Population Pressures in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Island Economies, and Timor Leste

Type Book
Title Population Pressures in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Island Economies, and Timor Leste
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Publisher School of Economics, University of the South Pacific
URL http://demography.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/working-papers/102.pdf
Total fertility rates are still quite high in Papua New Guinea and most of the Pacific
island countries (PICs) and, except in those countries with high rates of emigration,
population growth rates remain high. As a result, young people make up a large
proportion of the populations. This so-called ‘youth bulge’ is of concern because
these countries are generating relatively few employment opportunities. Therefore,
there are increasing numbers of long-term, unemployed, under-employed, and
illegally employed youth. Because of the lack of investment and job creation, the
countries are foregoing the economic advantages that they would otherwise be able to
reap through the employment of these potential workers. On the contrary, the large
numbers of under-employed youth are have been linked to increasing social problems
such as drug use, prostitution, crime, and suicide, and also provide one of the
ingredients for civil unrest. Hence, they become one of the factors behind the low
levels of investment and job creation.
This paper is largely concerned with two issues. First, the results are reported of
population projections that have been made for nearly all the PICs. The projections
have been made under different fertility and net migration assumptions. These two
variables are the focus of attention in the projections as they can be the most dynamic
parameters underlying population growth. Fertility rates are declining around the
world and, therefore, it is useful to examine the consequences of declining fertility
rates in the Pacific. Emigration has had very significant impacts on population
growth in some countries, such as Samoa and Tonga. For various reasons, emigration
possibilities are increasing for other countries in the Pacific and therefore it is of
interest to examine the likely impacts of increased emigration.

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