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Countries > French Polynesia

Languages   One language is spoken in French Polynesia. We have 866 products available for that language.

Capital: Papeete
Population: 240,000
French Polynesia Map

(overseas territory of France)


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 references: Oceania

total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
land: 3,660 sq km
water: 507 sq km

Area - 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

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

Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt

Land use:
arable land:2%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures : 5%
forests and woodland: 31%
other: 57% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: occasional cyclonic storms in January

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography - 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


Population: 257,847 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (male 38,184; female 36,631)
15-64 years : 65.7% (male 88,250; female 81,165)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 6,850; female 6,767) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.67% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 18.17 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.49 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 3.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

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:1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.23 years
male: 72.88 years
female : 77.69 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.18 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun : French Polynesian(s)
adjective: French Polynesian

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

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

Languages: French (official), Tahitian (official)

definition: age 14 and over can read and write, but definition of literacy not available
total population: 98%
male : 98%
female: 98% (1977 est.)


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

Data code: FP

Dependency status: overseas territory of France since 1946

Government type: NA

National 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

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

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 Michel MATHIEU (since 24 October 2001)
head of government:President of the Territorial Government of French Polynesia Gaston FLOSSE (since 4 April 1991); President of the Territorial Assembly Lucette TAERO (since 17 May 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
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 are elected by the members of the assembly

Legislative branch:unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (49 seats - changed from 41 seats for May 2001 election; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:last held 6 May 2001 (next to be held NA May 2006)
note:one seat was elected to the French Senate on NA September 1998 (next to be held NA September 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 29, Independent Front for the Liberation of Polynesia 12, The New Star 7, other 1

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:Independent Front for the Liberation of Polynesia (Tavini Huiraatira) [Oscar TEMARU]; New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api) [Emile VERNAUDON]; People's Rally for the Republic of Polynesia or RPR (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) [Gaston FLOSSE]; The New Star (Te Fetia Api) [Boris LEONTIEFF]

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

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of France)

Flag description: 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


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. 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 substantially benefits from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.3 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
industry: 18%
services: 76% (1997)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.5% (1994)

Labor force:
total: 70,000 (1996)
by occupation : agriculture 13%, industry 19%, services 68% (1997)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues:$1 billion
expenditures : $900 million, including capital expenditures of $185 million (1996)

Industries: tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: NA kW

Electricity - production: 408 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 379.44 million kWh (2000)

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

total value: $205 million (f.o.b., 1999)
commodities : cultured pearls 53.8%, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat (1992)
partners:Japan 62%, US 21% (1999)

total value: $749 million (f.o.b., 1999)
commodities : fuels, foodstuffs, equipment
partners: France 53%, US 13%, Australia 10% (1999)

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient : $367 million (1997)

Currency: 1 CFP franc (XPF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 135.04 (January 2002), 133.26 (2001), 129.44 (2000), 111.93 (1999), 107.25 (1998), 106.11 (1997); note - pegged at the rate of 119.25 XPF to the euro

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 52,000 (1997)

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 14, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios: 128,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 7 (plus 17 low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 40,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

total : 792 km
paved: 264 km
unpaved: 528 km (2000)

Ports and harbors: Mataura, Papeete, Rikitea, Uturoa

Merchant marine:
total : 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,127 GRT/53,710 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 45 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 33
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 21
under 914 m: 5 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 12
914 to 1,523 m : 3
under 914 m: 9 (2001)


Military branches: French Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), Gendarmerie

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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