Society of Papua New Guinea



Population per sq km: 17

Life expectancy: 63 years

Population: 7,619,000 (2015); 13 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 2.1 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 29 per 1,000 people (42 in 1970); life expectancy 63 years (43 in 1970).

The people are of mixed (mostly Melanesian) race, with small communities of Polynesians on outlying atolls. There is a declining non-indigenous population (several thousand Australians and a small Chinese population).

Language: The official language is English, but Tok Pisin (an English-based Creole) is more widely used, and Hiri Motu is spoken around Port Moresby; there are over 800 indigenous languages.

Religion: Christians 90 per cent (predominantly Protestants), though Christian beliefs often coexist with traditional beliefs.

Media: Two daily papers, The National and Post-Courier, are published in English.

In such a large and sparsely populated country radio is the most important information source for most people. The National Broadcasting Corporation provides national and provincial radio stations, and there are several private radio stations.

The private TV service, EMTV, and public National Television Service are only received in and around Port Moresby and the provincial capitals.

Some ten per cent of households have TV sets (2006).

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Queen’s Official Birthday (Monday in June), Remembrance Day (23 July), Independence and Constitution Day (16 September), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Regional festivals are held at various times during the year. Religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday and Easter Monday.