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