Papua New Guinea facts on every entity in the world

The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives. Since 2001, Bougainville has experienced autonomy. Under the terms of a peace accord, 2015 is the year that a five-year window opens for a referendum on the question of independence.



Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia

Geographic coordinates

6.00° S, 147.00° E

Area 55/257

total: 462,840 sq km

land: 452,860 sq km

water: 9,980 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than California

Land boundaries

total: 824 km

border countries (1): Indonesia 824 km


5,152 km

Maritime claims

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation


mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m

Natural resources

gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

Land use

agricultural land: 2.6%

arable land 0.7%; permanent crops 1.5%; permanent pasture 0.4%

forest: 63.1%

other: 34.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

801 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.39 cu km/yr (57%/43%/0%)

per capita: 61.3 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards

active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis

volcanism: severe volcanic activity; Ulawun (elev. 2,334 m), one of Papua New Guinea's potentially most dangerous volcanoes, has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Rabaul (elev. 688 m) destroyed the city of Rabaul in 1937 and 1994; Lamington erupted in 1951 killing 3,000 people; Manam's 2004 eruption forced the island's abandonment; other historically active volcanoes include Bam, Bagana, Garbuna, Karkar, Langila, Lolobau, Long Island, Pago, St. Andrew Strait, Victory, and Waiowa

Environment - current issues

rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast

People and Society


noun: Papua New Guinean(s)

adjective: Papua New Guinean

Ethnic groups

Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian


Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 836 indigenous languages spoken (about 12% of the world's total); most languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers

note: Tok Pisin, a creole language, is widely used and understood; English is spoken by 1%-2%; Hiri Motu is spoken by less than 2%


Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 69.4% (Evangelical Lutheran 19.5%, United Church 11.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, Pentecostal 8.6%, Evangelical Alliance 5.2%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.5%, other Protestant 8.9%), Baha'i 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)

Population 106/238

6,672,429 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 34.45% (male 1,169,870/female 1,128,631)

15-24 years: 19.77% (male 668,327/female 650,672)

25-54 years: 36.43% (male 1,253,827/female 1,177,004)

55-64 years: 5.3% (male 179,075/female 174,721)

65 years and over: 4.05% (male 139,060/female 131,242) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.1%

youth dependency ratio: 62.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 5%

potential support ratio: 19.9% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 22.6 years

male: 22.8 years

female: 22.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 66/233

1.78% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 58/224

24.38 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 147/225

6.53 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 85/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 13% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.12% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PORT MORESBY (capital) 345,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 51/184

215 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 53/224

total: 38.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 42.12 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 169/224

total population: 67.03 years

male: 64.81 years

female: 69.36 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 51/224

3.16 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

32.4% (2006/07)

Health expenditures 137/191

4.5% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking water source


urban: 88% of population

rural: 32.8% of population

total: 40% of population


urban: 12% of population

rural: 67.2% of population

total: 60% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 56.4% of population

rural: 13.3% of population

total: 18.9% of population


urban: 43.6% of population

rural: 86.7% of population

total: 81.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.72% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

37,200 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

900 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 115/191

25.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 19/138

27.9% (2011)

Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea

conventional short form: Papua New Guinea

local short form: Papuaniugini

former: Territory of Papua and New Guinea

abbreviation: PNG

etymology: the word "papua" derives from the Malay "papuah" describing the frizzy hair of the Melanesians; Spanish explorer Ynigo ORTIZ de RETEZ applied the term "Nueva Guinea" to the island of New Guinea in 1545 after noting the resemblance of the locals to the peoples of the Guinea coast of Africa

Government type

constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


name: Port Moresby

geographic coordinates: 9.27° S, 147.11° E

time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

20 provinces, 1 autonomous region*, and 1 district**; Bougainville*, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Hela, Jiwaka, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital**, New Ireland, Northern, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain, West Sepik


16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day, 16 September (1975)


adopted 15 August 1975, effective at independence 16 September 1975; amended many times, last in 2013; note - in September 2015, the Supreme Court nullified the 2013 constitutional amendment that increased the grace period on motions of no confidence (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Papua New Guinea

