Papua New Guinea

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



The eastern half of the island of New Guinea 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. Since 2001, Bougainville has experienced autonomy. In a 2019 referendum, almost 98% of voters chose eventual independence.



total: 462,840 sq km

land: 452,860 sq km

water: 9,980 sq km


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

Natural resources

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

People and Society


9,593,498 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian


Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 839 indigenous languages spoken (about 12% of the world's total); many languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers


Protestant 64.3% (Evangelical Lutheran 18.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.9%, Pentecostal 10.4%, United Church 10.3%, Evangelical Alliance 5.9%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.8%, Salvation Army 0.4%), Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 5.3%, non-Christian 1.4%, unspecified 3.1% (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

2.35% (2022 est.)


Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Port Moresby

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob DADAE (since 28 February 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister James MARAPE (since 30 May 2019); Deputy Prime Minister Sam BASIL (since 20 December 2020)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (111 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies - 89 local, 20 provinicial, the autonomous province of Bouganville, and the National Capital District - by majority preferential vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the constitution allows up to 126 seats


Economic overview

lower middle-income Pacific island economy; very diverse, primarily informal agricultural labor force; natural resource rich extraction account for export volume; growing youth population faces lack of formal employment; hit by COVID-19

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$36.69 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$4,100 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, bananas, coconuts, fruit, sweet potatoes, game meat, yams, roots/tubers nes, vegetables, taro


copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining (gold, silver, copper); crude oil and petroleum products; construction, tourism, livestock (pork, poultry, cattle), dairy products, spice products (turmeric, vanilla, ginger, cardamom, chili, pepper, citronella, and nutmeg), fisheries products


$10.6 billion (2018 est.)

Exports - partners

Australia 26%, China 26%, Japan 22%, Taiwan 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, gold, copper, lumber, crude petroleum, nickel, palm oil, fish, coffee (2019)


$4.84 billion (2018 est.)

Imports - partners

Australia 33%, China 19%, Singapore 14%, Malaysia 9% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, excavation machinery, crude petroleum, foodstuffs, delivery trucks (2019)

Exchange rates

kina (PGK) per US dollar -

Page last updated: Friday, December 16, 2022