Since 1980, the archipelago's population has remained relatively stable at just over 6,000 inhabitants. Despite the very French nature of the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, a large proportion of the inhabitants speak English when necessary, either in discussions with Canada or the United States, or with tourists and business people coming to the archipelago.
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon's GDP per capita is similar to that of France. In 2004, it was € 26,073. When the value added is broken down by economic sector, it is clear that the service industry dominates the archipelago's economy, with an 83% contribution. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon depends heavily on imports, which mainly include food and petroleum products. Exports from the archipelago are almost entirely made up of fishery products. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon's main trading partner is Canada, followed by metropolitan France.
The islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are an overseas collectivity of the French Republic where responsibilities are shared between the local government, the Conseil territorial and France through the intermediary of the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Préfecture. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon's special status gives it entire control over its taxation and it has established a beneficial tax and customs regime to promote investment in the archipelago. Because it is part of France, the archipelago is associated with the European Union as an Overseas Country and Territory (OCT) (see section 3.1 under Europe). It therefore benefits from a favourable trading regime with the European Community.
The archipelago has airport, maritime and road infrastructure fit for its insular nature. SPM Telecom provides telecommunication services; fees for telephone, wireless and Internet services are regulated. There are many Internet service subscribers on the archipelago—proportionately, more than in France. The service uses state-of-the-art cable and fibre optic network technology. A project for an underwater digital cable is being studied, to link Saint-Pierre and Miquelon with Canada.
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon's health care system is almost entirely public and free. It includes one hospital, one health care centre and one private practice doctor. In 1994, France and Canada signed an agreement fostering regional cooperation; the medical, hospital and sanitation fields were part of that agreement. For example, under this framework, residents of the archipelago can be treated in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Education and lifelong training
The archipelago does not have institutions of higher learning (beyond the undergraduate level); therefore, students on the archipelago have access to bursaries from the Conseil territorial to continue their studies abroad. Most students go to study in metropolitan France, but others take advantage of agreements to study in Canada, mainly in New Brunswick. The main fields chosen by Saint-Pierre and Miquelon students are health, languages, economics and management, social sciences and natural sciences, and technical fields, particularly specializing in electronics, health care, mechanics, the accommodation industry, and accounting.
Aside from the initial training in the various trades offered in schools, the Préfecture and the Conseil territorial are responsible for ongoing labour market training, which is provided by two organizations that mainly aim to offer entrepreneurs, employees and job seekers training in technical, technological and regulatory developments that affect their trade. This training enables the archipelago's population to adapt to labour market trends. The sectors targeted by ongoing training include namely seafood production and processing, business administration and services, tourism, waste management, agriculture, oil and gas, energy, crafts, and the public works industry.