New Caledonia Population: 282,754


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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 two decades transferred an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. In a referendum held in November 2018, residents rejected independence and decided to retain their territorial status, although two additional referendums may occur in 2020 and 2022, per the Noumea Accord.

    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
Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates: 21 30 S, 165 30 E
Area: total: 18,575 sq km
land: 18,275 sq km
water: 300 sq km

Size comparison: 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
Natural resources: nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
Land use: agricultural land: 10.4% (2011 est.) arable land: 0.4% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 0.2% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 9.8% (2011 est.) forest: 45.9% (2011 est.)
other: 43.7% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 100 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: cyclones, most frequent from November to March volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active
Current Environment Issues: preservation of coral reefs; prevention of invasive species; limiting erosion caused by nickel mining and forest fires
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Nationality: noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian
Ethnic groups: Kanak 39.1%, European 27.1%, Wallisian, Futunian 8.2%, Tahitian 2.1%, Indonesian 1.4%, Ni-Vanuatu 1%, Vietnamese 0.9%, other 17.7%, unspecified 2.5% (2014 est.)
Languages: French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
Religions: Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
Population: 282,754 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.19% (male 32,057 /female 30,675)
15-24 years: 16.16% (male 23,355 /female 22,349)
25-54 years: 43.66% (male 62,227 /female 61,215)
55-64 years: 8.57% (male 11,713 /female 12,530)
65 years and over: 9.42% (male 11,790 /female 14,843) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 48.3 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 33.9 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 14.4 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 6.9 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 32.3 years
male: 31.5 years
female: 33 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.3% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 14.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.) note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia
Urbanization: urban population: 70.7% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 198,000 NOUMEA (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 6.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78 years male: 74.1 years
female: 82.2 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Physicians density: 2.22 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98.5% of population
rural: 98.5% of population
total: 98.5% of population

urban: 1.5% of population
rural: 1.5% of population
total: 1.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
total: 100% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Education expenditures: n/a
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 96.9%
male: 97.3%
female: 96.5% (2015 est.) Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 38.4% male: 37.1% female: 40% (2014 est.)
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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
etymology: British explorer Captain James COOK discovered and named New Caledonia in 1774; he used the appellation because the northeast of the island reminded him of Scotland (Caledonia is the Latin designation for Scotland)
Government type: parliamentary democracy (Territorial Congress); an overseas collectivity of France
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: 3 provinces; Province Iles (Islands Province), Province Nord (North Province), and Province Sud (South Province)
Independence: none (overseas collectivity of France); note - an independence referendum held on 4 November 2018 with a majority voting to reject independence in favor of maintaining the status quo
National holiday: Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)
Constitution: history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution with changes as reflected in the Noumea Accord of 5 May 1998) amendments: French constitution amendment procedures apply
Legal system: civil law system based on French law; the 1988 Matignon Accords (signed in the Matignon Hotel) set up a 10-year period of development during which the Kanak community received substantial autonomy but agreed not to raise the independence issue
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by High Commissioner Laurent PREVOST (since 5 August 2019)

head of government: President of the Government Thierry SANTA (since 9 July 2019); Temporary Vice President Gilbert TUIENON (since 9 July 2019); note - Temporary Vice President Gilbert TUIENON was elected so that the new government could take over; Philippe GERMAIN' s government remained caretaker government until the new government was settled

cabinet: Cabinet elected from and by the Territorial Congress elections/appointments: French president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of New Caledonia elected by Territorial Congress for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 13 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: Thierry SANTA elected president by Territorial Congress with 6 votes out of 11
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Territorial Congress or Congrès du Territoire (54 seats; members indirectly selected proportionally by the partisan makeup of the 3 Provincial Assemblies or Assemblés Provinciales; members of the 3 Provincial Assemblies directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms); 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 indirectly elects 2 members to the French Senate by an electoral colleges for a 6-year term with one seat renewed every 3 years and directly elects 2 members to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term

elections: Territorial Congress - last held on 12 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2024) French Senate - election last held on 24 September 2017 (next to be held not later than 2019) French National Assembly - election last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held by June 2022)

election results: Territorial Congress - percent of vote by party - N/A; seats by party -Future With Confidence 18, UNI 9, UC 9, CE 7, FLNKS 6, Oceanic Awakening 3, PT 1, LKS 1 (Anti-Independence 28, Pro-Independence 26); composition - men 30, women 24, percent of women 44.4% French Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2 French National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CE 2
Judicial branch: highest courts: Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel; organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; court bench normally includes the court president and 2 counselors); Administrative Court (number of judges NA); note - final appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are referred to the Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation, in Paris; final appeals beyond the Administrative Court are referred to the Administrative Court of Appeal, in Paris judge selection and term of office: judge appointment and tenure based on France's judicial system

