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Newly-released figures also show gains in education

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 27, 2011) - New Caledonians have been given a snapshot of their society with the release of the 2009 census.

The figures reveal there are still significant disparity in wealth between the north and the south and between Kanak (indigenous peoples) and Europeans.

But there are some positive figures in education, with more people completing school than ever before.

Alexandre Gautier, the Director of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies in New Caledonia, says New Caledonia is also experiencing a healthy population growth.

"Annual demographic growth is 1.7 percent in the last ten years; it's three times higher than for the French demographic growth for the same period."

"Nevertheless, population growth was significantly more dynamic in the eighties and early nineties and this is due to the current at demographic transition in New Caledonia. Birth rates are sharply increasing."

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