2010 est.)

note: includes foreign workers

country comparison to the world: 204

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.9%

industry: 10%

services: 88.1% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate

11.2% (2010 est.)

8% (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 158

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA


revenues: 389.6 million (2016 est.)

expenditures: 344 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

31.4% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

3.7% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Public debt

7.1% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September


$914 million (2016 est.)

$520 million (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 162

Exports - partners

South Korea 73%, Peru 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

scrap iron, scrap copper, scrap aluminum, computers, laboratory diagnostic equipment (2019)


$893 million (2016 est.)

$638 million (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Imports - partners

Hong Kong 29%, Japan 29%, Singapore 16%, South Korea 9% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, trunks/cases, cars, watches, jewelry (2019)

Debt - external


Exchange rates

the US dollar is used

NOTE: The information regarding Northern Mariana Iss on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Northern Mariana Iss 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Northern Mariana Iss 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.