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Australia - Oceania :: New Caledonia Print
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NEW CALEDONIA
  • Introduction :: New Caledonia
  • Background field listing
    Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island became a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s ended in the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over two decades transferred an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. In a referendum held in November 2018, residents rejected independence and decided to retain their territorial status, although two additional referendums may occur in 2020 and 2022, per the Noumea Accord.
  • Geography :: New Caledonia
  • Location field listing
    Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    21 30 S, 165 30 E
    Map references field listing
    Oceania
    Area field listing
    total: 18,575 sq km
    land: 18,275 sq km
    water: 300 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than New Jersey
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    2,254 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
    Terrain field listing
    coastal plains with interior mountains
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
    Natural resources field listing
    nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 10.4% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 9.8% (2011 est.)
    forest: 45.9% (2011 est.)
    other: 43.7% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    100 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    most of the populace lives in the southern part of the main island, in and around the capital of Noumea
    Natural hazards field listing

    cyclones, most frequent from November to March

    volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active

    Environment - current issues field listing
    preservation of coral reefs; prevention of invasive species; limiting erosion caused by nickel mining and forest fires
    Geography - note field listing
    consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls
  • People and Society :: New Caledonia
  • Population field listing
    282,754 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Nationality field listing
    noun: New Caledonian(s)
    adjective: New Caledonian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Kanak 39.1%, European 27.1%, Wallisian, Futunian 8.2%, Tahitian 2.1%, Indonesian 1.4%, Ni-Vanuatu 1%, Vietnamese 0.9%, other 17.7%, unspecified 2.5% (2014 est.)
    Languages field listing
    French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
    Religions field listing
    Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 22.19% (male 32,057 /female 30,675)
    15-24 years: 16.16% (male 23,355 /female 22,349)
    25-54 years: 43.66% (male 62,227 /female 61,215)
    55-64 years: 8.57% (male 11,713 /female 12,530)
    65 years and over: 9.42% (male 11,790 /female 14,843) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 48.3 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 33.9 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 14.4 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 6.9 (2015 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 32.3 years (2018 est.)
    male: 31.5 years
    female: 33 years
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Population growth rate field listing
    1.3% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Birth rate field listing
    14.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Death rate field listing
    5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Net migration rate field listing
    3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)

    note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia

    country comparison to the world: 34
    Population distribution field listing
    most of the populace lives in the southern part of the main island, in and around the capital of Noumea
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 71.1% of total population (2019)
    rate of urbanization: 1.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    198,000 NOUMEA (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 5.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 6.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 78 years (2018 est.)
    male: 74.1 years
    female: 82.2 years
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.92 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 98.5% of population
    rural: 98.5% of population
    total: 98.5% of population
    unimproved: urban: 1.5% of population
    rural: 1.5% of population
    total: 1.5% of population (2015 est.)
    Physicians density field listing
    2.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    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.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Major infectious diseases field listing

    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

    Education expenditures field listing
    NA
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 96.9%
    male: 97.3%
    female: 96.5% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 38.4%
    male: 37.1%
    female: 40% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
  • Government :: New Caledonia
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
    conventional short form: New Caledonia
    local long form: Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances
    local short form: Nouvelle-Caledonie
    etymology: British explorer Captain James COOK discovered and named New Caledonia in 1774; he used the appellation because the northeast of the island reminded him of Scotland (Caledonia is the Latin designation for Scotland)
    Dependency status field listing
    special collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998; note - an independence referendum took place on 4 November 2018 with a majority voting to reject independence in favor of maintaining the status quo; two additional referenda, still unsceheduled, may occur in 2020 and 2022
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary democracy (Territorial Congress); an overseas collectivity of France
    Capital field listing
    name: Noumea
    geographic coordinates: 22 16 S, 166 27 E
    time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing
    3 provinces; Province Iles (Islands Province), Province Nord (North Province), and Province Sud (South Province)
    Independence field listing
    none (overseas collectivity of France); note - in an independence referendum on 4 November 2018, the majority voted to reject independence in favor of maintaining the status quo
    National holiday field listing
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)
    Constitution field listing
    history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution with changes as reflected in the Noumea Accord of 5 May 1998)
    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 Laurent PREVOST (since 5 August 2019)
    head of government: President of the Government Thierry SANTA (since 9 July 2019); Temporary Vice President Gilbert TUIENON (since 9 July 2019); note - Temporary Vice President Gilbert TUIENON was elected so that the new government could take over; Philippe GERMAIN' s government remained caretaker government until the new government was settled
    cabinet: Cabinet elected from and by the Territorial Congress
    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; president of New Caledonia elected by Territorial Congress for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 13 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
    election results: Thierry SANTA elected president by Territorial Congress with 6 votes out of 11
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral Territorial Congress or Congrès du Territoire (54 seats; members indirectly selected proportionally by the partisan makeup of the 3 Provincial Assemblies or Assemblés Provinciales; members of the 3 Provincial Assemblies directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, the indigenous population, which rules on laws affecting the indigenous population
    New Caledonia indirectly elects 2 members to the French Senate by an electoral colleges for a 6-year term with one seat renewed every 3 years and directly elects 2 members to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term
    elections:
    Territorial Congress - last held on 12 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2024)
    French Senate - election last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held not later than 2019)

    French National Assembly - election last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held by June 2022)
    election results:

    Territorial Congress - percent of vote by party - N/A; seats by party -Future With Confidence 18, UNI 9, UC 9, CE 7, FLNKS 6, Oceanic Awakening 3, PT 1, LKS 1 (Anti-Independence 28, Pro-Independence 26); composition - men 30, women 24, percent of women 44.4%


