The last national census in Vanuatu was conducted in 2016 and found the country’s population to be 272,500, an increase of over 15 percent from 2009. Of this total, approximately 51 percent were men and 49 percent were women. The median age in Vanuatu is 20, whereas in urban areas such as Port Vila, the figure is slightly higher at around 23.

Approximately 2 percent of Port Vila’s population identifies with an ethnic group aside from Melanesian, with a similar figure reflecting inhabitants that are not Ni Vanuatu nationals.


Based on the most recent national census, Port Vila has a population of approximately 51,500 and accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country’s total population. While the city experienced rapid growth between 1999 and 2009, increasing its population by over 50 percent, recent estimates indicate a slightly reduced growth rate over the past decade, a trend believed to stem, at least in part, from economic effects following the global financial crises in 2008, but also due to geo-spatial and socio-economic realities.

Recent population growth has been concentrated on the periphery of the city, particularly east along the Teouma corridor and west of the airport in the Mele Flats. These areas have experienced rapid residential expansion due in large part to affordable transportation access to the city centre and low rents. A 2014 estimate by the Vanuatu National Statistics Office found the population of Greater Port Vila to be nearly 85,000, indicating nearly 40 percent of the urban area’s population resides outside of the administrative boundaries.

Household Information

There are approximately 11,000 households in Port Vila, the majority of which reside in single family detached dwellings (61 percent). The average household size in Port Vila is 4.7 slightly below the national average. Household size is estimated to increase slightly in the peri-urban neighbourhoods and decrease slightly in the city centre, consistent with income trends.

Approximately 50 percent of all urban households in Vanuatu were found to not have access to improved sanitation in the 2016 mini census. A slightly lower figure is assumed for Port Vila.