Papua New Guinea - Statistics & Facts

Published by H. Plecher, May 17, 2018
Papua New Guinea is an Oceanian country located in the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The regions of Papua and West Papua, both part of Indonesia nowadays, constitute the island’s other half. Situated along the “Ring of Fire”, an area where a significant number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur, Papua New Guinea is frequently exposed to these natural hazards.

Although Papua New Guinea’s fertility rate has decreased in recent years – amounting to 3.71 children per woman in 2015, it was estimated that the country's population has surpassed the 8 million-mark by 2016, with adults making up about half of all inhabitants. As a result of the country’s ethnically diverse history, various cultural backgrounds and influences have found a place in the country’s society, the migrants and colonists visiting the island leading to the creation of a myriad of different ethnic groups. Today, the country is home to more than 1,000 different ones and thus, a variety of languages: The official languages are Tok Pisin – a commonly used pidgin which developed into a creole –, English, and Hiri Motu. All in all, 839 languages are spoken all over Papua New Guinea, nearly three times as many as in all of Europe.

Due to its tropical climate and its mostly mountainous terrain, the country’s economy primarily developed in the agriculture and industry sectors. Fresh fruit, cocoa beans, as well as gold production put Papua New Guinea amid the major countries producing these commodities. High amounts were exported worldwide, especially to the country’s main export partners Singapore, Australia, and Japan.

In 2016, gross domestic product took a small hit in an otherwise stable economy. It is estimated to readjust within the next years. After years of relatively high fluctuation in growth rates, economic growth in Papua New Guinea decreased to 2.4 percent the same year, reflecting the slump, but it, too, is believed to gain strength again in the upcoming years. The state’s national debt has been quite stable over the last few years and is expected to hover around the 30 percent share of GDP for the foreseeable future.

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