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

Map references



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: 667 m
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)

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; generally east-west trending highlands break up New Guinea into diverse ecoregions; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast

People and Society


6,791,317 (July 2016 est.)


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)

Age structure

0-14 years: 33.93% (male 1,173,034/female 1,131,387)
15-24 years: 19.86% (male 683,474/female 665,245)
25-54 years: 36.65% (male 1,281,641/female 1,207,658)
55-64 years: 5.39% (male 185,846/female 180,255)
65 years and over: 4.16% (male 143,851/female 138,926) (2016 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: 22.9 years
male: 23 years
female: 22.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.75% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

24 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

6.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 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: 1.06 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 37.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 33.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.2 years
male: 65 years
female: 69.5 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.1 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

32.4% (2006/07)

Health expenditures

4.3% of GDP (2014)

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

0.79% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

40,100 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

900 (2015 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
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

27.9% (2011)

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.2%
male: 65.6%
female: 62.8% (2015 est.)

People - note

the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea (PNG) 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


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

parliamentary democracy (National Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; 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 (2016)

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 Progress Party 6, other 22, independent 16

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, deputy chief justice, and 28 judges); National Courts (13 courts located in the province capitals, with a total of 19 resident judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court 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; full time citizen judges appointed for 10-year renewable terms; non-citizen judges initially appointed for 3-year renewable terms and after first renewal until age 70; 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


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Rupa Abraham MALINA (since 10 March 2014)
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 Catherine EBERT-GRAY (since 23 February 2016); note - also accredited to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu
embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby, N.C.D.
mailing address: 4240 Port Moresby Place, 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 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

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

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 st

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$28.02 billion (2016 est.)
$27.33 billion (2015 est.)
$25.63 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$19.92 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

2.5% (2016 est.)
6.6% (2015 est.)
7.4% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$3,500 (2016 est.)
$3,500 (2015 est.)
$3,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

38.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
24% of GDP (2015 est.)
-11.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 49.4%
government consumption: 7.8%
investment in fixed capital: 9.9%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 68.7%
imports of goods and services: -36.2% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 22.3%
industry: 37.6%
services: 40.1% (2016 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

4.8% (2016 est.)

Labor force

4.365 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 85%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate

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

50.9 (1996)


revenues: $3.169 billion
expenditures: $4.295 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

15.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

39.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.3% (2016 est.)
6% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate

8.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.73% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$5.282 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.936 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$8.085 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$7.477 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$6.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.118 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$10.71 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$8.999 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$9.742 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance

$1.484 billion (2016 est.)
$2.134 billion (2015 est.)


$7.886 billion (2016 est.)
$8.377 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

Japan 17.4%, Australia 15.9%, China 12.1% (2015)


$1.83 billion (2016 est.)
$2.267 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

Australia 25.9%, China 20%, Singapore 12.6%, Malaysia 7.2%, US 4.2%, Indonesia 4.1%, South Korea 4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.629 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.738 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$22.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$20.41 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad


Exchange rates

kina (PGK) per US dollar -
3.156 (2016 est.)
2.7684 (2015 est.)
2.7684 (2014 est.)
2.4614 (2013 est.)
2.08 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 5,568,879
electrification - total population: 18%
electrification - urban areas: 72%
electrification - rural areas: 10% (2012)

Electricity - production

3.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

3 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

900,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

61.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

30.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

52,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

25,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

14,880 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

200 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

28,340 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

42,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

8,062 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

21,180 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

4.75 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

100 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

4.65 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

151.3 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

3.7 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 150,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 3.56 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 53 (July 2015 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 55 per 100 persons
international: country code - 675; submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service (2015)

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 (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 527,000
percent of population: 7.9% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 47
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,062,584
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 34,827,034 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

P2 (2016)


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)


total: 9,349 km
paved: 3,000 km
unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)


11,000 km (2011)

Merchant marine

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 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

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) (2015)
IDPs: 6,300 (natural disasters, tribal conflict, inter-communal violence, development projects) (2015)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Papua New Guinea is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; foreign and Papua New Guinean women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced begging, and street vending; parents may sell girls into forced marriages to settle debts or as peace offerings or trade them to another tribe to forge a political alliance, leaving them vulnerable to forced domestic service, or, in urban areas, they may prostitute their children for income or to pay school fees; Chinese, Malaysian, and local men are forced to labor in logging and mining camps through debt bondage schemes; migrant women from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude at logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the Criminal Code Amendment of 2013, which prohibits all forms of trafficking was brought into force in 2014; the government also formed an anti-trafficking committee, which drafted a national action plan; despite corruption problems, trafficking-related crimes were prosecuted in village courts rather than criminal courts, resulting in restitution to the victim but no prison time for offenders; the government did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any officials or law enforcement personnel complicit in trafficking offenses; the government made no efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, has no formal victim identification and referral mechanism, and does not provide care facilities to victims or funding to shelters run by NGOs or international organizations (2015)

Illicit drugs

major consumer of cannabis