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Michael OGIO (since 25 February 2011)

head of government: Prime Minister Peter Paire O'NEILL (since 2 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Leo DION (since 9 August 2012)

cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general nominated by the National Parliament and appointed by the chief of state; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general pending the outcome of a National Parliament vote

election results: Peter Paire O'NEILL (PNC) elected prime minister; National Parliament vote - 94 to 12

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (111 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies - 91 local and 20 provincial - by majority preferential vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the constitution allows up to 126 seats

note: 14 other parties won 3 or fewer seats; association with political parties is fluid

elections: last held from 23 June 2012 to 27 July 2012 (next to be held in June 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - People's National Congress Party 27, Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party 12, PNG Party 8, National Alliance Party 7, United Resources Party 7, People's Party 6, People's Progess Party 6, other 22, independent 16

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, deputy chief justice, and 28 other judges); National Courts (10 courts located in the province capitals, with a total of 16 resident judges)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon advice of the National Executive Council (cabinet) after consultation with the National Justice Administration Minister; deputy chief justice and other justices appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body to include the Supreme Court chief and deputy chief justices, the chief ombudsman, and a member of the National Parliament; citizen judges appointed for 10-year renewable terms; non-citizen judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms; appointment and tenure of National Court resident judges NA

subordinate courts: district, village, and juvenile courts

Political parties and leaders

National Alliance Party or NA [Patrick PRUAITCHI]

Papua New Guinea Party or PNGP [Beldan NAMAH]

People's National Congress Party or PNC [Peter Paire O'NEILL]

People's Party or PP (merged with PNC)

People's Progress Party or PPP [Sir Julius CHAN]

Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party or THE

United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA]

note: as of 13 March 2012, 41 political parties were registered

Political pressure groups and leaders

Centre for Environment Law and Community Rights or Celcor [Damien ASE]

Community Coalition Against Corruption

National Council of Women

Transparency International Papau New Guinea or TI PNG (chapter of Transparency International)

International organization participation


Flag description

divided diagonally from upper hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is red with a soaring yellow bird of paradise centered; the lower triangle is black with five, white, five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross constellation centered; red, black, and yellow are traditional colors of Papua New Guinea; the bird of paradise - endemic to the island of New Guinea - is an emblem of regional tribal culture and represents the emergence of Papua New Guinea as a nation; the Southern Cross, visible in the night sky, symbolizes Papua New Guinea's connection with Australia and several other countries in the South Pacific

National symbol(s)

bird of paradise; national colors: red, black

National anthem

name: "O Arise All You Sons"

lyrics/music: Thomas SHACKLADY

note: adopted 1975


Economy - overview

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain, land tenure issues, and the high cost of developing infrastructure. The economy has a small formal sector, focused mainly on the export of those natural resources, and an informal sector, employing the majority of the population. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the people. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued foreign demand for PNG's commodities.

Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Natural gas reserves amount to an estimated 155 billion cubic meters. A consortium led by a major American oil company is constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility that began exporting in April 2014. As the largest investment project in the country's history, it has the potential to double GDP in the near-term and triple Papua New Guinea's export revenue. An American-owned firm also opened PNG's first oil refinery in 2004 and is building a second LNG production facility. The government faces the challenge of ensuring transparency and accountability for revenues flowing from this and other large LNG projects. In 2011 and 2012, the National Parliament passed legislation that created an offshore Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to manage government surpluses from mineral, oil, and natural gas projects. In recent years, the government has opened up markets in telecommunications and air transport, making both more affordable to the people.

Numerous challenges still face the government of Peter O'NEILL, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and maintaining good relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including chronic law and order and land tenure issues.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 146/230

$19.22 billion (2015 est.)

$16.57 billion (2014 est.)

$15.41 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$18 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 1/225

16% (2015 est.)

7.5% (2014 est.)

5.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 192/230

$2,800 (2015 est.)

$2,500 (2014 est.)