    French Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

    French National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CE 2
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel; organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; court bench normally includes the court president and 2 counselors); Administrative Court (number of judges NA); note - final appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are referred to the Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (in Paris); final appeals beyond the Administrative Court are referred to the Administrative Court of Appeal (in Paris)
    judge selection and term of office: judge appointment and tenure based on France's judicial system
    subordinate courts: Courts of First Instance include: civil, juvenile, commercial, labor, police, criminal, assizes, and also a pre-trial investigation chamber; Joint Commerce Tribunal; administrative courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Build Our Rainbow Nation
    Caledonia Together or CE [Philippe GERMAIN]
    Caledonian Union or UC [Daniel GOA]
    Future Together (l'Avenir Ensemble) [Harold MARTIN]
    Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (alliance includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM) [Victor TUTUGORO]
    Labor Party (Parti Travailliste) or PT [Louis Kotra UREGEI]
    National Union for Independence (Union Nationale pour l'Independance) or UNI
    Party of Kanak Liberation (Parti de Liberation Kanak) or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE]
    Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]
    The Republicans (formerly The Rally or UMP) [interim leader Thierry SANTA]
    Union for Caledonia in France
    International organization participation field listing
    ITUC (NGOs), PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WMO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (overseas territory of France)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (overseas territory of France)
    Flag description field listing
    New Caledonia has two official flags; alongside the flag of France, the Kanak (indigenous Melanesian) flag has equal status; the latter consists of three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a large yellow disk - diameter two-thirds the height of the flag - shifted slightly to the hoist side is edged in black and displays a black fleche faitiere symbol, a native rooftop adornment
    National symbol(s) field listing
    fleche faitiere (native rooftop adornment), kagu bird; national colors: gray, red
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Soyons unis, devenons freres" (Let Us Be United, Let Us Become Brothers)
    lyrics/music: Chorale Melodia (a local choir)

    note: adopted 2008; contains a mixture of lyrics in both French and Nengone (an indigenous language); as a self-governing territory of France, in addition to the local anthem, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

  • Economy :: New Caledonia
  • Economy - overview field listing

    New Caledonia has 11% of the world's nickel reserves, representing the second largest reserves on the planet. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France - equal to more than 15% of GDP - and tourism are keys to the health of the economy.

    With the gradual increase in the production of two new nickel plants in 2015, average production of metallurgical goods stood at a record level of 94 thousand tons. However, the sector is exposed to the high volatility of nickel prices, which have been in decline since 2016. In 2017, one of the three major mining firms on the island, Vale, put its operations up for sale, triggering concerns of layoffs ahead of the 2018 independence referendum.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $11.11 billion (2017 est.)
    $10.89 billion (2016 est.)
    $10.77 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2015 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 159
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $9.77 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    2% (2017 est.)
    1.1% (2016 est.)
    3.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $31,100 (2015 est.)
    $32,100 (2014 est.)
    $29,800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 64.3% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 24% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 38.4% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 18.7% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -45.5% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 1.4% (2017 est.)
    industry: 26.4% (2017 est.)
    services: 72.1% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    vegetables; beef, venison, other livestock products; fish
    Industries field listing
    nickel mining and smelting
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    3.5% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Labor force field listing
    119,500 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 2.7%
    industry: 22.4%
    services: 74.9% (2010)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    14.7% (2014)
    14% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Population below poverty line field listing
    17% (2008)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 1.995 billion (2015 est.)
    expenditures: 1.993 billion (2015 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    20.4% (of GDP) (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    0% (of GDP) (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Public debt field listing
    6.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    6.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    1.4% (2017 est.)
    0.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Stock of domestic credit field listing
    $9.522 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Market value of publicly traded shares field listing

    NA

    Current account balance field listing
    -$1.469 billion (2014 est.)
    -$1.861 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Exports field listing
    $2.207 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Exports - partners field listing
    China 25.4%, Japan 16.6%, South Korea 14.8%, France 8.2%, Belgium 5%, US 4.6% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
    Imports field listing
    $2.715 billion (2015 est.)
    $4.4 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Imports - commodities field listing
    machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners field listing
    France 24.2%, Singapore 13.1%, China 9.2%, Australia 7.1%, South Korea 5.2%, Malaysia 4.7%, NZ 4.4%, US 4.4% (2017)
    Debt - external field listing
    $112 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $79 million (31 December 1998 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing
    $16.43 billion (2015 est.)
    $14.55 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad field listing
    $658.2 million (2015 est.)
    $593.8 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    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 (2013 est.)
    90.56 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: New Caledonia
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    2.945 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    2.739 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    996,200 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    87% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    6% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    20,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    19,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    6.165 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
  • Communications :: New Caledonia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 92,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 246,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: well advanced telecoms sector; 4G network services (2018)
    domestic: fixed-line 34 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership 91 per 100 persons (2018)
    international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia; increased network capacity and improved high-speed connectivity and access to international networks
    Broadcast media field listing
    the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle-Calédonie TV and radio stations; a small number of privately owned radio stations also broadcast
    Internet country code field listing
    .nc
    Internet users field listing
    total: 201,000
    percent of population: 74% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
  • Military and Security :: New Caledonia
  • Military and security forces field listing
    no regular military forces; France bases land, air, and naval forces on New Caledonia (Forces Armées de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, FANC) (2019)
    Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transportation :: New Caledonia
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (registered in France) (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10 (registered in France) (2015)
    Airports field listing
    25 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 12 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2017)
    under 914 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 13 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    8 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 5,622 km (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 10
    by type: general cargo 2, other 8 (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Noumea
  • Transnational Issues :: New Caledonia
  • Disputes - international field listing

    Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu