Curse of the plenty
Capitalising on the Indigenous connection

PNG's people problem


DAGUA - Papua New Guinea's current population growth rate is above 2%, the rate having gradually slowed from 3.1% since 2000. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years.

PNG's National Statistics Office reported after the 2011 census that the population had reached more than seven million.

This coming July, a national population and housing census will be conducted for the country and it’s estimated the population will have reached nine million, heading for 10 million in 2030.

Australia's population is 25.5 million while Indonesia’s is around 273 million. Right now, PNG’s population is ranked 98 out of 195 countries.

Rapidly increasing population is a concern that needs to be addressed. A lot of the problems facing PNG flow from increased numbers that challenge governments, communities and families alike.

It gives rise to social problems like poverty, squatter settlements, homelessness, landlessness and street children – all issues becoming prevalent especially within urban centres.

Policies or laws to control the population and urban migration need to be enacted to ease the immense strain exerted on government services and utilities.

The bulging youth population should be a concern for the government and policy makers.

Services like education, health and internal security are facing real challenges because the numbers are outstripping the resources and capacity of the government.

In urban centres, power, water, housing and waste disposal continue to be unavailable, disrupted or chaotic. The demand outstrips resources and capacity.

Many of the country's social problems arise from the lack of opportunities for an increasingly young population, estimated to be nearly half the current total.

This is a problem because of a sizeable number of young people not old enough to support themselves in the formal economy. Many are becoming disillusioned and resorting to antisocial behaviour and illegal activities.

Among the recommendations for improvement:

  1. Develop policies to promote manageable population growth.
  2. Enact laws to restrict unplanned urban migration and unplanned squatter settlements.
  3. Establish policies to restrict and control family size.
  4. Develop policies for national youth training to foster discipline and purpose.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Thanks Bryant.

It seems that the census figures are probably unreliable but this is not clear because the way they were collected is not immediately apparent.

The rates also vary considerably between provinces and regions with many up above a 3% increase.

Based on local level government areas there doesn't seem to have been any great change overall.

All very confusing.

Bryant Allen

Philip Fitzpatrick

PNG's growth rate (2.1) is still almost double that of Australia's (1.3) but it is good to see it coming down.

I wonder what caused the spurt between 1975 and 2000.

In the long term that spurt is going to result in something like the baby boom after World War 2 in Australia and other western countries.

That boom is now resulting in a very high elderly population that is stretching medical, hospital and other facilities to the limit and is a great drain on the public purse.

In Australia the various governments knew it was coming but stupidly didn't plan for it.

Aged care is now a big money spinner in Australia and the aged care companies have an enormous influence on the government. The care they provide is terrible in many cases and causes great suffering but the government is resisting any meaningful changes under pressure from the aged care companies' lobbyists.

Once upon a time in PNG elderly people expected to be cared for by their extended family but this may not be so in the future, especially where they are separated from them and living in squatter settlements.

Now would be a good time to start planning for when those people born in the 1975-2000 period start getting elderly.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)