Society of Vanuatu



Population per sq km: 22

Life expectancy: 72 years

Population: 264,000 (2015); concentrated near the coast on the four main islands; 26 per cent of people live in urban areas – Efaté has the fastest-growing population, as people migrate to the capital; growth 2.2 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 26 per 1,000 people (43 in 1970); life expectancy 72 years (53 in 1970).

Most of the population is Melanesian, known as ni-Vanuatu (98.5 per cent in the 1999 census), the rest of mixed Micronesian, Polynesian and European descent.

Language: The national language is Bislama; English and French are widely spoken and also official languages. There are more than 100 Melanesian languages and dialects.

Religion: Mainly Christians (Presbyterians 28 per cent, Anglicans 15 per cent, Seventh Day Adventists 13 per cent and Roman Catholics 12 per cent; 2009 census).

Media: Vanuatu Weekly is published by the government in Bislama, French and English. Independent newspapers include Vanuatu Daily Post, and the weeklies L’Hebdo du Vanuatu, Nasara, Ni-Vanuatu, Port Vila Presse and The Vanuatu Independent.

The Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation provides public TV and radio services, broadcasting in Bislama, French and English, and there are some private commercial and faith radio stations.

Some 37 per cent of households have TV sets (2009). There are 14 personal computers per 1,000 people (2005).

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Father Walter Lini Day (21 February), Chief’s Day (5 March), Labour Day (1 May), Children’s Day (24 July), Independence Day (30 July), Assumption Day (15 August), Constitution Day (5 October), Unity Day (29 November), Christmas Day and Family Day (25 and 26 December).

Religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday and Ascension Day.