Australia - Oceania :: French Polynesia
  • Introduction :: French Polynesia
  • Background:
    The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In 1966, the French Government began testing nuclear weapons on the uninhabited Mururoa Atoll; following mounting opposition, the tests were moved underground in 1975. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing after a three-year moratorium. The tests were halted in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
  • Geography :: French Polynesia
  • Location:
    Oceania, five archipelagoes (Archipel des Tuamotu, Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between South America and Australia
    Geographic coordinates:
    15 00 S, 140 00 W
    Map references:
    Oceania
    Area:
    total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls; 67 are inhabited)
    land: 3,827 sq km
    water: 340 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Area - comparative:
    slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    2,525 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical, but moderate
    Terrain:
    mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    2241 highest point: Mont Orohena
    Natural resources:
    timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 12.5% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 6.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 5.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 43.7% (2011 est.)
    other: 43.8% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    10 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    the majority of the population lives in the Society Islands, one of five archipelagos that includes the most populous island - Tahiti - with approximately 70% of the nation's population
    Natural hazards:
    occasional cyclonic storms in January
    Environment - current issues:
    sea level rise; extreme weather events (cyclones, storms, and tsunamis producing floods, landslides, erosion, and reef damage); droughts; fresh water scarcity
    Geography - note:
    includes five archipelagoes: four volcanic (Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) and one coral (Archipel des Tuamotu); the Tuamotu Archipelago forms the largest group of atolls in the world - 78 in total, 48 inhabited; Makatea in the Tuamotu Archipelago is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru
  • People and Society :: French Polynesia
  • Population:
    290,373 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Nationality:
    noun: French Polynesian(s)
    adjective: French Polynesian
    Ethnic groups:
    Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%
    Languages:
    French (official) 70%, Polynesian (official) 28.2%, other 1.8% (2012 est.)
    Religions:
    Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 22.21% (male 33,165 /female 31,322)
    15-24 years: 15.37% (male 23,232 /female 21,405)
    25-54 years: 44.4% (male 66,074 /female 62,854)
    55-64 years: 9.72% (male 14,503 /female 13,719)
    65 years and over: 8.3% (male 11,634 /female 12,465) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 45.3 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 34.8 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 10.5 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 9.5 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 32.4 years
    male: 32.1 years
    female: 32.6 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Population growth rate:
    0.85% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Birth rate:
    14.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Death rate:
    5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Net migration rate:
    -0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Population distribution:
    the majority of the population lives in the Society Islands, one of five archipelagos that includes the most populous island - Tahiti - with approximately 70% of the nation's population
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 61.8% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    136,000 PAPEETE (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 5.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 4.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 77.5 years (2018 est.)
    male: 75.2 years (2018 est.)
    female: 80 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Total fertility rate:
    1.87 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Physicians density:
    2.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 98.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 98.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 98.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 1.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 1.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 1.5% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 56.7% (2012 est.)
    male: 54.5% (2012 est.)
    female: 59.7% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
  • 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: Establishments in Oceania, French Establishments in Oceania
    etymology: the term "Polynesia" is an 18th-century construct composed of two Greek words, "poly" (many) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to the more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean
    Dependency status:
    overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2003; overseas collectivity of France since 2003, though it is often referred to as an overseas country due to its degree of autonomy
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (Assembly of French Polynesia); an overseas collectivity of France
    Capital:
    name: Papeete (located on Tahiti)
    geographic coordinates: 17 32 S, 149 34 W
    time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    5 administrative subdivisions (subdivisions administratives, singular - subdivision administrative): Iles Australes (Austral Islands), Iles du Vent (Windward Islands), Iles Marquises (Marquesas Islands), Iles Sous-le-Vent (Leeward Islands), Iles Tuamotu-Gambier; note - the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands together make up the Society Islands (Iles de la Societe)
    Independence:
    none (overseas lands of France)
    National holiday:
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - the local holiday is Internal Autonomy Day, 29 June (1880)
    Constitution:
    history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
    amendments: French constitution amendment procedures apply
    Citizenship:
    see France
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Rene BIDALL (since 30 May 2016)
    head of government: President of French Polynesia Edouard FRITCH (since 12 September 2014)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers approved by the Assembly from a list of its members submitted by the president
    elections/appointments: French president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; French Polynesia president indirectly elected by Assembly of French Polynesia for a 5-year term (no term limits)
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Assembly of French Polynesia or Assemblee de la Polynesie Francaise (57 seats; elections held in 2 rounds; in the second round, 38 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by a closed-list proportional representation vote; the party receiving the most votes gets an additional 19 seats; members serve 5-year terms)
    French Polynesia indirectly elects 2 senators to the French Senate via an electoral college by absolute majority vote for 6-year terms with one-half the membership renewed every 3 years and directly elects 3 deputies to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for 5-year terms
    elections:

