We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!



 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

Geographic Coordinates:

 15 00 S, 140 00 W


 Total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
Land: 3,827 sq km
Water: 340 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 2,525 km (Rank: 46)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


 Tropical, but moderate


 Mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m

Natural Resources:

 Timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 0.75%
Permanent crops: 5.5%
Other: 93.75% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 10 sq km (2008)

Natural Hazards:

 Occasional cyclonic storms in January

Geography - Note:

 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

Back to the Top



 Noun: French Polynesian(s)
Adjective: French Polynesian

Ethnic Groups:

 Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%


 French (official) 61.1%, Polynesian (official) 31.4%, Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)


 Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 10%, no religion 6%


 294,935 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 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.)

Median Age:

 Total: 29.9 years
Male: 30.2 years
Female: 29.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.331% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 15.53 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 4.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 2.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 51% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 PAPEETE (capital) 133,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 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.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 7.27 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 8.35 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 6.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 77.1 years
Male: 74.62 years
Female: 79.7 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.87 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 99% of population
Rural: 97% of population
Total: 98% of population
Urban: 1% of population
Rural: 3% of population
Total: 2% of population (2008)


 Definition: age 14 and over can read and write
Total population: 98%
Male: 98%
Female: 98% (1977 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 33.2%
Male: 29.3%
Female: 39.1% (2002)

Back to the Top


Country Name:

 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


 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)

Administrative Divisions:

 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

Dependency Status:

 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


 None (overseas lands of France)

National Holiday:

 Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is Internal Autonomy Day, 29 June (1880)


 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal System:

 The laws of France, where applicable, apply


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 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

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)

Legislative Branch:

 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

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:

 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

International Organization Participation:

 ITUC, PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU

Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 None (overseas lands of France)

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 None (overseas lands of France)

Flag Description:

 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

National Symbols:

 Outrigger canoe

National Anthem:

 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)


 (overseas lands of France)

Government - Note:

 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

Back to the Top


Economy - Overview:

 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $4.718 billion (2004 est.)
$4.58 billion (2003 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $6.1 billion (2004)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 2.7% (2005)
5.1% (2002)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $18,000 (2004 est.)
$17,500 (2003 est.)

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 3.5%
Industry: 20.4%
Services: 76.1% (2005)

Labor Force:

 116,000 (2007)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 13%
Industry: 19%
Services: 68% (2002)

Unemployment Rate:

 11.7% (2005)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%


 Revenues: $865 million
Expenditures: $644.1 million (1999)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 14.2% of GDP (1999)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 3.6% of GDP (1999)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 1.1% (2007)
1.1% (2006 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Fish; coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, coffee; poultry, beef, dairy products


 Tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts, phosphates

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production:

 670 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 60.7%
Hydro: 39.3%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 623.1 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 8,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 6,611 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)


 $211 million (2005 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Cultured pearls, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat


 $1.706 billion (2005 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Fuels, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Pacific Franc to Any Currency

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -
87.59 (2007)
94.97 (2006)
95.89 (2005)
96.04 (2004)
105.66 (2003)

Back to the Top


Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 54,900 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 215,900 (2010)

Telephone System:

 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)

Broadcast Media:

 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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 2, FM 14, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 7 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 36,056 (2010)

Internet Users:

 120,000 (2009)

Back to the Top



 53 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 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)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 4 (2010)


 1 (2010)


 Total: 2,590 km
Paved: 1,735 km
Unpaved: 855 km (1999)

Merchant Marine:

 Registered in other countries: 13 (Cambodia 1, France 12) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:


Back to the Top


Military Branches:

 No regular military forces (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 82,722 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 67,363
Females age 16-49: 66,053 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 2,498
Female: 2,390 (2010 est.)

Military - Note:

 Defense is the responsibility of France

Back to the Top

Last Updated: December 2011

French Polynesia Main Page World Factbook Main Page


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(F) Pacific Franc (XPF)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map