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French Polynesia, See : Flags, Maps

French Polynesia (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::French Polynesia


The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were suspended in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.

Geography ::French Polynesia


Oceania, archipelagoes in the South Pacific Ocean about half way between South America and Australia

Geographic coordinates:
15 00 S, 140 00 W

Map references:



total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls) country comparison to the world: 174 land: 3,827 sq km

water: 340 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries:

0 km


2,525 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical, but moderate


mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m

Natural resources:

timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 0.75%

permanent crops: 5.5%

other: 93.75% (2005)

Irrigated land:

10 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

occasional cyclonic storms in January

Environment - current issues:

Geography - note:

includes five archipelagoes (four volcanic, one coral); Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru

People ::French Polynesia


291,000 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Age structure:

0-14 years: 24.3% (male 35,631/female 34,097)

15-64 years: 68.9% (male 102,537/female 95,317)

65 years and over: 6.8% (male 9,821/female 9,629) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.5 years

male: 29.8 years

female: 29.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.355% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 92

Birth rate:

15.67 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 133

Death rate:

4.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 193

Net migration rate:

2.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 30


urban population: 52% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

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

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 7.41 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 165 male: 8.51 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.91 years country comparison to the world: 64 male: 74.44 years

female: 79.5 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.89 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 145

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: French Polynesian(s)

adjective: French Polynesian

Ethnic groups:

Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%


Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%


French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)


definition: age 14 and over can read and write

total population: 98%

male: 98%

female: 98% (1977 est.)

Education expenditures:

Government ::French Polynesia

Country name:

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: French Colony of Oceania

Dependency status:

overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2004

Government type:


name: Papeete

geographic coordinates: 17 32 S, 149 34 W

time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

none (overseas lands of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five archipelagic divisions named Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Iles du Vent, Iles Sous-le-Vent


none (overseas lands of France)

National holiday:

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)


4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:

the laws of France where applicable apply


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Adolphe COLRAT (since 7 July 2008); note - will be replaced in 2011 by Richard DIDIER

head of government: President of French Polynesia Gaston Tong SANG (since 24 November 2009); President of the Territorial Assembly Oscar TEMARU (since 10 April 2010)

cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the territorial government and the president of the Territorial Assembly elected by the members of the assembly for five-year terms (no term limits)

Legislative branch:

unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (57 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 27 January 2008 (first round) and 10 February 2008 (second round) (next to be held in 2013)

election results: percent of vote by party - Our Home alliance 45.2%, Union for Democracy alliance 37.2%, Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) 17.2% other 0.5%; seats by party - Our Home alliance 27, Union for Democracy alliance 20, Popular Rally 10

note: two seats were elected to the French Senate on 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1, independent 1; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 10-17 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Judicial branch:

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or
Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or
Tribunal Administratif

Political parties and leaders:

Alliance for a New Democracy or ADN(includes the parties The New
Star and This Country is Yours); New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api);
Our Home alliance; People's Servant Party (Tavini Huiraatira);
Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira); Union for Democracy alliance or

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (overseas lands of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (overseas lands of France)

Flag description:

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 stylized red, blue, and white ship rides on the wave pattern; the ship has a crew of five represented by five stars that symbolize the five island groups; red and white are traditional Polynesian colors

note: similar to the red-white-red flag of Tahiti, the largest of the islands in French Polynesia, which has no emblem in the white band; the flag of France is used for official occasions

National anthem:

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

note: adopted 1993; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

Government - note:

under certain acts of France, French Polynesia has acquired autonomy in all areas except those relating to police and justice, 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:

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. Tourism accounts for about one-fourth of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. Other sources of income are pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products. The territory benefits substantially from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$4.718 billion (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 163 $4.58 billion (2003 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$6.1 billion (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.7% (2005) country comparison to the world: 134 5.1% (2002)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$18,000 (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 66 $17,500 (2003 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.5%

industry: 20.4%

services: 76.1% (2005)

Labor force:

116,000 (2007) country comparison to the world: 180

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 13%

industry: 19%

services: 68% (2002)

Unemployment rate:

11.7% (2005) country comparison to the world: 125

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.1% (2007) country comparison to the world: 22 1.1% (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

fish; coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products


tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

650 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 154

Electricity - consumption:

604.5 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 155

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 173

Oil - consumption:

7,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 159

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 154

Oil - imports:

6,701 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 148

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 178

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 194

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 183

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 177

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 178

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 177


$211 million (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 180

Exports - commodities:

cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat


$1.706 billion (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 156

Imports - commodities:

fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment

Debt - external:

Exchange rates:

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 87.59 (2007), 94.97 (2006), 95.89 (2005), 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003)

note: pegged at the rate of 119.25 XPF to the euro

Communications ::French Polynesia

Telephones - main lines in use:

54,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 158

Telephones - mobile cellular:

208,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 171

Telephone system:

general assessment: NA

domestic: combined fixed and mobile-cellular density is roughly 90 per 100 persons

international: country code - 689; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

the publicly-owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts on 2 television channels and 1 radio station; a government-owned TV station is operating; a small number of privately-owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

36,056 (2010) country comparison to the world: 95

Internet users:

120,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 154

Transportation ::French Polynesia


53 (2010) country comparison to the world: 90

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 46

over 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 33

under 914 m: 7 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 7

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 4 (2010)


1 (2010)


total: 2,590 km country comparison to the world: 169 paved: 1,735 km

unpaved: 855 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 13 (Cambodia 1, France 12) (2010) country comparison to the world: 109

Ports and terminals:


Military ::French Polynesia

Military branches:

no regular military forces

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 81,794 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 66,451

females age 16-49: 65,306 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 2,592

female: 2,481 (2010 est.)

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues ::French Polynesia

Disputes - international:



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