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New Caledonia

New Caledonia (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::New Caledonia


Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made 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 a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. The agreement also commits France to conduct a referendum between 2014 and 2019 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.

Geography ::New Caledonia


Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia

Geographic coordinates:
21 30 S, 165 30 E

Map references:



total: 18,575 sq km country comparison to the world: 155 land: 18,275 sq km

water: 300 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries:

0 km


2,254 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid


coastal plains with interior mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m

Natural resources:

nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper

Land use:

arable land: 0.32%

permanent crops: 0.22%

other: 99.46% (2005)

Irrigated land:

100 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

cyclones, most frequent from November to March

volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active

Environment - current issues:

erosion caused by mining exploitation 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 ::New Caledonia


252,352 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

Age structure:

0-14 years: 26.8% (male 31,191/female 29,870)

15-64 years: 65.8% (male 75,189/female 74,552)

65 years and over: 7.3% (male 7,681/female 8,953) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.8 years

male: 29.3 years

female: 30.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.561% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78

Birth rate:

16.52 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

Death rate:

5.23 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

Net migration rate:

4.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 21 note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2009 est.)


urban population: 65% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.1% 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: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 5.8 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 179 male: 6.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.56 years country comparison to the world: 68 male: 72.46 years

female: 80.86 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.09 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 121

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: New Caledonian(s)

adjective: New Caledonian

Ethnic groups:

Melanesian 44.1%, European 34.1%, Wallisian & Futunian 9%, Tahitian 2.6%, Indonesian 2.5%, Vietnamese 1.4%, Ni-Vanuatu 1.1%, other 5.2% (1996 census)


Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%


French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.2%

male: 96.8%

female: 95.5% (1996 census)

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

Dependency status:

territorial collectivity of France since 1998

Government type:


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:

none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 provinces named Province des Iles, Province Nord, and Province Sud


none (overseas territory of France); note - a referendum on independence was held in 1998 but did not pass; a new referendum is scheduled for 2014

National holiday:

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)


4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:

based on French civil law; the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007); represented by High Commissioner Albert DUPUY (since 6 October 2010)

head of government: President of the Government Philippe GOMES (since 5 June 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet consisting of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress (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 government elected by the members of the Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits); note - last election held on 5 June 2009

Legislative branch:

elections: unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du territoire (54 seats; members belong to the three Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) last held on 9 May 2009 (next to be held on 10 May 2014)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 13, Caledonia Together 10, UC 8, UNI 8, AE 6, FLNKS 3, Labor Party 3, other 3

note: New Caledonia holds two seats in the French Senate; elections last held on 21 September 2008 (next to be held not later than September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2; New Caledonia also elects two seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held on 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Judicial branch:

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce
Tribunal Court; Children's Court

Political parties and leaders:

Caledonia My Country; Caledonia Together [Philippe GOMES];
Caledonian Union or UC [Nicholas ABOUT]; Communist Republican and
Left Party or CRC-SPG [Nichole BORVO COHEN-SEAT]; Democratic and
European Social Rally or R.D.S.E. [Yvon COLLIN]; Front National or
FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; Kanak Socialist Front for National
Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM); National
Union for Independence-Kanak and Socialist National Liberation
Front; Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE];
Renewed Caledonian Union; Socialist Group [Jean Pierre BEL];
Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]; The Future
Together or AE [Didier LEROUX]; The Rally or UMP [Gerard LONGUET];
Union Nationale pour l'Independance or UNI; Union of
Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees [Francois BURCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (overseas territory of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (overseas territory of France)

Flag description:

the flag of France is used

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; the anthem 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 about 25% of the world's known nickel resources. 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. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$3.158 billion (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 175

GDP (official exchange rate):

$3.3 billion (2003 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$15,000 (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 74

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 15%

industry: 8.8%

services: 76.2% (2003)

Labor force:

102,600 (2007) country comparison to the world: 182

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 20%

industry: 20%

services: 60% (2002)

Unemployment rate:

17.1% (2004) country comparison to the world: 158

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.4% (2000 est.) country comparison to the world: 37

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products; fish


nickel mining and smelting

Electricity - production:

1.825 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 134

Electricity - consumption:

1.697 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 138

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 141

Oil - consumption:

13,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 143

Oil - exports:

645 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 123

Oil - imports:

14,430 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 156

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 130

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 87

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 147

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 151


$1.341 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 143

Exports - commodities:

ferronickels, nickel ore, fish

Exports - partners:

France 27.52%, Japan 14.87%, Taiwan 10.51%, Spain 7.74%, China 7.31%, Australia 6.64%, Belgium 5.13%, South Korea 4.2% (2009)


$1.998 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 151

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

France 39.89%, Singapore 14.12%, Australia 12.5%, NZ 5.42% (2009)

Debt - external:

$79 million (1998 est.) country comparison to the world: 183

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)

Communications ::New Caledonia

Telephones - main lines in use:

65,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 154

Telephones - mobile cellular:

208,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 172

Telephone system:

general assessment: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, completed in 2007, is expected to significantly increase network capacity and improve high-speed connectivity and access to international networks

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 100 per 100 persons

international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast media:

the publicly-owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle Caledonie television and radio stations; a small number of privately-owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

22,456 (2010) country comparison to the world: 106

Internet users:

85,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 164

Transportation ::New Caledonia


25 (2010) country comparison to the world: 131

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 12

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 13

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 8 (2010)


8 (2010)


total: 5,622 km (2006) country comparison to the world: 151

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 3 (France 3) (2010) country comparison to the world: 139

Ports and terminals:


Military ::New Caledonia

Military branches:

no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 59,612 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 49,173

females age 16-49: 49,619 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 2,138

female: 2,061 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

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


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