Marquesas Islands Population

The South Pacific Ocean is home to the volcanic Marquesas Islands. Their history, culture, and rugged good looks have made them famous. Numerous interesting subtopics can be explored by looking at the evolution of the Marquesas Islands’ populace over time.


Maori KidThe History of the Population of the Marquesas Island


More than two thousand years of history have left their mark on the Marquesas Islands. Polynesians were the first people to settle on the islands, probably around 100 BC. Though the first settlers likely came from Samoa or Tonga, the specifics of when and how they arrived are a mystery.


Historically, the Marquesas Islands were made up of many separate, self-sufficient communities, each with its own language and culture. Each island’s valley was essentially its own nation, headed by a hakapu. Early Marquesan societies were distinguished by their sophisticated social structures, rich artistic canons, and profound religious observances. The people of the Marquesas were expert mariners and merchants who kept in touch with other Polynesian communities.


The Marquesas Islands were first visited by European explorers and merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. This ushered in a time of great upheaval for the populace, as Europeans brought with them deadly diseases that wiped out large segments of the population and disrupted established ways of life. The Marquesans lost a lot of land and resources because of exploitative trade practices and French colonization.


The people of the Marquesas Islands today have a blended Polynesian and European genetic background. The islands’ varied cultural heritage is a result of their long and eventful history of migration, trade, and colonization.


Statistics of the Present Population


The population of the Marquesas Islands is predicted to reach about 9,000 by the year 2021. Each of the six communes on the islands is home to its own distinct community. Hiva Oa is the largest communal settlement, with a population of about 2,500. Tahuata, the least populous of the communes, is home to only 700 people.


About 35% of the people living on the Marquesas Islands are under the age of 20, making it a young and vibrant community. About 52% of the islands’ residents are women, giving them a slim majority. Although French is the official language, many islanders continue to speak the Marquesan language.


The Marquesas Islands have a very multiethnic population. The islands are home to a diverse population with a majority of Polynesians, but also sizable populations of Europeans, Chinese, and Vietnamese.


photo montagePopulation Growth Trends


In recent years, the number of people living on the Marquesas Islands has been steadily dropping. The French government reports that island population has dropped by about 10% in the last decade. This is due to low birth rates, high rates of out-migration among young adults, and emigration to other parts of French Polynesia and other countries.


The lack of economic opportunities is a major factor in the Marquesas Islands’ declining population. The islands are highly dependent on government aid and offer few opportunities for private enterprise. This has fueled outmigration from the islands, which in turn has increased unemployment and poverty.


The aging of the population is another cause of the decrease in numbers. The islands are becoming increasingly elderly as their youth continues to leave. As a result, healthcare and social service systems may struggle to meet the needs of an aging population.


The Effects of Tourism on Locals


The Marquesas Islands have seen a rise in their importance as a tourist destination in recent years. Travelers from all over the world flock to the islands to experience their rich cultural history and stunning landscapes. The islands’ population, however, has been affected by tourism.


One positive aspect is the economic boost the islands have received from tourists. The industry has boosted the local economy by creating jobs for many locals. Given the dearth of alternative economic opportunities on the islands, this has been crucial.


Concerns have been raised, however, about the effects of tourism on the locals and their way of life in the Marquesas. The danger of the world’s cultures becoming too similar is a major worry. Traditional Marquesan practices and customs run the risk of being lost or diluted as more tourists visit the islands and interact with local communities. The Marquesan people’s heritage and sense of self could be threatened if this happens.


The potential for environmental degradation is another source of worry. The unique and delicate ecosystems of the Marquesas Islands could be jeopardized by the growth and development that accompany tourism. The local population may suffer from overcrowding and other unfavorable effects if too many tourists visit their area.


Finally, the social and economic effects of tourism on the people of the Marquesas Islands are a source of concern. Rising property prices and gentrification pose a threat to the ability of long-term residents to remain in their neighborhoods of choice. Concerns have also been raised about the possibility of a two-tiered benefit system resulting from an increase in tourism, with the wealthy receiving the lion’s share of the benefits while local communities continue to suffer.


While tourism has been economically beneficial to the Marquesas Islands, it must be managed carefully to avoid negatively impacting the local population and way of life.


coinsChallenges Facing the Population


Today, people living on the Marquesas Islands face a wide range of difficulties. Financial difficulties are a major factor. As was previously mentioned, private enterprise is discouraged and the islands are highly dependent on public assistance. This has fueled outmigration from the islands, which in turn has increased unemployment and poverty.


The lack of easy access to medical care is another pressing problem in the Marquesas. Only Hiva Oa has a hospital, and it’s a small facility with limited resources. Many islanders in need of specialized medical care end up making the long journey to other parts of French Polynesia. Those in need of immediate medical care or who are unable to afford transportation may be severely hampered by this.


Last but not least, the Marquesas Islands have some ecological problems. The islands are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms, and shifting patterns of rainfall, which threaten many island nations. The unique ecosystems and species of the Marquesas Islands are in danger due to deforestation and other land-use changes.


In order to overcome these obstacles, substantial resources must be allocated, and the public and private sectors must work together. It will also call for an emphasis on sustainable development, which seeks to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental and social concerns.




The people of the Marquesas Islands have a long and storied history, and they also face many difficulties in the modern era. Although tourism has boosted the islands’ economy, it has also led to worries about environmental damage and cultural homogenization. The islands’ population is falling at the same time that they experience growing economic hardships and inadequate medical care. Despite these difficulties, the Marquesas Islands are a truly special place, home to a vibrant culture and tight-knit society. To ensure a sustainable and thriving future for this unique and important part of the world, substantial investment and collaboration are required to address the challenges facing the population of the Marquesas Islands.

Our Top FAQ's

The population of the Marquesas Islands is approximately 8,000 people, with the largest town being Taiohae on the island of Nuku Hiva.

The primary source of income for the population of the Marquesas Islands is government support, as there are few opportunities for entrepreneurship or private industry on the islands.

Tourism has brought economic benefits to the population of the Marquesas Islands, but has also raised concerns about cultural homogenization, environmental degradation, and uneven distribution of economic benefits.

The population of the Marquesas Islands faces economic struggles, limited access to healthcare, and environmental challenges such as climate change and deforestation. Addressing these challenges will require significant investment and collaboration.

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