New Caledonia

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of New Caledonia
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of New Caledonia
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Map of New Caledonia
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Photos of New Caledonia
 
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OF NEW CALEDONIA
 

Introduction

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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 a referendum between 2014 and 2019 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
 
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21 30 S, 165 30 E
 
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total: 18,575 sq km
country comparison to the world: 156
land: 18,275 sq km
water: 300 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than New Jersey
 
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0 km
 
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2,254 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
 
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coastal plains with interior mountains
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
 
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nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
 
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arable land: 0.32%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 99.46% (2005)
 
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100 sq km (2008)
 
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cyclones, most frequent from November to March
volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active
 
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erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian
 
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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)
 
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French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
 
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Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
 
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256,275 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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0-14 years: 24.9% (male 32,653/female 31,236)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 86,865/female 85,578)
65 years and over: 7.8% (male 8,954/female 10,989) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 30.1 years
male: 29.6 years
female: 30.7 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.524% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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16.28 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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5.28 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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4.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 22
note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2011 est.)
 
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urban population: 57% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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NOUMEA (capital) 144,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 5.71 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 179
male: 6.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 76.75 years
country comparison to the world: 71
male: 72.67 years
female: 81.03 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.07 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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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 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 96.8%
female: 95.5% (1996 census)
 
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NA
 
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Government

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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
 
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territorial collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998
 
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NA
 
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name: Noumea
geographic coordinates: 22 16 S, 166 27 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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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
 
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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 2019
 
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Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)
 
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4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
 
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civil law system based on French law; the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands
 
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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 Albert DUPUY (since 6 October 2010)
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 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 June 2016)
 
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elections: 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) 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: 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 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2
 
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Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court
 
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Caledonia My Country; Caledonia Together [Philippe GOMES]; Caledonian Union or UC [Nicholas ABOUT]; Communist Republican and Left Party or CRC-SPG [Nichole BORVO COHEN-SEAT]; Democratic and European Social Rally or R.D.S.E. [Yvon COLLIN]; Front National or FN [Jean-Marie 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 or UNI; Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; Renewed Caledonian Union; Socialist Group [Jean Pierre BEL]; Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]; The Future Together or AE [Didier LEROUX]; The Rally or UMP [Gerard LONGUET]; Union Nationale pour l'Independance or UNI; Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees [Francois BURCK]
 
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NA
 
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PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU
 
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none (overseas territory of France)
 
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none (overseas territory of France)
 
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the flag of France is used
 
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kagu bird
 
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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)
 
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Economy

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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.
 
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$3.158 billion (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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$3.3 billion (2003 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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$15,000 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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agriculture: 2%
industry: 26.5%
services: 71.4% (2010 est.)
 
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102,600 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2002)
 
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17.1% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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27.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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revenues: $996 million
expenditures: $1.072 billion (2001 est.)
 
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30.2% of GDP (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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-2.3% of GDP (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
 
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2.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
0.9% (2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products; fish
 
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nickel mining and smelting
 
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1.8 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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1.674 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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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: 188
 
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14,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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648 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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14,330 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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$969.4 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$969.4 million (2006)
 
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ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
 
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Japan 19.8%, France 16.7%, South Korea 10.5%, Australia 8.1%, Spain 6.7%, US 4.9% (2010)
 
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$2.58 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
$2.58 billion (2006)
 
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machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
 
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France 31.8%, China 14.1%, Singapore 13.8%, Australia 11.4%, NZ 4.3% (2010)
 
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$79 million (1998 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
 
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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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72,200 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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220,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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general assessment: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, completed in 2007, is expected to significantly increase network capacity and improve 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) (2008)
 
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the publicly-owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle Caledonie television and radio stations; a small number of privately-owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)
 
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.nc
 
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22,456 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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85,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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Transportation

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25 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 8 (2010)
 
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8 (2010)
 
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total: 5,622 km (2006)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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registered in other countries: 3 (France 3) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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Noumea
 
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Military

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no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 68,219 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 56,233
females age 16-49: 55,983 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,272
female: 2,167 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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defense is the responsibility of France
 
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Transnational Issues

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Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu
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