Enjoy the beautiful soul of Papua New Guinea. Recorded in Port Moresby, the Census 2020 Unity Song symbolises everything our country stands for: heart, warmth and togetherness. Let's make this Census 2020 count by bringing people together. For the future of our country.


The Population and Housing Census is a universal practice adopted by many countries as a valuable source of population count and basic socio-economic data.

The PNG’s Population and Housing Census (Census 2020) besides the national elections is one of the most significant national events in the country conducted every ten years. Since 1980, four full Censuses have been carried out; 1980 Census, 1990 Census, 2000 Census and 2011 Census.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Statistical Services Act 1981, is mandated to compile and disseminate timely and reliable statistics. These statistics will in turn enable the Government and relevant stakeholders to formulate policies and decisions that are well informed, and evidence based.

Development partners, the private sector and other key stakeholders will also rely on these statistics to support the country’s development aspirations.

The National Executive Council (NEC) in its Special Meeting No. 07/2019 in April 2019 has set Sunday the 12th of July 2020 as the census night (reference night). This is when the census 2020 enumeration will take place across the country.

It will be conducted in compliance with set standards and in accordance with the UN’s Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses. PNG as member of the United Nation conforms to these standards.


The census 2020 aims to derive aggregate count of the population living within a geographical location unit during the census to obtain;

  1. Social demographic characteristics of population in order to assess and monitor structure and composition of the population,

  2. Other much needed socio-economic information such as literacy, employment status and housing facilities which are all relevant indicators on the socio-economic conditions prevalent both at the National and household level,

  3. Data which can be readily used to evaluate the past, assess the present and predict the future trends in population and other indicators.


The successful completion of the census 2020 count will provide the country with concrete statistics for improved planning and informed decisions making at the national, provincial and district levels.


The census operation will be conducted through a whole of Government approach through the establishment of National Census Steering Committee comprising of all the heads of relevant Government Departments, Statutory Organizations, Line Agencies, Donors/ Development Partners and Non-Government Organizations. This Committee will be chaired by the Secretary Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM).


The NSO as the national implementing agency will be supported by the provincial census coordinators appointed by the provincial administration to coordinate the provincial census operations utilizing the provincial and local level government political and administrative structure.

Unlike the last census (census 2011), the 2020 census will involve utilization of appropriate technologies such as drone in mapping and use of tablets in the enumeration exercise. This will enable efficiency, accuracy and timeliness in processing and release of census results. This practice is in line with international best practices.

This census 2020 is divided by two major operations with many supporting activities to prepare and refine the collection methodology and processing of data. The two major operations include: 1) Household Listing and 2) Census Enumeration. These two operations will be accompanied by other supporting activities such as the Census Unit registration, Map Update, Pilot testing, Post Enumeration Surveys, Data Processing and Data Dissemination and media and publicity.

The census 2020 preparations have begun this year and will reach the peak period in 2020 and the operations will come to a full completion in 2022.



"Dear viewers,



It is my pleasure to welcome you all to our Census 2021 website for Papua New Guinea (PNG). On this website we bring to you essential information about the National Population and Housing Census and how census is relevant to you and to PNG as a country.




A census is a complete count of every person in the country. Every man, woman and child in PNG must be counted in the census.  The census also collects important social and economic information about the population including education, employment, births, deaths, migration, and household/housing characteristics.


The theme for the Census 2021 is; “Be counted! No one left behind”. This means the Census 2021 aims to count every person, both citizens and non-citizens who are living in the country at a defined point in time.



The conduct of census is a universal practice undertaken by countries all over the world including PNG. Censuses are conducted in compliance with set standards and in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses. PNG as a member to the UN conforms to these set standards and principles in the conduct of its censuses.




In many other countries including PNG where the cost of conducting a census is very high, censuses are conducted every 10 years. To date, PNG has conducted four (4) censuses since 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2011. The next census is scheduled for July 2021.




Populations are constantly growing and changing and a census is conducted to tell us what the population is like now and how it has changed over time. The results from the census provide the basis for development planning. For example, the census will show the size and distribution of the population in each province, the ages of the people, how many children are attending school, how many people have jobs, etc.


Our government under the Organic Law, needs up-to-date information to plan for development and proper allocation of resources for roads, bridges, aid posts, schools and other community needs. The census remains the major source of data for policy and development planning both at the national and sub-national levels.




The National Statistical Office (NSO) is the mandated agency responsible for the conduct of national censuses and surveys in the country under the Statistical Services Act, 1980, Revised 1981.


The NSO is responsible for the planning and implementation of the conduct of census and also ensures that proper statistical standards and procedures are adopted and implemented in the conduct of censuses throughout the country.


The Census 2021 will adopt a similar approach used in the last census with a more cooperative effort with key government agencies at the national and provincial levels including businesses and communities. Essentially, everyone’s cooperation and participation are crucial in the success of the Census 2021.




The National Statistical Office is responsible to ensure that high quality census data, including its coverage, is maintained through the use of appropriate technologies to collect, process, and analyze census results.


Enumerators will visit every dwelling to interview the head of the household to obtain particulars about each individual who spend the census night in the household. This means all persons are counted at the location where they slept on the census night.


The census night, also known as the Reference Night for the Census 2021, is on the night of Sunday, 11th July 2021.




Important census preparatory activities have commenced and are in progress.  These activities including the mapping and structural listing operations are very critical to ensuring a good census enumeration is conducted in July 2021. The census enumeration will be conducted from the 12th to the 21st of July 2021.      




To ensure the success of the Census 2021 operations, it is crucial that every person in the country understands the significance of the census and participates meaningfully in the process.


I encourage you to take some time to read about the National Population and Housing Census. Do follow us closely on this website as we will bring to you news and other necessary information on the progress of Census 2021 operations in the country.


To ensure no one is left behind in this count, we are also utilizing other suitable avenues to inform other citizens who do not have access to this website.


Thank you for your time and happy viewing!



Mrs Hajily Kele

Census 2021 Director


Copyright © 2019 National Statistical Office | Developed by Andreas Kotzke