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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

tropical, but moderate

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
15 00 S, 140 00 W

Natural resources:
timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m

mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs

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

total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
land: 3,660 sq km
water: 507 sq km

Oceania, archipelagoes in the South Pacific Ocean about half way between South America and Australia

2,525 km

Area - comparative:
slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
occasional cyclonic storms in January

Land use:
arable land: 0.75%
permanent crops: 5.5%
other: 93.75% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.95 children born/woman (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.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.51 years
male: 74.07 years
female: 79.08 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 14 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1977 est.)

Net migration rate:
2.77 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%

Median age:
total: 28.7 years
male: 29 years
female: 28.4 years (2008 est.)

283,019 (July 2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.425% (2008 est.)

French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)

Death rate:
4.67 deaths/1,000 population (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.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

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.)

Birth rate:
16.16 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%

noun: French Polynesian(s)
adjective: French Polynesian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas lands of France)

National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas lands of France)

Dependency status:
overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2004

International organization participation:
FZ, ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WMO

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 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PS 1, independent 1; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 10-17 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Legal system:
the laws of France, where applicable, apply

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

none (overseas lands of France)

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

Country name (Goverment):
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

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]

name: Papeete
geographic coordinates: 17 32 S, 149 34 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

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)

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Electricity - consumption:
441.8 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:

Unemployment rate:
11.7% (2005)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$17,500 (2003 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4.58 billion (2003 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.8 billion (2002)

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

GDP - real growth rate:
5.1% (2002)

Labor force:
65,930 (December 2005)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.1% (2006 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 19%
services: 77.8% (2005)

Oil - imports:
6,271 bbl/day (2005)

$211 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)

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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment

tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Electricity - production:
475 million kWh (2006 est.)

$1.706 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 19%
services: 68% (2002)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
6,082 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat

Economic aid - recipient:
$579.8 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 60.7%
hydro: 39.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $865 million
expenditures: $644.1 million (1999)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
75,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
53,600 (2006)

40,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 14, shortwave 2 (1998)

128,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
174,800 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 689; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
14,070 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:

1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 15
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)

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)

total: 2,590 km
paved: 1,735 km
unpaved: 855 km (1999)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 8 (2007)

54 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 79,540 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of France

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 64,287 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Gendarmerie and National Police Force (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 2,699
female: 2,589 (2008 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

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