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Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The last remnant of France's once-vast holdings in North America, this island archipelago off the coast of Newfoundland bears the scars of a complicated geologic history. Saint Pierre and Miquelon cover just 242 sq km (93 sq mi), and the three biggest islands lend the entire archipelago its name.
In this false-color satellite image, vegetation appears in varying shades of pink and red, bare land is beige, urbanized areas are blue-gray, and water appears in shades of blue and blue-green.
Saint Pierre is the smallest of the archipelago's major islands, a mostly northeast-southwest running landmass with several smaller islands and islets scattered around it. In the west (top of the image), Miquelon consists of three main sections: an arc-shaped body in the north (top right), Grande Miquelon immediately southeast of that, and Langlade (or Petite Miquelon) Island in the south. Grande Miquelon and Langlade are connected by a tombolo, a ridge of beach material (typically sand), built by wave action, that connects an island to the mainland. This tombolo formed in the eighteenth century.
The terrain of the archipelago consists of mostly barren rock. Deforestation has claimed much of the vegetation, although woodland still covers 20 percent of the surface. Scrub vegetation and peatland are extensive. Cold, wet, foggy weather predominates, with windy springs and autumns. 
The islands, particularly Langlade, bear a scoured appearance, and this is no coincidence. During the Pleistocene Ice Age, glacial ice scraped the island. Today, wind and waves continue to erode these landmasses. For several months a year, winds regularly exceed 60 km (35 mi) per hour, and frequent storms pound the coastlines with high waves. Anecdotal evidence from local fishermen suggests that recent mild winters and less extensive sea ice might have allowed more erosion by ocean waves. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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Introduction

Background

First settled by the French in the early 17th century, the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France's once vast North American possessions. They attained the status of an overseas collectivity in 2003.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Northern North America, islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland (Canada)

Geographic coordinates

46 50 N, 56 20 W

Map references

North America

Area

total: 242 sq km

land: 242 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes eight small islands in the Saint Pierre and the Miquelon groups

country comparison to the world: 213

Area - comparative

one and half times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

120 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

cold and wet, with considerable mist and fog; spring and autumn are often windy

Terrain

mostly barren rock

Elevation

highest point: Morne de la Grande Montagne 240 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

fish, deepwater ports

Land use

agricultural land: 8.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 12.5% (2018 est.)

other: 78.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population is found on Saint Pierre Island; a small settlement is located on the north end of Miquelon Island

Natural hazards

persistent fog throughout the year can be a maritime hazard

Geography - note

vegetation scanty; the islands are actually part of the northern Appalachians along with Newfoundland

Map description

Saint Pierre and Miquelon map showing the two islands that make up this French territorial overseas collectivity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

adjective: French

Ethnic groups

Basques and Bretons (French fishermen)

Languages

French (official)

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

French audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 99%, other 1%

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.68% (male 370/female 349)

15-24 years: 8.71% (male 240/female 218)

25-54 years: 40% (male 1,039/female 1,100)

55-64 years: 15.52% (male 419/female 397)

65 years and over: 24.1% (2022 est.) (male 556/female 711)

This is the population pyramid for Saint Pierre and Miquelon. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: NA

youth dependency ratio: NA

elderly dependency ratio: NA

potential support ratio: NA

Median age

total: 48.5 years

male: 47.9 years

female: 49 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Birth rate

6.47 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 228

Death rate

11.22 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Net migration rate

-7.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 215

Population distribution

most of the population is found on Saint Pierre Island; a small settlement is located on the north end of Miquelon Island

Urbanization

urban population: 90% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

6,000 SAINT-PIERRE (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.16 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.12 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 149

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.41 years

male: 79.05 years

female: 83.9 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 91.4% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 8.6% of population (2017 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

overfishing; recent test drilling for oil in waters around Saint Pierre and Miquelon may bring future development that would impact the environment

Climate

cold and wet, with considerable mist and fog; spring and autumn are often windy

Land use

agricultural land: 8.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 12.5% (2018 est.)

other: 78.8% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 90% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

conventional short form: Saint Pierre and Miquelon

local long form: Departement de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

local short form: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

etymology: Saint-Pierre is named after Saint PETER, the patron saint of fishermen; Miquelon may be a corruption of the Basque name Mikelon

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France

Dependency status

overseas collectivity of France

Capital

name: Saint-Pierre

geographic coordinates: 46 46 N, 56 11 W

time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

etymology: named after Saint Peter, the patron saint of fisherman

Administrative divisions

none (territorial overseas collectivity of France); note - there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 2 communes at the second order - Saint Pierre, Miquelon

Independence

none (overseas collectivity collectivity of France; has been under French control since 1763)

National holiday

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790)

Constitution

history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

amendments: amendment procedures of France's constitution apply

Legal system

French civil law

Citizenship

see France

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by Prefect Christian POUGET (since 6 January 2021)

head of government: President of Territorial Council Bernard BRIAND (since 13 October 2020)

cabinet: Le Cabinet du Prefet

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); election last held on 23 April and 6 May 2017 (next to be held in 2022); prefect appointed by French president on the advice of French Ministry of Interior; Territorial Council president elected by Territorial Council councillors by absolute majority vote; term NA; election last held on 13 October 2020; next election NA

election results: Bernard BRIAND elected President of Territorial Council; Territorial Council vote - 17 for, 2 abstentions

