We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!



 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


 Total: 462,840 sq km
Land: 452,860 sq km
Water: 9,980 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger than California

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 820 km
Border countries: Indonesia 820 km


 5,152 km (Rank: 25)

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

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:

 Arable land: 0.49%
Permanent crops: 1.4%
Other: 98.11% (2005)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 801 cu km (1987)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.1 cu km/yr (56%/43%/1%)
Per capita: 17 cu m/yr (1987)

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: Papua New Guinea experiences 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

Back to the Top



 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 860 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world's total)

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)


 6,187,591 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 36.4% (male 1,145,946/female 1,106,705)
15-64 years: 60% (male 1,907,787/female 1,802,144)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 121,207/female 103,802) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 21.8 years
Male: 22.1 years
Female: 21.5 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.985% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 26.44 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 6.58 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 13% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 PORT MORESBY (capital) 314,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.2 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 250 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 43.29 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 47.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 39.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 66.24 years
Male: 64.02 years
Female: 68.56 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 3.46 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.053 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 87% of population
Rural: 33% of population
Total: 40% of population
Urban: 13% of population
Rural: 67% of population
Total: 60% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 71% of population
Rural: 41% of population
Total: 45% of population
Urban: 29% of population
Rural: 59% of population
Total: 55% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.9% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 34,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 1,300 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 18.1% (2005)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 57.3%
Male: 63.4%
Female: 50.9% (2000 census)

People - Note:

 The indigenous population of Papua New Guinea is one of the most heterogeneous in the world; PNG has several thousand separate communities, most with only a few hundred people; divided by language, customs, and tradition, some of these communities have engaged in low-scale tribal conflict with their neighbors for millennia; the advent of modern weapons and modern migrants into urban areas has greatly magnified the impact of this lawlessness

Back to the Top


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

Government Type:

 Constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


 Name: Port Moresby
Geographic coordinates: 9 30 S, 147 10 E
Time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

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


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

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 16 September (1975)


 September 16, 1975

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


 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 Belden NAMAH (since 9 August 2011)

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

Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; the governor general nominated by parliament and appointed by the chief of state; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general acting in accordance with a decision of the parliament

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Parliament (109 seats, 89 filled from open electorates and 20 from provinces and national capital district; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); constitution allows up to 126 seats

Elections: last held from 30 June to 10 July 2007; next to be held in June 2012

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA 27, PNGP 8, PAP 6, URP 6, PANGU PATI 5, PDM 5, independents 19, others 33; note - election to 1 seat was nullified

Note: 15 other parties won 4 or fewer seats; association with political parties is fluid

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the National Executive Council after consultation with the minister responsible for justice; other judges are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 National Alliance Party or NA [Don POLYE]; Papua and Niugini Union Party or PANGU PATI [Andrew KUMBAKOR]; Papua New Guinea Party or PNGP [Beldan NEMAH]; People's Action Party or PAP [Gabriel KAPRIS]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM; United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA]

Note: as of December 2011, 33 political parties are registered

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Ahora [Andrew MAMOKO] (represents local tribes); Centre for Environment Law and Community Rights or Celcor [Damien ASE]; Community Coalition Against Corruption

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Evan Jeremy PAKI
Chancery: 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: [1] (202) 745-3680
FAX: [1] (202) 745-3679

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Teddy B. TAYLOR
Embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby, N.C.D.
Mailing address: 4240 Port Moresby PI, US Department of State, Washington DC 20521-4240
Telephone: [675] 321-1455
FAX: [675] 321-3423

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 Symbols:

 Bird of paradise

National Anthem:

 Name: "O Arise All You Sons"
Lyrics/music: Thomas SHACKLADY

Note: adopted 1975

Back to the Top


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. Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Natural gas reserves amount to an estimated 227 billion cubic meters. A consortium led by a major American oil company is constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility that could begin exporting in 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. The government of Prime Minister SOMARE has expended much of its energy remaining in power. He was the first prime minister ever to serve a full five-year term. The government has brought stability to the national budget, largely through expenditure control; however, it relaxed spending constraints in 2006 and 2007 as elections approached. 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, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and balancing relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including an HIV/AIDS epidemic, with the second highest infection rate in all of East Asia and the Pacific, and chronic law and order and land tenure issues. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued foreign demand for PNG's commodities.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $14.95 billion (2010 est.)
$13.97 billion (2009 est.)
$13.24 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $9.668 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 7% (2010 est.)
5.5% (2009 est.)
6.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $2,500 (2010 est.)
$2,400 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 31.9%
Industry: 35.5%
Services: 32.6% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 3.809 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 85%
Industry: NA%
Services: NA% (2005 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 1.8% (2004)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 37% (2002 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 1.7%
Highest 10%: 40.5% (1996)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 50.9 (1996)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 10,177 (Indonesia) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 17.7% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $3.045 billion
Expenditures: $2.976 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 31.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 0.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 25.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
32.8% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 6% (2010 est.)
6.9% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 14% (31 December 2010 est.)
6.92% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 10.45% (31 December 2010 est.)
10.09% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $2.005 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.685 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $1.726 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.482 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $2.893 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.306 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $4.933 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$4.374 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $2.647 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.466 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $NA (31 December 2010)
$6.632 billion
$6.632 billion (31 December 2006)

Agriculture - Products:

 Coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; shell fish; poultry, pork


 Copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production, petroleum refining; construction, tourism

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 10% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 2.965 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 54.1%
Hydro: 45.9%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 2.757 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 30,570 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 33,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 8,029 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 14,770 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 88 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 130 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 130 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 226.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$648.4 million (2010 est.)
-$671.7 million (2009 est.)


 $5.746 billion (2010 est.)
$4.392 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

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

Exports - Partners:

 Australia 27.9%, Japan 9.1%, China 7.1% (2010)


 $3.529 billion (2010 est.)
$2.871 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

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

Imports - Partners:

 Australia 42.1%, Singapore 13.1%, China 7.9%, Japan 6.6%, US 4.3% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $3.092 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.607 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $1.622 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.543 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Papua New Guinea Kina to Any Currency

Kina (PGK) per US dollar -
2.7517 (2010)
2.7551 (2009)
2.6956 (2008)
3.03 (2007)
3.0643 (2006)

Back to the Top


Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 121,200 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 1.909 million (2010)

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; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 15 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 television 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:

 4,285 (2010)

Internet Users:

 125,000 (2009)

Back to the Top



 562 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 541
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 63
Under 914 m: 469 (2010)


 2 (2010)


 Oil 195 km (2010)


 Total: 9,349 km
Paved: 3,000 km
Unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)


 11,000 km (2011)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 28
By type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 24, petroleum tanker 2
Foreign-owned: 7 (Malaysia 1, UAE 6) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak

Back to the Top


Military Branches:

 Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF; includes Maritime Operations Element, Air Operations Element) (2009)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,568,210
Females age 16-49: 1,478,965 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,130,951
Females age 16-49: 1,137,753 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 67,781
Female: 65,820 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

Back to the Top


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

Illicit Drugs:

 Major consumer of cannabis

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude; trafficked men are forced to labor in logging and mining camps; migrant women and teenage girls from Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to sex trafficking; men from China are transported to the country for forced labor

Tier rating: Tier 3 - Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; despite the government's acknowledgement of trafficking as a problem in the country, the government did not investigate any suspected trafficking offenses, prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders under existing laws, address allegations of officials complicit in human trafficking crimes, or identify or assist any trafficking victims (2011)

Back to the Top

Last Updated: December 2011

Papua New Guinea Main Page World Factbook Main Page


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(K) Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map