We derive two measures of human well-being from the 2000 national census and seek to establish the relative strength of their association with 12 geographical variables in a comparative study of the 85 partially rural districts of Papua New Guinea. We find that the accessibility of health and education services for rural villagers, along with the proximity of the rural village population to a coastline, are the two geographical variables that have the strongest association with lower child mortality rates and higher school attendance rates. These findings are placed within the context of a broader discussion of ways to improve the measurement of such relationships at a district level in light of the acknowledged failure of the 2011 national census and the possible failure of the national census due to be conducted in 2021. Our findings are also located within the context of a longstanding international debate about the geographical constituents or determinants of human development at a national scale. The distinctive quality of our own contribution to this debate resides in our focus on the measurement of variation between districts within a single country.
|Publication status||Published - 2021|