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Territorial Council or Conseil Territorial (19 seats - Saint Pierre 15, Miquelon 4; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 6-year terms);
Saint Pierre and Miquelon indirectly elects 1 senator to the French Senate by an electoral college to serve a 6-year term and directly elects 1 deputy to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote to serve a 5-year term

elections: Territorial Council - first round held on 20 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2028); second round held on 27 March 2022
French Senate - last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held no later than September 2023)
French National Assembly - last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held by June 2022)

election results: Territorial Council - percent of vote by party (first round) - AD 45.9%, Focus on the Future 37%, Together to Build 17.1%; percent of vote by party (second round) - AD 51.8%, Focus on the Future 38.1%, Together to Build 10.1%, seats by party - AD 15, Focus on the Future 4; composition - men NA, women NA, percent of women NA%
French Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PS 1 (affiliated with UMP)
French National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Ensemble pour l'Avenir 1 (affiliated with PRG); the Republicans (LR) 1

Judicial branch

highest courts: Superior Tribunal of Appeals or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel (composition NA)

judge selection and term of office: judge selection and tenure NA

subordinate courts: NA

Political parties and leaders

Archipelago Tomorrow (Archipel Domain) or AD (affiliated with The Republicans)
Focus on the Future (Cap sur l'Avenir) [Annick GIRARDIN] (affiliated with Left Radical Party)
Together to Build (Ensemble pour Construire) [Karine CLAIREAUX]

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (territorial overseas collectivity of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: none (territorial overseas collectivity of France)

Flag description

a yellow three-masted sailing ship facing the hoist side rides on a blue background with scattered, white, wavy lines under the ship; a continuous black-over-white wavy line divides the ship from the white wavy lines; on the hoist side, a vertical band is divided into three parts: the top part (called ikkurina) is red with a green diagonal cross extending to the corners overlaid by a white cross dividing the rectangle into four sections; the middle part has a white background with an ermine pattern; the third part has a red background with two stylized yellow lions outlined in black, one above the other; these three heraldic arms represent settlement by colonists from the Basque Country (top), Brittany, and Normandy; the blue on the main portion of the flag symbolizes the Atlantic Ocean and the stylized ship represents the Grande Hermine in which Jacques Cartier "discovered" the islands in 1536

note: the flag of France used for official occasions

National symbol(s)

16th-century sailing ship

National anthem

note: as a collectivity of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

Economy

Economic overview

The inhabitants have traditionally earned their livelihood by fishing and by servicing fishing fleets operating off the coast of Newfoundland. The economy has been declining, however, because of disputes with Canada over fishing quotas and a steady decline in the number of ships stopping at Saint Pierre. The services sector accounted for 86% of GDP in 2010, the last year data is available for. Government employment accounts for than 46% of the GDP, and 78% of the population is working age.

 

The government hopes an expansion of tourism will boost economic prospects. Fish farming, crab fishing, and agriculture are being developed to diversify the local economy. Recent test drilling for oil may pave the way for development of the energy sector. Trade is the second largest sector in terms of value added created, where it contributes significantly to economic activity. The extractive industries and energy sector is the third largest sector of activity in the archipelago, attributable in part to the construction of a new thermal power plant in 2015.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$261.3 million (2015 est.)

$215.3 million (2006 est.)

note: supplemented by annual payments from France of about $60 million

country comparison to the world: 218

GDP (official exchange rate)

$261.3 million (2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2% (2006 est.)

industry: 15% (2006 est.)

services: 83% (2006 est.)

Agricultural products

vegetables; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish

Industries

fish processing and supply base for fishing fleets; tourism

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 18%

industry: 41%

services: 41% (1996 est.)

Budget

revenues: 70 million (1996 est.)

expenditures: 60 million (1996 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Exports

$6.641 million (2010 est.)

$5.5 million (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 221

Exports - partners

Canada 79%, France 8%, Belgium 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crustaceans, fish, medical instruments, electrical parts, pasta (2019)

Imports

$95.35 million (2010 est.)

$68.2 million (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 218

Imports - partners

France 69%, Canada 22% (2019)

Imports - commodities

food preparation, packaged medicines, low-voltage protection equipment, cars, computers, iron structures (2019)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.885 (2017 est.)

0.903 (2016 est.)

0.9214 (2015 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)

Energy

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4,800 (2015 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 76 (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 205

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: adequate (2019)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity 76 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 508; landing point for the St Pierre and Miquelon Cable connecting Saint Pierre & Miquelon and Canada; radiotelephone communication with most countries in the world; satellite earth station - 1 in French domestic satellite system (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

8 TV stations, all part of the French Overseas Network, and local cable provided by SPM Telecom; 3 of 4 radio stations on St. Pierre and on Miquelon are part of the French Overseas Network (2021)

Internet users

total: 4,500 (2016 est.)

percent of population: 79.5% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Transportation

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Roadways

total: 117 km (2009)

paved: 80 km (2009)

unpaved: 37 km (2009)

country comparison to the world: 213

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Saint-Pierre

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues