GOVERNMENT SAYS PNG POPULATION TOPS 7 MILLION

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Complete census data, reports expected by 2013

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 4, 2012) – Papua New Guinea (PNG) has now 7,059,653 people in the country, the Government announced yesterday.

This is an increase of 1,868,867 persons compared with the 2000 figures of 5,190, 786 people recorded 10 years ago. This represents an increase of 36 per cent in PNG’s population count since 2000. But the National Statistical Office yesterday advised these were only preliminary figures and the 2011 final figures may encounter slight changes in which a further increase is expected.

The National Planning Minister Sam Basil yesterday officially announced this in Port Moresby. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill could not officially announce the figures to the nation as he was scheduled to do the honors, because he had other commitments.

But a proud Minister Basil said yesterday that the Government was now at ease to know the population of the country because the figures would be used to plan the 2013 National Budget and in the coming weeks the National Executive Council would be tasked to re-activate the K20 [US$9.52] per head tax using these figures. Mr. Basil also announced that in the coming weeks Papua New Guinea will know the population of persons 18 years and above – they will release the figures upon comparison with the PNG Electoral Commission office.

"There were lots of criticisms on the conduct of the 2011 National Population and Housing Census, however, I am now happy and convinced that the National Statistical Office has delivered this project successfully," Mr. Basil said.

"On behalf of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, I am delighted to formally announce to the nation that the preliminary figures for the population of Papua New Guinea now stands at 366,324 males and 339,6404 females with the grand total of 7, 059, 653 persons," Mr. Basil read out.

"This official data is very important to any country around the world. Poor delivery of public service is a good demonstration of lack of data in key statistical areas that can help authorities to measure and understand the risk as well as navigate the delivery of basic services to its people.’’

National Statistician Joe Aka proudly announced yesterday that the report also presented the 2011 housing census, apart from the population and that the figures in this report showed where people were counted at the time of the census adding that the visitors were also included.

Mr. Aka said that the information was presented at the provincial, district and LLG levels and that the final figures and other reports were expected to be released by 2013.

"The preliminary results are the first set of figures of the 2011 Population and Housing Census. The next sets of results will be the Final Figures Report that will include a complete narrative analysis of the country’s population, demography, economic and social conditions of the country," he said. "I also wish to inform the users that the information contained in this preliminary result will only be applicable until the final figures are released."

Meanwhile, the breakup of the total population of PNG stands at -PNG male population was recorded at 3,663,249 (million) and female 3,396,404 (million). The Highlands Region recorded the highest record population of 3,001,598 (million), Momase 1,795,474 (million), Southern Region recorded 1,302,887 (million) and NGI 959,694 persons.

The top five provinces that have the highest record of population stands as: Morobe - 646,876, Eastern highlands - 582,159, Southern Highlands - 515,511, Madang - 487,460, Enga - 452,596 and NCD is at the 11th position with 318,128 while Manus has the lowest population of 50,321 and Gulf the second lowest of 121,128 population.

Bougainville had the first full census conducted in 20 years after the Bougainville Crisis and it now records 234,280 persons with 120,187 males and 114,093 females.

The rest of the country has Western with 180,455, Central -237,016, Milne Bay- 269,954, Northern -176,206, Hela-352, 698, Western Highlands-352,934, Jiwaka-341,928, Chimbu-403,772, East Sepik - 433, 481, West Sepik -227, 657, New Ireland-161, 165, East New Britain - 271, 250 and West New Britain - 242,676 persons.

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