Photos of Wallis and Futuna

Astronaut image of Wallis Island, also referred to as Uvea. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Introduction

Background

The first humans settled Wallis and Futuna around 800 B.C. The islands were a natural midpoint between Fiji and Samoa. Around A.D. 1500, Tongans invaded Wallis and a chiefdom system resembling Tonga’s formal hierarchy developed on the island. Tongans attempted to settle Futuna but were repeatedly rebuffed. Samoans settled Futuna in the 1600s and a slightly less centralized chiefdom system formed. Dutch explorers were the first Europeans to see the islands in 1616, followed intermittently by other Europeans, including British explorer Samuel WALLIS in 1767. French Catholic missionaries were the first Europeans to permanently settle Wallis and Futuna in 1837. The missionaries converted most of the population of Wallis by 1842 and of Futuna by 1846. The missionaries and newly-converted King LAVELUA of Uvea on Wallis asked France for a protectorate in 1842 following a rebellion of locals. France agreed, although the protectorate status would not be ratified until 1887. In 1888, King MUSULAMU of Alo and King TAMOLE of Sigave, both on Futuna, signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate; the Wallis and Futuna protectorate was integrated into the territory of New Caledonia that same year. France renegotiated the terms of the protectorate with the territory’s three kings in 1910, expanding French authority.

Wallis and Futuna was the only French colony to side with the Vichy regime during World War II until the arrival of Free French and US troops in 1942. In 1959, inhabitants of the islands voted to separate from New Caledonia and become a French overseas territory, a status it assumed in 1961. Despite the split, a significant Wallisian and Futunan community still lives in New Caledonia. In 2003, Wallis and Futuna’s designation changed to that of an overseas collectivity. Wallis and Futuna became an associate member of the Pacific Islands Forum in 2018, two years after France’s other Pacific territories became full members of the organization.

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

Geography

Location

Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

13 18 S, 176 12 W

Area

total: 142 sq km

land: 142 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes Ile Uvea (Wallis Island), Ile Futuna (Futuna Island), Ile Alofi, and 20 islets

comparison ranking: total 221

Area - comparative

1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

129 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; hot, rainy season (November to April); cool, dry season (May to October); rains 250-300 cm per year (80% humidity); average temperature 26.6 degrees Celsius

Terrain

volcanic origin; low hills

Elevation

highest point: Mont Singavi (on Futuna) 522 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 7.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 35.7% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 41.9% (2018 est.)

other: 15.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0.6 sq km (2020)

Natural hazards

cyclones; tsunamis

Geography - note

both island groups have fringing reefs; Wallis contains several prominent crater lakes

People and Society

Population

total: 15,964

male: 8,201

female: 7,763 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 220; male 220; total 220

Nationality

noun: Wallisian(s), Futunan(s), or Wallis and Futuna Islanders

adjective: Wallisian, Futunan, or Wallis and Futuna Islander

Ethnic groups

Polynesian

Languages

Wallisian (indigenous Polynesian language) 58.9%, Futunian 30.1%, French (official) 10.8%, other 0.2% (2003 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 99%, other 1%

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.8% (male 1,643/female 1,511)

15-64 years: 67.5% (male 5,535/female 5,247)

65 years and over: 12.7% (2024 est.) (male 1,023/female 1,005)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57

youth dependency ratio: 36.6

elderly dependency ratio: 20.4

potential support ratio: 4.9 (2021)

Median age

total: 36.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 35.5 years

female: 37.3 years

comparison ranking: total 92

Population growth rate

0.22% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 174

Birth rate

11.8 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 151

Death rate

6 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 153

Net migration rate

-3.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 189

Urbanization

urban population: 0% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1,000 MATA-UTU (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 188

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 78.2 years

female: 84.2 years

comparison ranking: total population 45

Total fertility rate

1.71 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Gross reproduction rate

0.83 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: 99.1% of population

total: 99.1% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: 0.9% of population

total: 0.9% of population (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: 92.9% of population

total: 92.9% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: 7.1% of population

total: 7.1% of population (2020 est.)

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain) largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion; there are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural freshwater resources; lack of soil fertility on the islands of Uvea and Futuna negatively impacts agricultural productivity

Climate

tropical; hot, rainy season (November to April); cool, dry season (May to October); rains 250-300 cm per year (80% humidity); average temperature 26.6 degrees Celsius

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 7.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 35.7% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 41.9% (2018 est.)

other: 15.3% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 0% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands

conventional short form: Wallis and Futuna

local long form: Territoire des Iles Wallis et Futuna

local short form: Wallis et Futuna

former: Hoorn Islands is the former name of the Futuna Islands

etymology: Wallis Island is named after British Captain Samuel WALLIS, who discovered it in 1767; Futuna is derived from the native word "futu," which is the name of the fish-poison tree found on the island

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Territorial Assembly); overseas collectivity of France

Dependency status

overseas collectivity of France

Capital

name: Mata-Utu (on Ile Uvea)

geographic coordinates: 13 57 S, 171 56 W

time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

3 administrative precincts (circonscriptions, singular - circonscription) Alo, Sigave, Uvea

