American Samoa
(territory of the US)
[Country Flag of American Samoa]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of American Samoa]

American Samoa


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Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates: 14 20 S, 170 00 W

Map references: Oceania

total: 199 sq km
land: 199 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Rose Island and Swains Island

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 116 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages 124 inches; rainy season from November to April, dry season from May to October; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: 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%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 70%
other: 15% (1993 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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

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


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Population: 62,093 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 39% (male 12,575; female 11,824)
15-64 years: 56% (male 17,513; female 17,477)
65 years and over: 5% (male 1,364; female 1,340) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.74% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 27.31 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4.03 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 4.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 10.47 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.23 years
male: 70.95 years
female: 79.77 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.72 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: American Samoan(s)
adjective: American Samoan

Ethnic groups: Samoan (Polynesian) 89%, Caucasian 2%, Tongan 4%, other 5%

Religions: Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant denominations and other 30%

Languages: 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.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of American Samoa
conventional short form: American Samoa
abbreviation: AS

Data code: AQ

Dependency status: unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior

Government type: NA

National capital: 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 political districts

Independence: none (territory of the US)

National holiday: Territorial Flag Day, 17 April (1900)

Constitution: ratified 1966, in effect 1967

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the US William Jefferson CLINTON (since 20 January 1993) and Vice President Albert GORE, Jr. (since 20 January 1993)
head of government: Governor Tauese P. SUNIA (since 3 January 1997) and Lieutenant Governor Togiola TULAFONO (since 3 January 1997)
cabinet: NA
elections: governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 3 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000)
election results: Tauese P. SUNIA elected governor of American Samoa; percent of vote - Tauese P. SUNIA (Democrat) 51%, Peter REID (independent) 49%

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 who serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives—last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 1998); Senate—last held 3 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000)
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—NA
note: American Samoa elects one delegate to the US House of Representatives; elections last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 1998); results - Eni R. F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA (Democrat) reelected as delegate

Judicial branch: High Court, chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party; Republican Party

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


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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 the great bulk 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. According to one observer, 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, may be held back in 1998 by the financial difficulties in East Asia.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$150 million (1995 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,600 (1995 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA %

Labor force:
total: 14,400 (1990)
by occupation: government 33%, tuna canneries 34%, other 33% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 12% (1991)

revenues: $97 million ($43 million in local revenue and $54 million in grant revenue)
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY90/91)

Industries: tuna canneries (largely dependent on foreign fishing vessels), handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 33,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 105 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,830 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas; dairy farming

total value: $318 million (f.o.b., 1992)
commodities: canned tuna 93%
partners: US 99.6%

total value: $418 million (c.i.f., 1992)
commodities: materials for canneries 56%, food 8%, petroleum products 7%, machinery and parts 6%
partners: US 62%, Japan 9%, NZ 7%, Australia 11%, Fiji 4%, other 7%

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
note: important financial support from the US

Currency: 1 US dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 October—30 September


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Telephones: 9,000 (1994 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: good telex, telegraph, facsimile and cellular phone 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

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 12,000 (1994 est.)


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Railways: 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

Airports: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)


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Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none