Polynesian language, Tongans, Protestant religion, daily fare, Alofi
The majority of Niue's residents are Polynesians, although a small number of Europeans, Samoans, and Tongans live there. The official languages are Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan, and English. Most people are literate in both languages. The population in 1995 was estimated at 2,000. About half the people live in and around the capital, Alofi, on the island's west side. Others live in villages scattered along a road that circles the island. Niue's population has been in decline since the 1980s, due to limited economic opportunities. Approximately 15,000 Niueans live abroad, mainly in New Zealand, and incentives for them to return have been unsuccessful. Niueans are citizens of both Niue and New Zealand.
Education in Niue is free for eight years of primary school and four years of secondary school, and is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 14. In 1998-1999 there were about 280 students attending primary school. Only a few Niuean students seek university degrees, which they must obtain abroad. About 75 percent of the people belong to the Niuean Church, a Protestant religion. There are several minority religions, including Mormonism and Roman Catholicism.
Housing and dress are modest and of Western style. Imported foods are part of the daily fare, and canned beverages are popular. Much of Niue's social life is centered around the churches. Sports are popular, and television has recently been introduced. One AM and one FM radio station broadcast from the island.
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