Papua New Guinea is located on the world’s second largest island, and has huge flora in the rainforest and nearly 1000 different peoples and languages. The country is among the least developed in the region and has very high crime rates.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Port Moresby
- Ethnic groups: Melanesians, Papuans, Negritos, Micronesians, Polynesians
- Language: Took pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), and at least 839 tribal languages.
- Religion: Protestants 69.4%, Catholics 27%, Local Religions and Others 3.6% (2000)
- Population: 8,418,346 (2018)
- Control Form: Parliamentary democracy
- Area: 462 840 km2
- Currency: Papuan China
- GNP per capita: 4,183 PPP $
- National Day: September 16th
Papua New Guinea Population
The population of Papua New Guinea was estimated at around 7,476,000 in 2014, and annual population growth to 2.1% (World Bank).
Papua New Guinea has a young population. Nearly 40% are under 15 and only 2.9% are over 65. Life expectancy at birth is about 60 years for men and 64 years for women. The gender distribution is 104.1 men per 100 women (UNdata 2013). The population density is, on average, relatively low with 16.2 units per km2. The last national census was in 2011, but criticism has been raised of its implementation and how reliable the figures are (see, among others, Allen 2014).
The population is very complex and heterogeneous. Many of the people (Papuans) are descendants of people who have lived in New Guinea for at least 50,000 years. Others are descendants of Austronesian speaking people who migrated from Southeast Asia to the Pacific recently (about 2000 years ago). The latter live mainly along the north coast and on the islands offshore, while the inland population is predominantly Papuan. There are over 800 ethnic groups in the country. At independence in 1975, the country emerged as a union of regions that had no more in common than they had been governed by alternating British, German and Australian colonial administrations. Separatist movements emerged, and several violent conflicts arose. The most serious and protracted conflict took place in Bougainville.
There are over 800 different languages spoken in the country, making Papua New Guinea the country in the world where most languages are spoken with similar cultural variation. The archipelagos and the coastal areas speak languages belonging to the Austronesian language family. In the rest of Papua New Guinea, different Papuan languages are spoken, which can be divided into a number of mutually independent language groups. Official languages are English, took pisin (pidgin English) and hiri motu (pidgin language)based in the Austronesian language motu). English has been used in public administration since the country was a British colony, while pisin and hiri motu were used in communication between different peoples. Taken pisin is most prevalent. (See also the article Languages in Oceania.)
Numerous ethnic groups have traditionally had their own local religions, including rituals to ensure the fertility of the earth and mankind. Since the mid-1800s, Christian mission has come into existence. Of the population now belong to approximately 28% of the Catholic Church, Protestants include Lutherans (23%), Adventists (8%), Pentecostals (7%) and Anglicans (4%).
Immigration and immigration in recent times
During the colonization of the country (1713-1975), it was ruled by Englishmen, Germans and Australians alike. From 1920 to 1975, the country was under Australian rule, but most Australians returned home after independence. Christian missionaries from Europe and the United States have also left their mark on the country for the past hundred years. In the late 1800s, the German Deutsche Neuguinea-Kompagnie brought in labor from China, and since then there has been a small Chinese diaspora in Papua New Guinea, most recently involved in trade. Workers from various Asian nations have come together in recent decades in connection with mining and logging. In the 2000s, refugees on their way to Australia were also sent to internment camps on the island of Manus (989 refugees are there in March 2015, according to Australian authorities).
The World Bank figures for 2010 were 61,200 emigrants and 24,500 immigrants (41.1% of them refugees).
The highlands are densely populated with from 20 to 40 residents per km2.Tynnest populated’s lowlands in southwest and around the Gulf of Papua by 1.5 per km2, and Sepik area in northwest with 5 per km2. 13% of the population lives in cities and towns, while the majority of the population live in traditional villages. Major cities (2011) are the capital Port Moresby (318,128 residents), Lae (71,286 residents), Mount Hagen (29,176 residents), Kokopo (27,627 residents), Wewak (22,714 residents) And Popondetta. (22,679 residents).