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French Polynesia Country Information

French Polynesia
Flag of French Polynesia
Map of French Polynesia
Introduction French Polynesia
The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were suspended in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
Geography French Polynesia
Oceania, archipelagoes in the South Pacific Ocean about half way between South America and Australia
Geographic coordinates:
15 00 S, 140 00 W
Map references:
total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
land: 3,660 sq km
water: 507 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
2,525 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical, but moderate
mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m
Natural resources:
timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 0.75%
permanent crops: 5.5%
other: 93.75% (2005)
Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
occasional cyclonic storms in January
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
includes five archipelagoes (four volcanic, one coral); Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru
People French Polynesia
283,019 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.8% (male 35,903/female 34,364)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 100,700/female 93,492)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 9,374/female 9,186) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.7 years
male: 29 years
female: 28.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.425% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
16.16 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
4.67 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.51 years
male: 74.07 years
female: 79.08 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.95 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: French Polynesian(s)
adjective: French Polynesian
Ethnic groups:
Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%
Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%
French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)
definition: age 14 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1977 est.)
Education expenditures:
( )
Government French Polynesia
Country name:
conventional long form: Overseas Lands of French Polynesia
conventional short form: French Polynesia
local long form: Pays d'outre-mer de la Polynesie Francaise
local short form: Polynesie Francaise
former: French Colony of Oceania
Dependency status:
overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2004
Government type:
name: Papeete
geographic coordinates: 17 32 S, 149 34 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas lands of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five archipelagic divisions named Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Iles du Vent, Iles Sous-le-Vent
none (overseas lands of France)
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
the laws of France, where applicable, apply
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Adolphe COLRAT (since 7 July 2008)
head of government: President of French Polynesia Gaston TONG SANG (since 15 April 2008); President of the Territorial Assembly Antony GEROS (since 9 May 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the territorial government and the president of the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly for five-year terms (no term limits)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (57 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 27 January 2008 (first round) and 10 February 2008 (second round) (next to be held NA 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - Our Home alliance 45.2%, Union for Democracy alliance 37.2%, Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) 17.2% other 0.5%; seats by party - Our Home alliance 27, Union for Democracy alliance 20, Popular Rally 10
note: one seat was elected to the French Senate on 27 September 1998 (next to be held in September 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held in 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP/RPR 1, UMP 1
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for a New Democracy or ADN [Nicole BOUTEAU and Philip SCHYLE](includes the parties The New Star and This Country is Yours); Independent Front for the Liberation of Polynesia (Tavini Huiraatira) [Oscar TEMARU]; New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api) [Emile VERNAUDON]; Our Home alliance; People's Rally for the Republic of Polynesia or RPR (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) [Gaston FLOSSE]; Union for Democracy alliance or UPD [Oscar TEMARU]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
FZ, ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas lands of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas lands of France)
Flag description:
two narrow red horizontal bands encase a wide white band; centered on the white band is a disk with a blue and white wave pattern on the lower half and a gold and white ray pattern on the upper half; a stylized red, blue, and white ship rides on the wave pattern; the French flag is used for official occasions
Government - note:
under certain acts of France, French Polynesia has acquired autonomy in all areas except those relating to police and justice, monetary policy, tertiary education, immigration, and defense and foreign affairs; the duties of its president are fashioned after those of the French prime minister
Economy French Polynesia
Economy - overview:
Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence agricultural economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. With the halt of French nuclear testing in 1996, the military contribution to the economy fell sharply. Tourism accounts for about one-fourth of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. Other sources of income are pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products. The territory benefits substantially from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4.58 billion (2003 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.8 billion (2002)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.1% (2002)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$17,500 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 19%
services: 77.8% (2005)
Labor force:
65,930 (December 2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 19%
services: 68% (2002)
Unemployment rate:
11.7% (2005)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.1% (2006 est.)
revenues: $865 million
expenditures: $644.1 million (1999)
Agriculture - products:
fish; coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products
tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
462 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 60.7%
hydro: 39.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
429.7 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
5,800 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
5,678 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
$211 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat
Exports - partners:
France 46.3%, Japan 20.8%, Niger 12.8%, US 12.5% (2006)
$1.706 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment
Imports - partners:
France 52.7%, Singapore 14.9%, NZ 6.8%, US 6.6% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:
$579.8 million (2004)
Debt - external:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Currency (code):
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 87.59 (2007), 94.97 (2006), 95.89 (2005), 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003)
note: pegged at the rate of 119.25 XPF to the euro
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications French Polynesia
Telephones - main lines in use:
53,600 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
174,800 (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 689; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 14, shortwave 2 (1998)
128,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)
40,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
14,059 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
75,000 (2007)
Transportation French Polynesia
54 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 37
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 8 (2007)
1 (2007)
total: 2,590 km
paved: 1,735 km
unpaved: 855 km (1999)
Merchant marine:
total: 15 ships (1000 GRT or over) 27,726 GRT/21,109 DWT
by type: cargo 6, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 5, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Wallis and Futuna 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Military French Polynesia
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Gendarmerie and National Police Force (2007)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 79,540 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 64,287 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 2,699
female: 2,589 (2008 est.)
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues French Polynesia
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Thu, 07 Dec 2023 00:51:46 +0000