Independence

none (overseas collectivity of France)

National holiday

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)

Constitution

history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

amendments: French constitution amendment procedures 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 Administrator Superior Blaise GOURTAY (since 1 August 2023)

head of government: President of the Territorial Assembly Munipoese MULI'AKA'AKA (since 20 March 2022)

cabinet: Council of the Territory appointed by the administrator superior on the advice of the Territorial Assembly

elections/appointments: French president elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); administrator superior appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly elected by assembly members

note: there are 3 traditional kings with limited powers

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (20 seats - Wallis 13, Futuna 7; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
Wallis and Futuna indirectly elects 1 senator to the French Senate by an electoral college by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term, and directly elects 1 deputy to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote for a 5-year term

elections:
Territorial Assembly - last held on 20 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2027)
French Senate - last held on 24 September 2023 (next to be held on 30 September 2026)
French National Assembly - last held on 12 and 19 June 2022 (next to be held in June 2027)

election results:
Territorial Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 2 members are elected from the list Ofa mo'oni ki tou fenua and 2 members are elected from list Mauli fetokoniaki, 1 seat each from 16 other lists; composition - men NA, women NA, percent of women NA

French Senate representative - LR 1

French National Assembly representative - independent 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Assizes or Cour d'Assizes (consists of 1 judge; court hears primarily serious criminal cases); note - appeals beyond the Court of Assizes are heard before the Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel (in Noumea, New Caledonia)

judge selection and term of office: NA

subordinate courts: courts of first instance; labor court; note - justice generally administered under French law by the high administrator, but the 3 traditional kings administer customary law, and there is a magistrate in Mata-Utu

Political parties and leaders

Left Radical Party or PRG [Guillaume LACROIX] (formerly Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG)
Lua Kae Tahi (Giscardians)
Rally for Wallis and Futuna-The Republicans (Rassemblement pour Wallis and Futuna) or RPWF-LR [Clovis LOGOLOGOFOLAU]
Socialist Party or PS
Taumu'a Lelei [Soane Muni UHILA]
Union Pour la Democratie Francaise or UDF

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Flag description

unofficial, local flag has a red field with four white isosceles triangles in the middle, representing the three native kings of the islands and the French administrator; the apexes of the triangles are oriented inward and at right angles to each other; the flag of France, outlined in white on two sides, is in the upper hoist quadrant

note: the design is derived from an original red banner with a white cross pattee that was introduced in the 19th century by French missionaries; the flag of France is used for official occasions

National symbol(s)

red saltire (Saint Andrew's Cross) on a white square on a red field; national colors: red, white

National anthem

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

Economy

Economic overview

lower-middle-income, agrarian French dependency economy; heavily reliant on French subsidies; licenses fishing rights to Japan and South Korea; major remittances from New Caledonia; aging workforce; import-dependent; deforestation-fueled fragility

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.9% (2015)
2.8% (2005)

comparison ranking: 12

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: NA

industry: NA

services: NA

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 26% (2005)

government consumption: 54% (2005)

Agricultural products

coconuts, breadfruit, yams, taro, bananas; pigs, goats; fish

Industries

copra, handicrafts, fishing, lumber

Labor force

4,482 (2013)

comparison ranking: 215

Unemployment rate

8.8% (2013 est.)
12.2% (2008 est.)

comparison ranking: 157

Budget

revenues: $32.54 million (2015 est.)

expenditures: $34.18 million (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.8% (of GDP) (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 69

Public debt

5.6% of GDP (2004 est.)

note: offical data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

comparison ranking: 202

Taxes and other revenues

16.7% (of GDP) (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 119

Exports - partners

France 48%, Singapore 12%, US 10%, Guatemala 9%, UK 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

integrated circuits, jewelry, cars, aircraft parts, polyacetals (2019)

Imports - partners

Fiji 38%, France 31%, NZ 8%, Iceland 6%, Australia 5% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, beef products, poultry meats, engine parts, packaged medicines (2019)

Debt - external

$3.67 million (2004)

comparison ranking: 201

Exchange rates

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
110.2 (2015 est.)
89.8 (2014 est.)
89.85 (2013 est.)
90.56 (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 26 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 209

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 0 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0 (2019)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 225

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: 2G widespread; bandwidth is limited; mobile subscriber numbers are higher than fixed-line and better suited for islands; good mobile coverage in the capital cities and also reasonable coverage across more remote atolls; recent international interest in infrastructure development; increase in demand for mobile broadband as mobile services serve as primary source for Internet access; broadband satellite launched in 2019 to improve costs and capability (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity 26 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 681; landing point for the Tui-Samoa submarine cable network connecting Wallis & Futuna, Samoa and Fiji (2020)

Broadcast media

the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which broadcasts to France's overseas departments, collectivities, and territories, is carried on the RFO Wallis and Fortuna TV and radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 5,496 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 45.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 222

Transportation

Airports

2 (2024)

comparison ranking: 199

Merchant marine

total: 1 (2023)

by type: general cargo 1

comparison ranking: total 183

Ports

total ports: 1 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 0

small: 0

very small: 1

ports with oil terminals: 0

key ports: Mata-Utu

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of France