French Polynesia

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 22, 2011
Flag of French Polynesia
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of French Polynesia
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Map of French Polynesia
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Photos of French Polynesia
 
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OF FRENCH POLYNESIA
 

Introduction

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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. In recent years, French Polynesia's autonomy has been considerably expanded.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, five archipelagoes (Archipel Des Tuamotu, Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) in the South Pacific Ocean about half way between South America and Australia
 
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15 00 S, 140 00 W
 
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total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
country comparison to the world: 175
land: 3,827 sq km
water: 340 sq km
 
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slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut
 
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0 km
 
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2,525 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical, but moderate
 
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mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m
 
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timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower
 
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arable land: 0.75%
permanent crops: 5.5%
other: 93.75% (2005)
 
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10 sq km (2008)
 
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occasional cyclonic storms in January
 
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NA
 
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includes five archipelagoes (four volcanic, one coral); 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
 
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People and Society

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noun: French Polynesian(s)
adjective: French Polynesian
 
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Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%
 
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French (official) 61.1%, Polynesian (official) 31.4%, Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)
 
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Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%
 
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294,935 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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0-14 years: 23.5% (male 35,376/female 33,840)
15-64 years: 69.3% (male 105,823/female 98,597)
65 years and over: 7.2% (male 10,742/female 10,557) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 29.9 years
male: 30.2 years
female: 29.6 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.331% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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15.53 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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4.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
 
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2.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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urban population: 51% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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PAPEETE (capital) 133,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 7.27 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 164
male: 8.35 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 77.1 years
country comparison to the world: 66
male: 74.62 years
female: 79.7 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.87 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 98% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 2% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 14 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1977 est.)
 
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NA
 
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total: 33.2%
country comparison to the world: 13
male: 29.3%
female: 39.1% (2002)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Overseas Lands of French Polynesia
conventional short form: French Polynesia
local long form: Pays d'outre-mer de la Polynesie Francaise
local short form: Polynesie Francaise
former: French Colony of Oceania
 
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overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2003; overseas collectivity of France since 2003, though it is often referred to as an overseas country due to its degree of autonomy
 
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NA
 
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name: Papeete (located on Tahiti)
geographic coordinates: 17 32 S, 149 34 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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none (overseas lands of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five second order administrative units named Iles Australes, Iles du Vent, Iles Marquises, Iles Sous le Vent, Iles Tuamotu et Gambier
 
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none (overseas lands of France)
 
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Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is Internal Autonomy Day, 29 June (1880)
 
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4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
 
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the laws of France, where applicable, apply
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Richard DIDIER (since 24 January 2011)
head of government: President of French Polynesia Oscar TEMARU (since 1 April 2011); President of the Assembly of French Polynesia Jacqui DROLLET (since 14 April 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
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 French Polynesia government and the president of the Assembly of French Polynesia elected by the members of the assembly for five-year terms (no term limits)
 
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unicameral Assembly of French Polynesia or Assemblee de la Polynesia francaise (57 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 27 January 2008 (first round) and 10 February 2008 (second round) (next to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - Our Home alliance 45.2%, Union for Democracy alliance 37.2%, Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) 17.2% other 0.5%; seats by party - Our Home alliance 27, Union for Democracy alliance 20, Popular Rally 10
note: two seats were elected to the French Senate on 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1, independent 1; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 10-17 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2
 
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Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif
 
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Alliance for a New Democracy or ADN (includes the parties The New Star and This Country is Yours); New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api); Our Home alliance; People's Servant Party (Tavini Huiraatira); Popular Rally (Tahoeraa Huiraatira); Union for Democracy alliance or UPD
 
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NA
 
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ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU
 
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none (overseas lands of France)
 
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none (overseas lands of France)
 
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two red horizontal bands encase a wide white band in a 1:2:1 ratio; centered on the white band is a disk with a blue and white wave pattern depicting the sea on the lower half and a gold and white ray pattern depicting the sun on the upper half; a Polynesian canoe rides on the wave pattern; the canoe has a crew of five represented by five stars that symbolize the five island groups; red and white are traditional Polynesian colors
note: similar to the red-white-red flag of Tahiti, the largest of the islands in French Polynesia, which has no emblem in the white band; the flag of France is used for official occasions
 
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outrigger canoe
 
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name: "Ia Ora 'O Tahiti Nui" (Long Live Tahiti Nui)
lyrics/music: Maeva BOUGES, Irmine TEHEI, Angele TEROROTUA, Johanna NOUVEAU, Patrick AMARU, Louis MAMATUI and Jean-Pierre CELESTIN
note: adopted 1993; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)
 
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under certain acts of France, French Polynesia has acquired autonomy in all areas except those relating to police and justice, monetary policy, tertiary education, immigration, and defense and foreign affairs; the duties of its president are fashioned after those of the French prime minister
 
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Economy

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Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence agricultural 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 benefits substantially from development agreements with France aimed principally at creating new businesses and strengthening social services.
 
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$4.718 billion (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$4.58 billion (2003 est.)
 
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$6.1 billion (2004)
 
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2.7% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 131
5.1% (2002)
 
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$18,000 (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
$17,500 (2003 est.)
 
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agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 20.4%
services: 76.1% (2005)
 
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116,000 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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agriculture: 13%
industry: 19%
services: 68% (2002)
 
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11.7% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $865 million
expenditures: $644.1 million (1999)
 
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14.2% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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3.6% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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1.1% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 26
1.1% (2006 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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fish; coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products
 
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tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates
 
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NA%
 
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670 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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623.1 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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8,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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6,611 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
 
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$211 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat
 
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$1.706 billion (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
 
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fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment
 
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$NA
 
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Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -
87.59 (2007)
94.97 (2006)
95.89 (2005)
96.04 (2004)
105.66 (2003)
 
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Communications

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54,900 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 160
 
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215,900 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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general assessment: NA
domestic: combined fixed and mobile-cellular density is roughly 90 per 100 persons
international: country code - 689; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2009)
 
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the publicly-owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts on 2 television channels and 1 radio station; a government-owned TV station is operating; a small number of privately-owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)
 
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.pf
 
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36,056 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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120,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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Transportation

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53 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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total: 46
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 7 (2010)
 
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total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2010)
 
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1 (2010)
 
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total: 2,590 km
country comparison to the world: 170
paved: 1,735 km
unpaved: 855 km (1999)
 
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registered in other countries: 13 (Cambodia 1, France 12) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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Papeete
 
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Military

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no regular military forces (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 82,722 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 67,363
females age 16-49: 66,053 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,498
female: 2,390 (2010 est.)
 
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defense is the responsibility of France
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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