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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Papua in figures

This blog post is different because it gives a "statistical approach" to Papua. Sometimes figures speak louder than words, and can highlight interesting and amusing facts.

In this case, the numbers presented below are a good way to understand how large, diverse and unique Papua is.

It is important to note that these figures are the latest published figures as of today (2021) and certainly do not reflect the real time facts. Indeed, as West New Guinea is a remote, undeveloped and very large territory, they have probably not been updated for years. Nevertheless, they are quite indicative of the situation in Papua.


  • 420,540 km² (162,370 sq km) is the area of West New Guinea

  • 1,200 km (746 miles) is the distance from east to west

  • 736 km (457 miles), its distance from North to South

  • 2 regions are located in West New Guinea: Papua and West Papua

  • 10 mountains over 4,000 meters (2,5 miles) high

  • 4,884 meters (3 miles) high for the Carstensz pyramid, also called Puncak Jaya. This mountain is one of the 7 peaks of the world

  • 1962 is the year when Heinrich Harrer was the first person to climb the Carstensz Pyramid. It is said to be more difficult than climbing Everest

  • 1,500 islands are part of the Raja Ampat archipelago in northern Papua

  • 4,380 km (2 720 miles) is the distance between the capital Jakarta and the town of Jayapura, the port of entry to Papua

  • 6 hours and 50 minutes is the average time it takes to reach Jayapura from Jakarta, which is about the same time as a plane ride from London to Cairo


  • 4,363,869 is the estimated number of inhabitants in Papua. Half of them are indigenous Papuans, the other half Indonesians

  • 10 inhabitants/, Papua is a very large land with scattered populations

  • 256,705 is the number of people living in the capital Jayapura, barely 6%. This is very little for a capital city

  • 2.9 children is the average fertility rate in Papua

  • 21% is the infant mortality rate

  • 312 is the estimated number of tribes in Papua, each speaking their own language and having their own culture.


  • 83% of the population is Christian

  • 17% is Muslim


  • 200 to 700 is the estimated number of languages and dialects spoken in Papua

  • 28% is the adult illiteracy rate

  • 85% is the school enrolment rate for children aged 7-15. This rate drops to 67% for adolescents aged 16-18


  • 1526, when the Portuguese were the first to reach West Papua accidentally

  • 1848, the date when the border between West New Guinea and Papua New Guinea was drawn by the Dutch

  • 1963, the end of Dutch colonization and the return of West New Guinea to Indonesia


  • Korowai tribes living in the forest have tree houses 30 meters high.

  • 24% of the roofs of houses in Papua are still made of sugar palm fiber

  • 5.3% of houses are built with bamboo walls.

  • 20% of households have sand floors

  • 51.6% of households have access to public electricity


  • The 1st largest gold mine in the world is located in the Timika region of Papua

  • The 2nd largest copper mine in the world is also located in the Mimika region


  • 33 million hectares of forest cover the surface of Papua. This is more than three quarters of the country's land area

  • At least 25,000 vascular plants are found in Papua

  • 3,000 types of orchids

  • 716 species of birds, including about 60 endemic species

  • 100 different frogs

  • 140 types of lizards

  • 75 species of snakes

  • 553 species of coral in the Raja Ampat archipelago

  • 1,476 different species of coral reef fish in Raja Ampat

  • 700 types of mollusks in Raja Ampat alone


  • 48 is the number of registered hotels in Papua

  • 1,959 is the number of national and international visitors registered on an average day in Papua (before Covid)


  • 1,108,600 people are considered poor in Papua

  • IDR 45,068 is the GDP per capita, or approximately 3$ per capita


  • 49 is the number of registered general practitioners in West New Guinea

  • 9 is the number of dentists

  • 57 hospitals

  • 48% of the population still treat their health problems with traditional medicine

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