Facts about Guam

World Facts Index

Guam was ceded to the US by Spain in 1898. Captured by the Japanese in 1941, it was retaken by the US three years later. The military installation on the island is one of the most strategically important US bases in the Pacific.

Geography of Guam

Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines
13 28 N, 144 47 E
total: 549 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 549 sq km
Area comparative:
three times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
125.5 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical marine; generally warm and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season from January to June, rainy season from July to December; little seasonal temperature variation
volcanic origin, surrounded by coral reefs; relatively flat coralline limestone plateau (source of most fresh water), with steep coastal cliffs and narrow coastal plains in north, low hills in center, mountains in south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Lamlam 406 m
Natural resources:
fishing (largely undeveloped), tourism (especially from Japan)
Natural hazards:
frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare, but potentially very destructive typhoons (June - December)
Environment current issues:
extirpation of native bird population by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic, invasive species
Geography - note:
largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago; strategic location in western North Pacific Ocean

Population of Guam

175,877 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (male 25,703/female 23,903)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 56,020/female 53,894)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 5,391/female 6,108)
Median age:
28.6 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
6.81 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.58 years
male: 75.52 years
female: 81.83 years
Fertility rate:
2.58 children born/woman
noun: Guamanian(s)
adjective: Guamanian
Ethnic groups:
Chamorro 37.1%, Filipino 26.3%, other Pacific islander 11.3%, white 6.9%, other Asian 6.3%, other ethnic origin or race 2.3%, mixed 9.8%
Roman Catholic 85%, other 15% 
English, Chamorro, Japanese
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%


Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Guam
local long form: Guahan
Dependency status:
organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Hagatna (Agana)
National holiday:
Discovery Day, first Monday in March (1521)
Organic Act of 1 August 1950
Legal system:
modeled on US; US federal laws apply
18 years of age; universal; US citizens, but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:
chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Felix P. CAMACHO (since 6 January 2003); Lieutenant Governor Dr. Michael W. CRUZ (since 1 January 2007)
cabinet: heads of executive departments; appointed by the governor with the consent of the Guam legislature
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as Guam, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year term (can serve two consecutive terms, then must wait a full term before running again); election last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held in November 2010).
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislature (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
Guam elects one nonvoting delegate to the US House of Representatives
Judicial branch:
Federal District Court (judge is appointed by the president); Territorial Superior Court (judges appointed for eight-year terms by the governor)


The economy depends largely on US military spending and tourism. Total US grants, wage payments, and procurement outlays amounted to $1.3 billion in 2004. Over the past 30 years, the tourist industry has grown to become the largest income source following national defense. The Guam economy continues to experience expansion in both its tourism and military sectors.

$2.5 billion (2005 est.)
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 0%
industry: 15%
services: 85%
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 26%
industry: 10%
services: 64%
revenues: $340 million
expenditures: $445 million
US military, tourism, construction, transshipment services, concrete products, printing and publishing, food processing, textiles
fruits, copra, vegetables; eggs, pork, poultry, beef
mostly transshipments of refined petroleum products; construction materials, fish, food and beverage products
Export partners:
Japan 62%, South Korea 11.3%, Singapore 10.7%, UK 4.4%
petroleum and petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Import partners:
Singapore 51.7%, South Korea 18.7%, Japan 14.5%, Hong Kong 4.8%, Philippines 4.1%
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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