Wallis and Futuna is not a country but instead is classified as an overseas collectivity. This means that it is semi-autonomous but remains an administrative division of France. It was deemed an overseas territory in the 1950s before becoming an overseas collectivity in 2003. Wallis and Futuna is located in the South Pacific northeast of Fiji and west of Samoa. The total land area of Wallis and Futuna is nearly 55 square miles. The population based on the 2018 census is 11,558, putting the population density at over 216 people per square mile.
The capital of Wallis and Futuna is Mata-Utu, which is also the largest city. Mata-Uta is located on the island of Uvea (also known as Wallis) and has a population of nearly 1,200 people. Wallis and Futuna is made up of three volcanic islands with many islets. There are two main island groups – the previously named Uvea and the Hoorn Islands, which are also known as Futuna Islands. Over 72% of the population lives on the island of Wallis.
The major ethnic group in this island region is Polynesian. Other minority groups include people of Metropolitan French descent and whites that are of French descent. Nearly 60% of the population speaks Wallisian, while close to 28% speak Futunan. Over 12% speak French. Nearly everyone in Wallis and Futuna are of the Roman Catholic faith, which is practiced by 99% of inhabitants.
The population of this island region was on the rise from the late 1960s to the early 2000s, reaching a peak of nearly 15,000 inhabitants in 2003. However, at the time of the 2008 census, the population had declined and has continued to fall at every five-year census since. This is primarily because of the lack of job and educational opportunities that are driving young islanders to New Caledonia. Political tension on the main island has also contributed to the declining population.