Australia - Oceania :: New Caledonia
  • Introduction :: New Caledonia
  • Background:
    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 transfered 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.
  • Geography :: New Caledonia
  • Location:
    Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
    Geographic coordinates:
    21 30 S, 165 30 E
    Map references:
    Oceania
    Area:
    total: 18,575 sq km
    land: 18,275 sq km
    water: 300 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than New Jersey
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    2,254 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
    Terrain:
    coastal plains with interior mountains
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    1628 highest point: Mont Panie
    Natural resources:
    nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
    Land use:
    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:
    100 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    most of the populace lives in the southern part of the main island, in and around the capital of Noumea
    Natural hazards:

    cyclones, most frequent from November to March

    volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active

    Environment - current issues:
    preservation of coral reefs; prevention of invasive species; limiting erosion caused by nickel mining and forest fires
    Geography - note:
    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:
    282,754 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Nationality:
    noun: New Caledonian(s)
    adjective: New Caledonian
    Ethnic groups:
    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:
    French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
    Religions:
    Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
    Age structure:
    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:
    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:
    total: 32.3 years
    male: 31.5 years
    female: 33 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Population growth rate:
    1.3% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Birth rate:
    14.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Death rate:
    5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Net migration rate:
    3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

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

    country comparison to the world: 29
    Population distribution:
    most of the populace lives in the southern part of the main island, in and around the capital of Noumea
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 70.7% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 1.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    198,000 NOUMEA (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 5.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 6.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 4.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 78 years (2018 est.)
    male: 74.1 years (2018 est.)
    female: 82.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    Total fertility rate:
    1.92 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Physicians density:
    2.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source:
    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.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    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:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Major infectious diseases:

    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

    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 96.9% (2015 est.)
    male: 97.3% (2015 est.)
    female: 96.5% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 38.4% (2014 est.)
    male: 37.1% (2014 est.)
    female: 40% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
  • Government :: New Caledonia
  • Country name:
    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:
    territorial collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998; an independence referendum took place on 4 November 2018 with a majority voting to reject independence in favor of maintaining the status quo
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (Territorial Congress); an overseas collectivity of France
    Capital:
    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:
    3 provinces; Province Iles (Islands Province), Province Nord (North Province), and Province Sud (South Province)
    Independence:
    none none (overseas collectivity of France); note - an independence referendum took place on 4 November 2018 with a majority voting to reject independence in favor of maintaining the status quo
    National holiday:
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)
    Constitution:
    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:
    see France
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by High Commissioner Thierry LATASTE (since 20 June 2016)
    head of government: President of the Government Philippe GERMAIN (since 1 April 2015); Vice President Jean-Louis D'ANGLEBERME (since 1 April 2015)
    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 31 August 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
    election results: Philippe GERMAIN(Caledonia Together) reelected president by Territorial Congress; vote NA
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du Territoire (54 seats; members indirectly selected proportionally by the partisan makeup of the 3 Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees 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 11 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - the government that was elected on 11 May 2014 collapsed within 6 months leading to a new election on 31 December 2014, which reelected the same government

    French Senate - election last held on 28 September 2014 (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 - seats by party - CE 13, FLNKS 9, UMP 7, Union for Caledonia in France 6, Build Our Rainbow Nation 6, UNI 6, other 7


    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:
    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 counsilors); 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:
    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) [Roch WAMYTAN]
    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) [Pierre FROGIER]
    Union for Caledonia in France
    International organization participation:
    ITUC (NGOs), PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WMO
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    none (overseas territory of France)
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    none (overseas territory of France)
    Flag description:
    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):
    fleche faitiere (native rooftop adornment), kagu bird; national colors: gray, red
    National anthem:
    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:

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

    NA

    Current account balance:
    -$1.469 billion (2014 est.)
    -$1.861 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Exports:
    $2.207 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Exports - partners:
    China 25.4%, Japan 16.6%, South Korea 14.8%, France 8.2%, Belgium 5%, US 4.6% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
    Imports:
    $2.715 billion (2015 est.)
    $4.4 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Imports - commodities:
    machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners:
    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:
    $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:
    $16.43 billion (2015 est.)
    $14.55 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
    $658.2 million (2015 est.)
    $593.8 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    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 (2013 est.)
    90.56 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: New Caledonia
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 112,895 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 59% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 68% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    2.945 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Electricity - consumption:
    2.739 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    996,200 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    87% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    6% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    20,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    19,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    6.165 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
  • Communications :: New Caledonia
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 92,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 246,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, completed in 2007, increased network capacity and improved high-speed connectivity and access to international networks (2015)
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 120 per 100 persons (2015)
    international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle Caledonie TV and radio stations; a small number of privately owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)
    Internet country code:
    .nc
    Internet users:
    total: 201,000 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 74% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
  • Transportation :: New Caledonia
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (registered in France) (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10 (registered in France) (2015)
    Airports:
    25 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Airports - with paved runways:
    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:
    total: 13 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    Heliports:
    8 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 5,622 km (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Merchant marine:
    total: 9 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 2, other 7 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Noumea
  • Military and Security :: New Caledonia
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2012)
    Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transnational Issues :: New Caledonia
  • Disputes - international:
    Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu