Facts about American Samoa

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Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was "discovered" by European explorers in the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion - a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago - the following year.

Geography of American Samoa

Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
14 20 S, 170 00 W
Map references:
total: 199 sq km
note: includes Rose Island and Swains Island
water: 0 sq km
land: 199 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
116 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages about 3 m; rainy season from November to April, dry season from May to October; little seasonal temperature variation
five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Lata 966 m
Natural resources:
pumice, pumicite
Natural hazards:
typhoons common from December to March
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
Geography - note:
Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds; strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean

Population of American Samoa

66,432 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.4% (male 11,159/female 10,768)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 20,848/female 20,271)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 1,211/female 1,371)
Median age:
total: 23.6 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 23.8 years
Growth rate:
0.04% (2004 est.), -0.19% (2006 est.), 1.236% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
21.83 births/1,000
Death rate:
3.24 deaths/1,000
Net migration rate:
-21.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Infant mortality:
total: 8.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.26 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.25 years
male: 72.69 years
female: 80.02 years
Total fertility rate:
3.07 children born/woman
noun: American Samoan(s)
adjective: American Samoan
Ethnic groups:
native Pacific islander 92.9%, Asian 2.9%, white 1.2%, mixed 2.8%, other 0.2%
Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%
Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2%
note: most people are bilingual
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98%
female: 97%


Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of American Samoa
abbreviation: AS
Dependency status:
unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Pago Pago
Administrative divisions:
none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three districts and two islands* at the second order; Eastern, Manu'a, Rose Island*, Swains Island*, Western
none (territory of the US)
National holiday:
Flag Day, 17 April (1900)
ratified 1966, in effect 1967
Legal system:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US
head of government: Governor Togiola TULAFONO
cabinet: Cabinet made up of 12 department directors
elections: under the US Consitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as American Samoa, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term)
Legislative branch:
bicameral Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the House of Representatives (21 seats - 20 of which are elected by popular vote and 1 is an appointed, nonvoting delegate from Swains Island; members serve two-year terms) and the Senate (18 seats; members are elected from local chiefs and serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
High Court (chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior)


American SamoaThis is a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the United States, with which American Samoa conducts most of its foreign trade. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector, with canned tuna the primary export. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa's remote location, its limited transportation, and its devastating hurricanes. Tourism is a promising developing sector.

$575.3 million (2007 est.)
GDP per capita:
$8,000 (2000 est.), $5,800 (2005 est.), $8,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force:
14,000 (1996), 30,200 (2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
government 33%, tuna canneries 34%, other 33% (1990)
6% (2000)
revenues: $121 million (37% in local revenue and 63% in US grants)
expenditures: $127 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0%
tuna canneries (largely supplied by foreign fishing vessels), handicrafts
bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas; dairy products, livestock
canned tuna 93%
Export partners:
Samoa 41.2%, Australia 18.7%, Japan 14.4%, NZ 9.9% (2005)
materials for canneries 56%, food 8%, petroleum products 7%, machinery and parts 6%
Import partners:
NZ 48.2%, Australia 11.3%, UK 11.2%, Japan 6.6%, Samoa 5.8%, South Korea 5.7% (2005)
US dollar (USD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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