Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
New Caledonia
Flag of New Caledonia                                Map of New Caledonia
Background: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 as many as three referenda between 2013 and 2018, to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.
Location:Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates:21 30 S, 165 30 E
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 19,060 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
water: 485 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:2,254 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
Terrain: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
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
Population:221,943 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 27.9% (male 31,578/female 30,270)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 72,821/female 72,109)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 7,047/female 8,118) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 28.1 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 28.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:1.203% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:17.75 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:5.72 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.043 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.868 male(s)/female
total population: 1.009 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 7.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 74.5 years
male: 71.52 years
female: 77.63 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.25 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
Nationality:noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian
Ethnic groups:Melanesian 42.5%, European 37.1%, Wallisian 8.4%, Polynesian 3.8%, Indonesian 3.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other 3%
Religions:Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
Languages:French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 96.8%
female: 95.5% (1996 census)
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:NA
Capital: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
Independence: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)
Constitution:4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:based on French civil law; the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007); represented by High Commissioner Yves DASSONVILLE (since 9 November 2007)
head of government: President of the Government Harold MARTIN (since 7 August 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet consisting of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress
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 7 August 2007 when Harold MARTIN was elected following the resignation of Marie-Noelle THEMEREAU as president on 24 July 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
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 9 May 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPCR-UMP 16, AE 16, UNI-FLNKS 8, UC 7, FN 4, others 3
note: New Caledonia currently holds one seat in the French Senate; by 2010, New Caledonia will gain a second seat in the French Senate; elections last held 24 September 2001 (next to be held not later than September 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1; New Caledonia also elects two seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held on 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:Alliance pour la Caledonie or APLC [Didier LE ROUX]; Caledonian Union or UC; Federation des Comites de Coordination des Independantistes or FCCI [Francois BURCK]; Front National or FN [Guy GEORGE]; Front Uni de Liberation Kanak or FULK [Ernest UNE]; Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM); Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE and Elie POIGOUNE]; Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (anti independence) or RPCR-UMP [Jacques LAFLEUR]; The Future Together or AE [Harold MARTIN]; Union Nationale pour l'Independance or UNI [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; note - may no longer exist, but Paul NEAOUTYINE has since become a president of Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA; Union Progressiste Melanesienne or UPM [Victor TUTUGORO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU, WMO
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
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.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$3.3 billion (2003 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:NA%
GDP—per capita (PPP):$15,000 (2003 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 15%
industry: 8.8%
services: 76.2% (2003)
Labor force:78,990 (2004)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2002)
Unemployment rate:17.1% (2004)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):1.4% (2000 est.)
Budget:revenues: $996 million
expenditures: $1.072 billion (2001 est.)
Agriculture—products:vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products; fish
Industries:nickel mining and smelting
Industrial production growth rate:-0.6% (1996)
Electricity—production:1.508 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:1.403 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:11,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:605.7 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:11,980 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports:$1.341 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Exports—commodities:ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
Exports—partners:Japan 17.4%, France 15.9%, Taiwan 14.5%, China 10.8%, Spain 9.4%, Belgium 7.3%, Italy 6%, Australia 4.6% (2006)
Imports:$1.998 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Imports—commodities:machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports—partners:France 39.4%, Singapore 15.1%, Australia 11.3%, NZ 4.8% (2006)
Debt—external:$79 million (1998 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$NA
Economic aid—recipient:$524.3 million annual subsidy from France (2004)
Currency (code):Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)
Exchange rates:Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - NA (2007), 95.025 (2006), 95.89 (2005), 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:55,300 (2005)
Telephones—mobile cellular:134,300 (2005)
Telephone system:general assessment: NA
domestic: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, scheduled for completion in 2008, will improve high-speed connectivity and access to international networks
international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:6 (plus 25 repeaters) (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts:14,252 (2007)
Internet users:80,000 (2006)
Airports:25 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 6 (2007)
Heliports:6 (2007)
Roadways:total: 5,432 km (2000)
Merchant marine:total: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,566 GRT/2,543 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1 (2007)
Ports and terminals:Noumea
Military branches:no regular indigenous military forces; French Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie); Police Force
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 50,874 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 40,822 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 1,907 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:NA
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues
Disputes—international:Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu


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