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Australia - Oceania :: French Polynesia Print
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FRENCH POLYNESIA
  • Introduction :: French Polynesia
  • Background field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    15 00 S, 140 00 W
    Map references field listing
    Oceania
    Area field listing
    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 field listing
    slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    2,525 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    tropical, but moderate
    Terrain field listing
    mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
    Elevation field listing
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    2241 highest point: Mont Orohena
    Natural resources field listing
    timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
    Land use field listing
    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 field listing
    10 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    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 field listing
    occasional cyclonic storms in January
    Environment - current issues field listing
    sea level rise; extreme weather events (cyclones, storms, and tsunamis producing floods, landslides, erosion, and reef damage); droughts; fresh water scarcity
    Geography - note field listing
    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 field listing
    290,373 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Nationality field listing
    noun: French Polynesian(s)
    adjective: French Polynesian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%
    Languages field listing
    French (official) 70%, Polynesian (official) 28.2%, other 1.8% (2012 est.)
    Religions field listing
    Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%
    Age structure field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    total: 32.4 years
    male: 32.1 years
    female: 32.6 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.85% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Birth rate field listing
    14.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Death rate field listing
    5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Population distribution field listing
    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 field listing
    urban population: 61.8% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    136,000 PAPEETE (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    1.87 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Physicians density field listing
    2.13 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    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 field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    parliamentary democracy (Assembly of French Polynesia); an overseas collectivity of France
    Capital field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    none (overseas lands of France)
    National holiday field listing
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - the local holiday is Internal Autonomy Day, 29 June (1880)
    Constitution field listing
    history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
    amendments: French constitution amendment procedures apply
    Citizenship field listing
    see France
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    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 field listing
    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; composition - men 27, women 30, percent of women 52.6%
    French Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Popular Rally 1, People's Servant Party 1; composition - men 246, women 102, percent of women 29.3%
    French National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Tapura Huiractura 2, Tavini Huiraatura 1; composition - men 353, women 224, percent of women 38.8%; note - total Parliament percent of women 20%

    Judicial branch field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    ITUC (NGOs), PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WMO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (overseas lands of France)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (overseas lands of France)
    Flag description field listing
    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) field listing
    outrigger canoe, Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis) flower; national colors: red, white
    National anthem field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing

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

    NA

    Current account balance field listing
    $207.7 million (2014 est.)
    $158.8 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Exports field listing
    $1.245 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.168 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Exports - partners field listing
    Japan 23.1%, Hong Kong 21.5%, Kyrgyzstan 15.9%, US 15.9%, France 12.4% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat
    Imports field listing
    $2.235 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.271 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Imports - commodities field listing
    fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment
    Imports - partners field listing
    France 27.9%, South Korea 12.1%, US 10.1%, China 7.3%, NZ 6.7%, Singapore 4.2% (2017)
    Debt - external field listing

    NA

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing
    $905 million (2015 est.)
    $822.3 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad field listing
    $349.3 million (2015)
    $310.8 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Exchange rates field listing
    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 field listing
    population without electricity: 116,981 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 59% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 72% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
    Electricity - production field listing
    677.3 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    629.9 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    253,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    70% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    19% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    6,600 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    6,785 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    1.03 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
  • Communications :: French Polynesia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 60,530 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 280,111 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Telephone system field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    .pf
    Internet users field listing
    total: 195,275 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 68.4% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    F-OH (2016)
    Airports field listing
    54 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    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 field listing
    total: 9 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    1 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 2,590 km (1999)
    paved: 1,735 km (1999)
    unpaved: 855 km (1999)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 17 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 8, other 9 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Papeete
  • Military and Security :: French Polynesia
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces (2011)
    Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transnational Issues :: French Polynesia
  • Disputes - international field listing
    none