The 2009 New Caledonia census: population up by 50,000 in 13 years
The 2009 census of New Caledonia enumerated 245,580 inhabitants. Population growth has slowed since the 1980s-1990s, but remains brisk at 1.7% per year between 1996 and 2009. Of the total growth, 85% was due to natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and 15% to imputed net migration. Population growth was steep in the South province (averaging 2.3% per year between 1996 and 2009) and moderate in the North province (0.7%). By contrast, the Loyalty Islands registered a 1.3% decrease. One-half of the population is aged under 30, but the proportion of elderly is rising. Two out of three New Caledonians live in the Greater Nouméa urban area. Three out of four were born in New Caledonia. Two out of five belong to the Kanak (indigenous) community. Households are becoming steadily smaller but their living standards (measured by ownership of certain durables and other goods) are rising, although gaps between provinces persist.