New Caledonia

New Caledonia

Introduction ::New Caledonia


Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island became 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 2018 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


total: 18,575 sq km

country comparison to the world: 156

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: 0.38%

permanent crops: 0.27%

other: 99.34% (2011)

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 and Society ::New Caledonia


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)


French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects


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


264,022 (July 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Age structure:

0-14 years: 24% (male 32,390/female 30,996)

15-24 years: 17.1% (male 23,000/female 22,060)

25-54 years: 42.6% (male 56,533/female 55,907)

55-64 years: 8.1% (male 10,526/female 10,842)

65 years and over: 8.2% (male 9,732/female 12,036) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 48.3 %

youth dependency ratio: 33.6 %

elderly dependency ratio: 14.7 %

potential support ratio: 6.8 (2013)

Median age:

total: 30.7 years

male: 30.1 years

female: 31.3 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.45% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Birth rate:

15.81 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Death rate:

5.39 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Net migration rate:

4.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population

country comparison to the world: 27

note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2013 est.)


urban population: 57% of total population (2010)

rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

NOUMEA (capital) 144,000 (2009)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 5.54 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 178

male: 6.54 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.13 years

country comparison to the world: 70

male: 73.08 years

female: 81.37 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.02 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:


HIV/AIDS - deaths:


Education expenditures:



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 (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998

Government type:

parliamentary representative democracy


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 three 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 to take place between 2014 and 2018

National holiday:

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)


4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:

civil law system based on French law; the 1988 Matignon Accords (signed in the Matignon Hotel) set up a ten-year period of development during which the Kanak community received substantial autonomy but agreed not to raise the independece issue


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012); represented by High Commissioner Jean-Jacques BROT (since 2 February 2013); note - he was nominated on 23 January 2013

head of government: President of the Government Harold MARTIN (since 3 March 2011); note - since 3 March 2011, three different governments of Harold MARTIN have collapsed over the choice of a flag that will be used while it is being decolonized; President Harold MARTIN is head of a caretaker government

cabinet: Cabinet consisting of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress

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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 10 June 2011 (next to be held in June 2016)

Legislative branch:

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)

elections: 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: the Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, the indigenous population, which rules on laws affecting the indigenous population; 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 17 June 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel (the highest local judicial court; organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; number of judges NA); Conseil d'Etat (the highest local administrative court; number of judges NA)

note - final appeals are heard before the Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation, in Paris

judge selection and term of office: NA

subordinate courts: Courts of First Instance include: civil, juvenile, commercial, labor, police, criminal, Assizes, and also a pre-trial investigation chamber; Joint Commerce Tribunal; administrative courts

Political parties and leaders:

Caledonia Together [Philippe GOMES]

Caledonian Union or UC [Daniel GOA]

Front National or FN [Marine LE PEN]

Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM)

Labor Party [Louis Kotra UREGEI]

National Union for Independence (Union Nationale pour l'Independance) or UNI

Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE]

Socialist Group [Jean Pierre BEL]

Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]

The Future Together or AE [Harold MARTIN]

The Rally or UMP [Pierre GROGIER]

Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees [Francois BURCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders:


International organization participation:

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

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 symbol(s):

kagu bird

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 reserves. 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; during 2009-10, France sent more development assistance to New Caledonia than to any of its other overseas territories. 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):

$9.28 billion (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

$3.158 billion (2003 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$9.28 billion (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

0.6% (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$37,700 (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

$15,000 (2003 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 65.4%

government consumption: 28%

investment in fixed capital: 28.2%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 27%

imports of goods and services: -48.7%

(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 2.1%

industry: 28.3%

services: 69.6% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:

vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products; fish


nickel mining and smelting

Industrial production growth rate:

7% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Labor force:

106,400 (2010)

country comparison to the world: 183

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 20%

industry: 20%

services: 60% (2002)

Unemployment rate:

17.1% (2004)

country comparison to the world: 153

Population below poverty line:


Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $996 million

expenditures: $1.072 billion (2001 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

NA% of GDP

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.7% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

2.4% (2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:



$969.4 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

$1.717 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:

ferronickels, nickel ore, fish

Exports - partners:

Japan 17.2%, France 16.2%, South Korea 12.2%, China 9.6%, Australia 8.3%, Belgium 4.9% (2012)


$3.313 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

$3.699 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

France 33.4%, Singapore 22.4%, Australia 11.7%, NZ 5% (2012)

Debt - external:

$79 million (1998 est.)

country comparison to the world: 191

Exchange rates:

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

85.74 (2011 est.)

90.01 (2010 est.)

Energy ::New Caledonia

Electricity - production:

1.675 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 137

Electricity - consumption:

1.558 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

421,000 kW (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

79.1% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

18.5% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

2.4% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 157

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

13,640 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

Refined petroleum products - exports:

730 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Refined petroleum products - imports:

14,550 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

3.027 million Mt (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Communications ::New Caledonia

Telephones - main lines in use:

76,200 (2011)

country comparison to the world: 152

Telephones - mobile cellular:

227,300 (2011)

country comparison to the world: 176

Telephone system:

general assessment: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, completed in 2007, increased network capacity and improved 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) (2010)

Broadcast media:

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

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

34,231 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 104

Internet users:

85,000 (2009)

country comparison to the world: 165

Transportation ::New Caledonia


25 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 128

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 12

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 13

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m:

8 (2013)


8 (2013)


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: 135

Ports and terminals:


Military ::New Caledonia

Military branches:

no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2012)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 68,219 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 56,233

females age 16-49: 55,983 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 2,272

female: 2,167 (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"

The World Factbook. 2014.

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