French Polynesia 1997French%20Polynesia

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French Polynesia
French Polynesia 


French Polynesia - Introduction 1997
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Background: 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.

French Polynesia - Geography 1997
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Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from South America to Australia

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 S, 140 00 W

Map referenceOceania

Total: 4,167 km² (118 islands and atolls)
Land: 3,660 km²
Water: 507 km²
Comparative: slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 2,525 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical, but moderate

Terrain: mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Orohena 2,241 m

Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 1%
Permanent crops: 6%
Permanent pastures: 5%
Forests and woodland: 31%
Other: 57% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: occasional cyclonic storms in January

Note: includes five archipelagoes; 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

French Polynesia - People 1997
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Population: 233,488 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.89% (1997 est.)

Noun: French Polynesian(s)
Adjective: French Polynesian

Ethnic groups: Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%

Languages: French (official), Tahitian (official)

Religions: Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 16%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 34% (male 39,958; female 38,492)
15-64 years: 62% (male 75,450; female 69,441)
65 years and over: 4% (male 5,063; female 5,084) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.89% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 23.27 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 4.95 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.59 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: NA

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 13.7 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 72.17 years
Male: 69.81 years
Female: 74.65 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.77 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 14 and over can read and write, but definition of literacy not available
Total population: 98%
Male: 98%
Female: 98% (1977 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

French Polynesia - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Territory of French Polynesia
Conventional short form: French Polynesia
Local long form: Territoire de la Polynesie Francaise
Local short form: Polynesie Francaise

Government type: NA

Capital: Papeete

Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 5 archipelagic divisions named Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Iles du Vent, and Iles Sous-le-Vent
Note: Clipperton Island is administered by France from French Polynesia

Dependent areas

Independence: none (overseas territory of France)

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: based on French system

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President of France Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Dominique BUR (since NA)
Head of government: President of the Territorial Government of French Polynesia Gaston FLOSSE (since 4 April 1991); President of the Territorial Assembly Tinomana EBB (since NA)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
Elections: high commissioner appointed by the president of France on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Government and the president of the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly

Legislative branch: unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 12 May 1996 (next to be held NA March 2001)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 22, Polynesian Liberation Front 10, New Fatherland Party 5, other 4
Note: one seat was elected to the French Senate on 24 September 1989 (next to be held NA September 1998); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 21 and 28 March 1993 (next to be held 25 May-1 June 1997 - special election); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 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

International organization participation: ESCAP (associate), FZ, ICFTU, SPC, WMO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none (overseas territory of France)
From the us: none (overseas territory of France)

Flag descriptionflag of French%20Polynesia: two narrow red horizontal bands encase a wide white band; centered on the white band is a disk with blue and white wave pattern on the lower half and gold and white ray pattern on the upper half; a stylized red, blue and white ship rides on the wave pattern; the French flag is used for official occasions

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

French Polynesia - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. Tourism accounts for about 20% of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. The territory will continue to benefit from a five-year (1994-98) development agreement with France aimed principally at creating new jobs.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: NA%

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 4%
Industry: 18%
Services: 78% (1992 est.)

Agriculture products: coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits; poultry, beef, dairy products

Industries: tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force
Total: 118,744 (of which 70,044 are employed) (1988)
By occupation agriculture: 13%
By occupation industry: 19%
By occupation services: 68% (1992 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 15% (1992 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $713 million
Expenditures: $1.36 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1994)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $245 million (f.o.b., 1994)
Commodities: cultured pearls 53.8%, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat (1992)
Partners: France 33%, US 8.5% (1994)

Total value: $967 million (c.i.f., 1994)
Commodities: fuels, foodstuffs, equipment
Partners: France 44.7%, US 13.9% (1994)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $NA

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (CFPF) per US$1 - 98.48 (January 1997), 93.00 (1996), 90.75 (1995), 100.94 (1994), 102.96 (1993), 96.24 (1992; note - linked at the rate of 18.18 to the French franc

French Polynesia - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 320 million kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,409 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

French Polynesia - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system
Domestic: NA
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

French Polynesia - Military 1997
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

French Polynesia - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 41 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 35
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 13
With paved runways under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 6
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 6 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 35
Over 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
914 to 1523 m: 13
Under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 6
914 to 1523 m: 6 (1996 est.)



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine
Total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,127 GRT/53,710 DWT
Ships by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger-cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

French Polynesia - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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