The South Pacific Region

The Country Similarity Index groups the countries of Papua New GuineaSolomon IslandsVanuatu, Fiji, and Samoa into Region 9, the South Pacific. It also includes the French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Some countries, like Micronesia, Kiribati, Tonga, did not have enough reliable data to be included in the study, but would likely be grouped with these countries as well. Here are some of the traits most of these countries share:

GEOGRAPHY
These countries are all mountainous islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Most are located on the Pacific tectonic plate. Their climates are warm throughout the year and they have some of the highest rainfall totals in the world. Most countries are heavily forested with Paleotropical vegetation. While crops do not account for a large percentage of their land, the cultivation of coconuts forms a large part of the agriculture there. The region is not heavily built up by construction. In fact, no building in the South Pacific is over 100 meters tall.

photo by Maksym Kozlenko

DEMOGRAPHICS
The majority of the people in this region have either Melanesian ancestry, or a mix of Melanesian and East Asian ancestry. Furthermore, their people are mostly Christian now, due to recent Western missionaries. With the exception of the French territories, the majority of people there are farmers and have a lower income than the world average. Their people are fairly young and there are relatively few elderly people living there. These countries also have more males than females.

photo by Sarah Macmillan

CULTURE
Most of the countries in this region were once colonized by the British, so they have English as their official language and use the Latin alphabet. With the exception of Papuans, most people in this region natively speak languages that are part of the Austronesian family. Rugby is an especially popular sport in the South Pacific. Fish, yams, sweet potatoes, and coconuts form a large part of their diet. Furthermore, in all these countries, less than 10% of their males are circumcised.

photo by Henning Schlottmann

GOVERNMENT
All the countries in this region have democratic governments. With the exception of the French territories in the region, whose laws are largely based on French law, the laws in the South Pacific are neither especially liberal or conservative. Same sex marriage and polygamy are not allowed. Gambling is allowed in all the countries of the region, except for Fiji. Countries in the South Pacific also tend to heavily restrict abortion. In most countries, pornography is illegal to possess. This region also does not perform the death penalty, but retains life imprisonment. The countries in the South Pacific are also politically aligned. They are all members of the SPARTECA free trade agreement.

photo by Maksym Kozlenko

Infrastructure
Type I is the standard electrical outlet in the region, like in Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore their standard electrical voltage is between 220 and 240 volts. These countries generally rely on oil imports to create electricity. The infrastructure of the countries in the South Pacific is not especially advanced. Since these countries are islands, they rely on airports and seaports for transportation. Few people have cars and only Fiji has a railroad. In fact, the countries in this region have little of their own military infrastructure. A few do not even have armies. DVBT is the digital broadcasting standard for all the countries in the region, but many households in this region do not even have TVs.

photo by Daniel Julie

South Pacific’s Most Representative Country: Vanuatu (75.8 regional average)

Most Similar Region to the South Pacific: Southeast Asia Islands (8-C)

(Statistics as of 2020)

photo by Leocadio Sebastian

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