West Papuan demographics update highlights disparity

New statistics show indigenous Melanesians are not yet the minority they were thought to be in West Papua.

Indonesia’s Statistics Office has produced an ethnic breakdown of Papua region, based on the last census in 2010 which established an overall population of 3.6 million.

While the proportion of Papuan people as a percentage of the population continues to decline, this process varies widey between different regencies.

The percentage of Papuans has fallen catastrophically in some regions, particularly in urban centres, but Papuans still make up the vast majority in the Highlands.

Using the new data, Jim Elmslie of Sydney University’s West Papua Project has produced a new paper updating his previous work on Papua’s demographic transition.

He talks to Johnny Blades.

Ni-Vanuatu march in support of West Papuan self-determination aspirations.

Ni-Vanuatu march in support of West Papuan self-determination aspirations. Photo: Vanuatu government

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