    Assembly of French Polynesia - last held on 22 April 2018 and 6 May 2018 (next to be held in 2023)

    French Senate – last held in September 2017 (next to be held In September 2020)

    French National Assembly – last held in 2 rounds on 3 and 17 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022)

    election results:

    Assembly of French Polynesia - percent of vote by party - Tapura Huiraatira 45.1%, Popular Rally 29.3%, Tavini Huiraatira 25.6%; seats by party - Tapura Huiraatira 38, Popular Rally 11, Tavini Huiraatira 8

    French Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Popular Rally 1, People's Servant Party 1

    French National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Tapura Huiractura 2, Tavini Huiraatura 1

    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel (composition NA); note - appeals beyond the French Polynesia Court of Appeal are heard by the Court of Cassation (in Paris)
    judge selection and term of office: judges assigned from France normally for 3 years
    subordinate courts: Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif
    Political parties and leaders:
    A Tia Porinetia [Teva ROHFRITSCH]
    Alliance for a New Democracy or ADN (includes The New Star [Philip SCHYLE], This Country is Yours [Nicole BOUTEAU])
    New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api) [Emile VERNAUDON]
    Our Home alliance
    People's Servant Party (Tavini Huiraatira) [Oscar TEMARU]
    Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) [Gaston FLOSSE]
    Tapura Huiraatira [Edouard FRITICH]
    Tavini Huiraatira [James CHANCELOR]
    Union for Democracy alliance or UPD [Oscar TEMARU]
    International organization participation:
    ITUC (NGOs), 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 red horizontal bands encase a wide white band in a 1:2:1 ratio; centered on the white band is a disk with a blue and white wave pattern depicting the sea on the lower half and a gold and white ray pattern depicting the sun on the upper half; a Polynesian canoe rides on the wave pattern; the canoe has a crew of five represented by five stars that symbolize the five island groups; red and white are traditional Polynesian colors

    note: identical to the red-white-red flag of Tahiti, the largest and most populous of the islands in French Polynesia, but which has no emblem in the white band; the flag of France is used for official occasions

    National symbol(s):
    outrigger canoe, Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis) flower; national colors: red, white
    National anthem:
    name: "Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" (Long Live Tahiti Nui)
    lyrics/music: Maeva BOUGES, Irmine TEHEI, Angele TEROROTUA, Johanna NOUVEAU, Patrick AMARU, Louis MAMATUI, and Jean-Pierre CELESTIN (the compositional group created both the lyrics and music)

    note: adopted 1993; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

    Government - note:
    under certain acts of France, French Polynesia has acquired autonomy in all areas except those relating to police, 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.

    After growing at an average yearly rate of 4.2% from 1997-2007, the economic and financial crisis in 2008 marked French Polynesia’s entry into recession. However, since 2014, French Polynesia has shown signs of recovery. Business turnover reached 1.8% year-on-year in September 2016, tourism increased 1.8% in 2015, and GDP grew 2.0% in 2015.

