Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in its
part of the world and has low values for most indicators
used to indicate social conditions. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of PNG and acronym for Papua New Guinea. Poverty increased
significantly during the decade until 2006, when more than
half the population lived below the nationally determined
poverty line. Despite economic growth in the latter part of
the 1990s, conditions have hardly improved.
Large parts of the country are sparsely populated and
have difficult to access terrain. There are mostly missing
roads and it is costly to arrange health clinics and other
community services. Access to clean water and sanitary
conditions is also a problem in rural areas. Only about half
of the mothers had the help of any medical professional at
In 2006, only 6 per cent of the employed were estimated
to be in the formal sector, which means that only a small
part of the population is covered by social insurance.
Payment to pension insurance is compulsory for those who are
employed by companies with 15 employees and more. The
pension is paid out as a lump sum at the age of 55.
More than 80 percent of the residents live in
traditionally organized rural communities where most of them
run self-catering agriculture. There are largely no other
jobs, and underemployment and unemployment drive young
people to the cities. They are still regarded as members of
the clan in their hometown, and since most people do not
find work in the cities, they are not integrated there. As
unemployed in the suburban slums, they are drawn to crime -
juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in Papua New
Guinea's cities. Among these young people, HIV is also
spread. In the country as a whole, 1.5 percent of adults
aged 15-49 are affected by HIV/AIDS, but in the capital,
the proportion is 3 percent.
In general, women are considered and treated as inferior.
They are disadvantaged in all legal respects, as well as in
economics and politics. About 70 percent of all adult women
have been beaten by their husbands, and rape is common.
Music on Papua New Guinea
The music traditions are richly varied and reflect the
ethnic diversity. Song is an integral part of social life
and is also used in ritual contexts, at local parties,
mourning ceremonies, for dancing and at festivals.
Alternating songs between leader and group are common.
Instrumental performance is mostly reserved for men.
Instruments such as flute, pan flute, horn, garamut
(cleft drum), bamboo harp, rattle, drum and musical arc are
made of natural materials.
People and society
Population density in Papua New Guinea is low, and people
mostly live in small villages. The villages range in size
from up to 2000 inhabitants to small seminomadic groups of
only 10-20 people in the dense rainforest. Important cities
are the capital Port Moresby, Mount Hagen, Goroka, Rabaul,
Lae, Madang, Wewak and Kiunga. In 2016, 13.4 percent of the
population lived in cities.
Life expectancy is 65.5 years (2016). Both child and
maternal mortality rates are high, and on the UN Development
Index, Papua New Guinea is the lowest of the ranked Pacific
countries (153 of 187 in 2018).
English, took pisin (pidgin English) and hiri motu are
official languages, but beyond that there are over 800
different languages spoken. Hand in hand with the
linguistic variety follows a cultural diversity, and there
are as many ethnic groups as languages. There are two main
groups in terms of both language and culture: the Papuan and
the Austronesian. The Papuans are thought to be descended
from the people who settled here while the island was still
connected with Australia. The Austronesians came in a recent
migration wave, made up of seafaring people from Southeast
Asia. Austronesian languages are mainly spoken on the north
coast of the mainland and on the islands in the north and
Christianity is the largest religion in Papua New Guinea.
The majority belong to various Protestant denominations,
while about 25 percent are Catholics and about 10 percent
are Seventh-day Adventists. According to the 2000 census,
only 3.6 per cent were registered as non-Christians.