History of Population Census conducted in PNG
The first attempt at a statistically designed national population census was in 1966. Due to high cost involved, only 10 per cent sample of rural villages were included to estimate size and characteristics of the entire population. Similar methodology was used for 1971 census. These two censuses were conducted during the Australian Administration. Before that time the only available population estimates were obtained from the village census books, maintained under the Kiap System providing rough age and sex totals for each village but were particularly used for taxation and electoral purposes.
Below is the brief information and justification of the 1966 Census in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The birth population census for Territory of Papua and New Guinea was in July 1966.
Prior to the 1966 Census, enumeration of the population at Census in Territory of Papua and New Guinea was carried out as an adjunct to Australian Census and was restricted to non-indigenous persons owing to the difficulty of enumerating the indigenous.
Due to the increasing need of reliable statistics of population and its characteristics by administrators and planners, steps were taken in 1966 to extend the census of Papua and New Guinea to include the indigenous population.
As a result of enumeration of the rural village population was restricted to a sample of 10%of the rural villages in the Territory, i.e. about 1200 rural villages.
Information collected for the non-indigenous population relates to a single point of time, namely, the Census Night of 30 June 1966. In addition, apart from a small number of special exceptions, particularly personnel engaged in the taking of the census, the non-indigenous population was enumerated on a "-de facto' rather than a "de jure basis i.e. they were counted where they slept on the night of 3rd June 1966 rather than where they usually reside.
For the indigenous population practical difficulties of illiteracy and physical remoteness has meant that the information collected at the census does not relate to a single point of time. Therefore, for all indigenous persons "Census Night” was the night before commencement of enumeration at particular locations.
Although the figures for the indigenous population do not relate precisely to a single point of time by far the greater part of the enumeration was carried out between 20th June and 9th July and the least permanently settled groups were interviewed as close to the night of 30th June as possible.
Read more about the history below or download a brief summary of all census since 1966 and onwards.
PNG Census - A Historical Journey