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: Build Our Rainbow Nation Caledonia Together or CE [Philippe GERMAIN] Caledonian Union or UC [Daniel GOA] Future Together (l'Avenir Ensemble) [Harold MARTIN] Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (alliance includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM) [Victor TUTUGORO] Labor Party (Parti Travailliste) or PT [Louis Kotra UREGEI] National Union for Independence (Union Nationale pour l'Independance) or UNI Party of Kanak Liberation (Parti de Liberation Kanak) or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE] Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE] The Republicans (formerly The Rally or UMP) [interim leader Thierry SANTA] Union for Caledonia in France
International organization participation: ITUC (NGOs), PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WMO
National symbol(s): fleche faitiere (native rooftop adornment), kagu bird;
national colors: gray, red
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; 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)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of France)
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New Caledonia has 11% of the world's nickel reserves, representing the second largest reserves on the planet. 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. With the gradual increase in the production of two new nickel plants in 2015, average production of metallurgical goods stood at a record level of 94 thousand tons. However, the sector is exposed to the high volatility of nickel prices, which have been in decline since 2016. In 2017, one of the three major mining firms on the island, Vale, put its operations up for sale, triggering concerns of layoffs ahead of the 2018 independence referendum.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $11.11 billion (2017 est.) $10.89 billion (2016 est.) $10.77 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2015 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $9.77 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2% (2017 est.) 1.1% (2016 est.) 3.2% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $31,100 (2015 est.) $32,100 (2014 est.) $29,800 (2012 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 64.3% (2017 est.) government consumption: 24% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 38.4% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 18.7% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -45.5% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 1.4% (2017 est.) industry: 26.4% (2017 est.) services: 72.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: vegetables; beef, venison, other livestock products; fish
Industries: nickel mining and smelting
Industrial production growth rate: 3.5% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 119,500 (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 22.4%
services: 74.9% (2010)
Unemployment rate: 14.7% (2014) 14% (2009)
Population below poverty line: 17% (2008)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 1.995 billion (2015 est.)
expenditures: 1.993 billion (2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 20.4% (of GDP) (2015 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): 0% (of GDP) (2015 est.)
Public debt: 6.5% of GDP (2015 est.) 6.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.4% (2017 est.) 0.6% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.469 billion (2014 est.) -$1.861 billion (2013 est.)
Exports: $2.207 billion (2014 est.)
Exports - commodities: ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
Exports - partners: China 25.4%, Japan 16.6%, South Korea 14.8%, France 8.2%, Belgium 5%, US 4.6% (2017)
Imports: $2.715 billion (2015 est.) $4.4 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: France 24.2%, Singapore 13.1%, China 9.2%, Australia 7.1%, South Korea 5.2%, Malaysia 4.7%, NZ 4.4%, US 4.4% (2017)
Debt - external: $112 million (31 December 2013 est.) $79 million (31 December 1998 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $16.43 billion (2015 est.) $14.55 billion (2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $658.2 million (2015 est.) $593.8 million (2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 110.2 (2017 est.) 107.84 (2016 est.) 107.84 (2015 est.) 89.85 (2013 est.) 90.56 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 2.945 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 2.739 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 996,200 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 87% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 6% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 20,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 19,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 6.165 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 246,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: well advanced telecoms sector; 4G network services (2018)

domestic: fixed-line 34 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership 91 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia; increased network capacity and improved high-speed connectivity and access to international networks
Broadcast media: the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle-Calédonie TV and radio stations; a small number of privately owned radio stations also broadcast
Internet country code: .nc
Internet users: total: 201,000
percent of population: 74% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 25 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 12
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2017)
under 914 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 13
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
under 914 m: 8 (2013)
Heliports: 8 (2013)
Roadways: total 5,622 km
Merchant marine: total 10

by type: general cargo 2, other 8 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Noumea
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Defense is the responsibility of France
Military branches: no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu
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