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American Samoa

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American Samoa

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Quick Facts
CapitalPago Pago
CurrencyUS dollar (USD)
Areatotal: 199 sq km
note: includes Rose Island and Swains Island
water: 0 sq km
land: 199 sq km
Population68,688 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageSamoan (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English
note: most people are bilingual
ReligionChristian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%

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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.


Map of American Samoa
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates 
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 
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 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
Land use 
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 10%
other: 85% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
NA sq km
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


68,688 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 38.1% (male 13,445; female 12,688)
15-64 years: 56.7% (male 19,228; female 19,741)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 1,931; female 1,655) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
2.31% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
24.04 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
4.34 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
3.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.17 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
10.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 75.53 years
female: 80.21 years (2002 est.)
male: 71.12 years
Total fertility rate 
3.4 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
noun: American Samoan(s)
adjective: American Samoan
Ethnic groups 
Samoan (Polynesian) 89%, Caucasian 2%, Tongan 4%, other 5%
Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%
Samoan (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English
note: most people are bilingual
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98%
female: 97% (1980 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: Territory of American Samoa
conventional short form: 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
Government type 
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 (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
election results: Tauese P. SUNIA reelected governor; percent of vote - Tauese P. SUNIA (Democrat) 50.7%, Lealaifuaneva Peter REID (independent) 47.8%
elections: US president and vice president elected on the same ticket for four-year terms; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004)
head of government: Governor Tauese P. SUNIA (since 3 January 1997) and Lieutenant Governor Togiola TULAFONO (since 3 January 1997)
cabinet: NA
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)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2002); Senate - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004)
note: American Samoa elects one nonvoting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2002); results - Eni F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA (Democrat) reelected as delegate for a sixth term
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - independents 18
Judicial branch 
High Court (chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior)
Political parties and leaders 
Democratic Party [leader NA]; Republican Party [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
International organization participation 
ESCAP (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, SPC
Diplomatic representation in the US 
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US 
none (territory of the US)
Flag description 
blue, with a white triangle edged in red that is based on the outer side and extends to the hoist side; a brown and white American bald eagle flying toward the hoist side is carrying two traditional Samoan symbols of authority, a staff and a war club


Economy - overview 
This is a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US, 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, a developing sector, has been held back by the recurring financial difficulties in East Asia.
purchasing power parity - $500 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $8,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line 
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
Labor force 
14,000 (1996)
Labor force - by occupation 
government 33%, tuna canneries 34%, other 33% (1990) (1990)
Unemployment rate 
6% (2000)
revenues: $121 million (37% in local revenue and 63% in US grants)
expenditures: $127 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97)
tuna canneries (largely supplied by foreign fishing vessels), handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate 
Electricity - production 
130 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
120.9 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas; dairy products, livestock
$345 million (1999)
Exports - commodities 
canned tuna 93%
Exports - partners 
US 99.6%
$452 million (1999)
Imports - commodities 
materials for canneries 56%, food 8%, petroleum products 7%, machinery and parts 6%
Imports - partners 
US 62%, Australia 11%, Japan 9%, NZ 7%, Fiji 4%, other 7%
Debt - external 
Economic aid - recipient 
important financial support from the US, more than $40 million in 1994
US dollar (USD)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year 
1 October - 30 September


Telephones - main lines in use 
13,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
2,550 (1997)
Telephone system 
general assessment: NA
domestic: good telex, telegraph, facsimile and cellular telephone services; domestic satellite system with 1 Comsat earth station
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (1998)
57,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
1 (1997)
14,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2000)
Internet users 


0 km
total: 350 km
paved: 150 km
unpaved: 200 km
Ports and harbors 
Aunu'u (new construction), Auasi, Faleosao, Ofu, Pago Pago, Ta'u
Merchant marine 
none (2002 est.)
4 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)


Military - note 
defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international