2 Nov 2020

Population growth slows in New Caledonia

3:06 pm on 2 November 2020
Petanque game along Anse Vata in Noumea

Petanque game along Anse Vata in Noumea Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

New figures show New Caledonia's population growth has slowed as more immigrants again leave the territory.

According to statistics for 2014 to 2019, annual growth has been 0.2 percent, which is the lowest rate in half a century.

As of September 2019, the population was 271,000, with about 60,000 people born outside New Caledonia.

The share of foreign-born residents has dropped to 22 percent, which is the lowest since the mid-1980s.

In the period from 2014 to 2019, earlier migration gains had turned into a deficit of 2,000 people a year, with most of the people leaving having immigrated to New Caledonia.

The report said this means that one in 10 residents left.

Births exceeded deaths by 13,000 during the period with a slowing birth rates where now 1.9 children were born per woman.

As reasons for the emigration trend, the report cites the economic slowdown after the fall in the price of nickel in 2015 and uncertainty over the political situation with the independence referendums.

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