$2,300 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 27/179

28.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

26.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

8.7% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 56.1%

government consumption: 10.5%

investment in fixed capital: 13.4%

investment in inventories: 7.7%

exports of goods and services: 62.6%

imports of goods and services: -50.3%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 23.3%

industry: 38.3%

services: 38.4% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; poultry, pork; shellfish


copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining (gold, silver, copper); crude oil and petroleum products; construction, tourism

Industrial production growth rate 4/202

10.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 91/233

4.267 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 85%

industry: NA%

services: NA% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate 10/207

1.9% (2008 est.)

1.6% (2004)

Population below poverty line

37% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 40.5% (1996)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 18/144

50.9 (1996)


revenues: $4.142 billion

expenditures: $5.643 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 136/219

23% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 198/220

-8.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 82/176

48.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

41.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 185/226

6.1% (2015 est.)

5.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 12/156

14% (31 December 2010)

6.92% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 94/184

9.1% (31 December 2015 est.)

9.38% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 98/192

$5.113 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.034 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 114/193

$8.085 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$7.477 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 116/191

$6.347 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$6.125 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 74/121

$10.71 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$8.999 billion (31 December 2011)

$9.742 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 36/197

$1.356 billion (2015 est.)

-$703 million (2014 est.)

Exports 95/224

$8.653 billion (2015 est.)

$8.941 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns

Exports - partners

Australia 23.6%, Japan 15.6%, China 9.1% (2014)

Imports 140/223

$3.311 billion (2015 est.)

$4.013 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners

Australia 26.5%, Algeria 23.2%, Singapore 11.4%, China 8.7%, Malaysia 5.9% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 106/170

$2.966 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.305 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 77/206

$26.51 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$21.63 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

Exchange rates

kina (PGK) per US dollar -

2.75 (2015 est.)

2.46 (2014 est.)

2.46 (2013 est.)

2.08 (2012 est.)

2.37 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 130/220

3.35 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 133/219

3.116 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 184/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 190/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 133/214

700,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 129/214

61.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 167/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 74/214

30.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 47/212

8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 63/214

34,210 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 56/214

25,400 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 72/214

14,880 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 62/215

175.2 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 96/214

17,330 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 130/212

20,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 98/214

3,536 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 154/213

5,933 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 81/216

110 million cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 108/215

110 million cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 166/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 122/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 47/212

155.3 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 138/212

3.385 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 137/219

total subscriptions: 150,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 132/217

total: 3.4 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 51 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: services are minimal; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services

domestic: access to telephone services is not widely available although combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity has increased to roughly 40 per 100 persons

international: country code - 675; submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service (2009)

Broadcast media

2 TV stations, 1 commercial station operating since the late 1980s, and 1 state-run station launched in 2008; satellite and cable TV services are available; state-run National Broadcasting Corporation operates 3 radio networks with multiple repeaters and about 20 provincial stations; several commercial radio stations with multiple transmission points as well as several community stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are accessible (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 28 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

3 (all in the Port Moresby area; stations at Mt. Hagen, Goroka, Lae, and Rabaul are planned) (2004)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 145/232

5,006 (2012)

Internet users 162/217

total: 164,500

percent of population: 2.5% (2014 est.)


Airports 12/236

561 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 21

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 540

1,524 to 2,437 m: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 53

under 914 m: 476 (2013)


2 (2013)


oil 264 km (2013)

Roadways 138/223

total: 9,349 km

paved: 3,000 km

unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)

Waterways 11/107

11,000 km (2011)

Merchant marine 83/156

total: 31

by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 22, petroleum tanker 2

foreign-owned: 8 (Germany 1, Malaysia 1, UAE 6) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak

LNG terminal(s) (export): Port Moresby

Military and Security

Military branches

Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF; includes Maritime Operations Element, Air Operations Element) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; graduation from grade 12 required (2013)

Military expenditures 127/132

0.54% of GDP (2012)

0.6% of GDP (2011)

0.54% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

relies on assistance from Australia to keep out illegal cross-border activities from primarily Indonesia, including goods smuggling, illegal narcotics trafficking, and squatters and secessionists

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 9,368 (Indonesia) (2014)

IDPs: 22,500 (natural disasters, tribal conflict, inter-communal violence, development projects) (2015)

Illicit drugs

major consumer of cannabis