The 33 small islands that form the nation of Kiribati (pronounced KIR-ih-bahss) are scattered across 1.35 million square miles (3.5 million square kilometers) of the Pacific Ocean. The islands lie in three island groups: Gilbert, Phoenix, and Line. The capital atoll, Tarawa, is in the Gilbert group. Only 21 of the nation’s 33 islands are inhabited.
Nearly all I-Kiribati are Micronesian, though a few Tuvaluans (ethnic Polynesians) and expatriates (mostly Australian) also live there. Most people live in the Gilbert Islands. More than half of the population lives on Tarawa in the only urban area, South Tarawa, which is densely populated.