    French Polynesia’s tourism-dominated service sector accounted for 85% of total value added for the economy in 2012. Tourism employs 17% of the workforce. Pearl farming is the second biggest industry, accounting for 54% of exports in 2015; however, the output has decreased to 12.5 tons – the lowest level since 2008. A small manufacturing sector predominantly processes commodities from French Polynesia’s primary sector - 8% of total economy in 2012 - including agriculture and fishing.

    France has agreed to finance infrastructure, marine businesses, and cultural and ecological sites at roughly $80 million per year between 2015 and 2020. Japan, the US, and China are French Polynesia’s three largest trade partners.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $5.49 billion (2015 est.)
    $5.383 billion (2014 est.)
    $6.963 billion (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $4.795 billion (2015 est.) (2015 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    2% (2015 est.)
    -2.7% (2014 est.)
    -2.5% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $17,000 (2015 est.)
    $20,100 (2014 est.)
    $22,700 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 66.9% (2014 est.)
    government consumption: 33.6% (2014 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 19.4% (2014 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.1% (2014 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 17.5% (2014 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -37.5% (2014 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 2.5% (2009)
    industry: 13% (2009)
    services: 84.5% (2009)
    Agriculture - products:
    coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products; fish
    Industries:
    tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates
    Industrial production growth rate:
    NA
    Labor force:
    126,300 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 68% (2013)
    industry: 19% (2013 est.)
    services: 68% (2013 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    21.8% (2012)
    11.7% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Population below poverty line:
    19.7% (2009 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 1.891 billion (2012)
    expenditures: 1.833 billion (2011)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    39.4% (of GDP) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    1.2% (of GDP) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    0% (2015 est.)
    0.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Stock of broad money:
    $3.81 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Market value of publicly traded shares:

    NA

    Current account balance:
    $207.7 million (2014 est.)
    $158.8 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Exports:
    $1.245 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.168 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Exports - commodities:
    cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat
    Exports - partners:
    Japan 23.1%, Hong Kong 21.5%, Kyrgyzstan 15.9%, US 15.9%, France 12.4% (2017)
    Imports:
    $2.235 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.271 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Imports - commodities:
    fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment
    Imports - partners:
    France 27.9%, South Korea 12.1%, US 10.1%, China 7.3%, NZ 6.7%, Singapore 4.2% (2017)
    Debt - external:

    NA

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
    $905 million (2015 est.)
    $822.3 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
    $349.3 million (2015)
    $310.8 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Exchange rates:
    Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -
    110.2 (2017 est.)
    107.84 (2016 est.)
    107.84 (2015 est.)
    89.85 (2014 est.)
    90.56 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: French Polynesia
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 116,981 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 59% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 72% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    626 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Electricity - consumption:
    582.2 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    249,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    71.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    18.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    10.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    7,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    6,636 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    1.1 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
  • Communications :: French Polynesia
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 60,530 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 280,111 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Telephone system:
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular density is roughly 110 per 100 persons (2016)
    international: country code - 689; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2016)
    Broadcast media:
    French public overseas broadcaster Reseau Outre-Mer provides 2 TV channels and 1 radio station; 1 government-owned TV station; a small number of privately owned radio stations (2018)
    Internet country code:
    .pf
    Internet users:
    total: 195,275 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 68.4% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 55,443 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
  • Transportation :: French Polynesia
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (registered in France) (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21 (registered in France) (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    F-OH (2016)
    Airports:
    54 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 45 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 33 (2017)
    under 914 m: 5 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 9 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    Heliports:
    1 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 2,590 km (1999)
    paved: 1,735 km (1999)
    unpaved: 855 km (1999)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Merchant marine:
    total: 17 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 8, other 9 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Papeete
  • Military and Security :: French Polynesia
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces (2011)
    Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transnational Issues :: French Polynesia
  • Disputes - international:
    none