The Republic of Kiribati consists of 33 islands, with a land area of 726 square kilometers, widely scattered over the Central Pacific Ocean on both sides of the equator and the international dateline. The population of 66,000 is 98 percent Micronesian. The Gilbert group, where nearly all of the population resides, is a chain of 16 islands extending for 700 kilometers in a northwesterly to southeasterly direction. The Phoenix group is 1,600 kilometers to the east and is presently uninhabited. The Line group is 3,000 kilometers to the east and only the three northern islands are inhabited. Although the land mass is very small, the 200-mile economic zone around the islands covers an area of more than 3 million square kilometers, a much larger share of the ocean than enjoyed by any other country in the region.