Papua New Guinea

Country Summary

2023 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, the island of Bougainville has had autonomy, with many national powers devolved to the region.



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


total: 10,046,233
male: 5,092,262
female: 4,953,971 (2024 est.)

Ethnic groups

Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian


Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 839 living indigenous languages are 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

2.26% (2024 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)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (118 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies - 89 local, 20 provincial, 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; primarily informal agrarian sector; natural resource-rich; key liquified natural gas exporter; growing young workforce; slow post-pandemic recovery; increasingly impoverished citizenry; sustainable inflation

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$38.065 billion (2022 est.)
$36.195 billion (2021 est.)
$36.48 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$3,800 (2022 est.)
$3,600 (2021 est.)
$3,700 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, coconuts, bananas, fruits, sweet potatoes, game meat, yams, root vegetables, sugarcane, vegetables (2022)


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


$11.625 billion (2021 est.)
$9.175 billion (2020 est.)
$11.236 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Japan 26%, China 22%, Australia 11%, South Korea 10%, Taiwan 9% (2022)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, gold, palm oil, crude petroleum, copper ore (2022)


$6.303 billion (2021 est.)
$5.282 billion (2020 est.)
$6.329 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 26%, Australia 23%, Singapore 16%, Malaysia 9%, Indonesia 4% (2022)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, plastic products, excavation machinery, trucks (2022)

Exchange rates

kina (PGK) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
3.519 (2022 est.)
3.509 (2021 est.)
3.46 (2020 est.)
3.388 (2019 est.)
3.293 (2018 est.)

Page last updated: Friday, June 14, 2024