Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was not reached by European explorers until 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.



Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

14 20 S, 170 00 W

Map references



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


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 (November to April), dry season (May to October); little seasonal temperature variation


five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Lata Mountain 964 m

Natural resources

pumice, pumicite

Land use

agricultural land: 21.7%
arable land 13.3%; permanent crops 8.4%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 78.3%
other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons common from December to March
volcanism: limited volcanic activity on the Ofu and Olosega Islands; neither has erupted since the 19th century

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater 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

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Pacific Islander 92.6% (includes Samoan 88.9%, Tongan 2.9%, other .8%), Asian 3.6% (includes Filipino 2.2%, other 1.4%), mixed 2.7%, other 1.2% (2010 est.)

Birth rate

22.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)


54,194 (July 2016 est.)


noun: American Samoan(s) (US nationals)
adjective: American Samoan


Samoan 88.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 3.9%, Tongan 2.7%, other Pacific islander 3%, other 1.8%
note: most people are bilingual (2010 est.)


Christian 98.3%, other 1%, unaffiliated 0.7% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.04% (male 6,381/female 6,646)
15-24 years: 18.76% (male 4,983/female 5,185)
25-54 years: 42.62% (male 11,907/female 11,188)
55-64 years: 9.18% (male 2,438/female 2,535)
65 years and over: 5.41% (male 1,342/female 1,589) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 29.4 years
male: 29.9 years
female: 28.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.25% (2016 est.)

Death rate

4.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-20.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 87.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.13% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PAGO PAGO (capital) 48,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.4 years
male: 72.4 years
female: 78.5 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.87 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 62.5% of population
rural: 62.5% of population
total: 62.5% of population
urban: 37.5% of population
rural: 37.5% of population
total: 37.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Major infectious diseases

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
abbreviation: AS
etymology: the name Australia derives from the Latin "australis" meaning "southern"; the Australian landmass was long referred to as "Terra Australis" or the Southern Land

Dependency status

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

Government type

presidential democracy; a self-governing territory of the US


name: Pago Pago
geographic coordinates: 14 16 S, 170 42 W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 districts and 2 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)


adopted 17 October 1960; revised 1 July 1967; amended several times, last in 2013 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of US common law and customary law


see United States


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
head of government: Governor Lolo Matalasi MOLIGA (since 3 January 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 department directors appointed by the governor with the consent of the Legislative Assembly
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by an Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state to serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as American Samoa, 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 directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)
election results: Lolo Matalasi MOLIGA re-elected governor; percent of vote - Lolo Matalasi MOLIGA (independent) 60.2%, Faoa Aitofele SUNIA (Democratic Party) 35.8%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (18 seats; members indirectly selected by regional governing councils to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives (21 seats; 20 members directly elected by simple majority vote and 1 decided by public meeting on Swains Island; members serve 2-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2016); Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 18; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 20
note: American Samoa elects 1 member by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term as a delegate to the US House of Representatives; the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegate last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held on November 2016)

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court of American Samoa (consists of the chief justice, associate chief justice, and 6 Samoan associate judges and organized into trial, family, drug, and appellate divisions); note - American Samoa has no US federal courts
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate chief justice appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior to serve for life; Samoan associate judges appointed by the governor to serve for life
subordinate courts: district and village courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party [Oreta M. TOGAFAU]
Republican Party [Tautai A. F. FAALEVAO]

International organization participation

AOSIS (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, PIF (observer), 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 fly 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 war club known as a "fa'alaufa'i" (upper; left talon), and a coconut fiber fly whisk known as a "fue" (lower; right talon); the combination of symbols broadly mimics that seen on the US Great Seal and reflects the relationship between the US and American Samoa

National symbol(s)

a fue (coconut fiber fly whisk) crossed with a to'oto'o (staff); national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

name: "Amerika Samoa" (American Samoa)
lyrics/music: Mariota Tiumalu TUIASOSOPO/Napoleon Andrew TUITELELEAPAGA
note: local anthem adopted 1950; as a territory of the United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)


Population below poverty line


GDP (purchasing power parity)

$711 million (2013 est.)
$718 million (2012 est.)
$647 million (2012 est.)

Economy - overview

American Samoa has 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 commerce. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are

In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami devastated American Samoa and nearby Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency oversaw a relief prog

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. In 2015, a new fish processing company comp

GDP (official exchange rate)

$748.6 million (2005)

GDP - real growth rate

-2.4% (2013 est.)
-2.7% (2012 est.)
0.6% (2012 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$13,000 (2013 est.)
$13,100 (2012 est.)
$11,700 (2011 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 54.6%
government consumption: 52.8%
investment if fixed capital: 2.7%
investment in inventories: 2.3%
exports of goods and services: 54.4%
imports of goods and services: -66.8% (2013)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 27.4%
industry: 12.4%
services: 60.2% (2012)

Agriculture - products

bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas; dairy products, livestock


tuna canneries (largely supplied by foreign fishing vessels), handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

16,090 (2013)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA
industry: 13.1%
services: 86.9% (2013)

Unemployment rate

29.8% (2005)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $241.2 million
expenditures: $243.7 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

32.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.1% (2013)
3.5% (2012)


$459 million (2013 est.)
$489 million (2012)

Exports - commodities

canned tuna 93%

Exports - partners

US 100%


$564 million (2013 est.)
$508 million (2012)

Imports - commodities

raw materials for canneries, food, petroleum products, machinery and parts

Debt - external


Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 22,219
electrification - total population: 59%
electrification - urban areas: 60%
electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - production

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

100 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

41,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

2,375 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0.09 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

2,346 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

600,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 10,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: good telex, telegraph, facsimile, and cellular telephone services
domestic: domestic satellite system with 1 Comsat earth station
international: country code - 1-684; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat-Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

3 TV stations; multi-channel pay TV services are available; about a dozen radio stations, some of which are repeater stations (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 17,000
percent of population: 31.3% (July 2015 est.)



3 (2016)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 241 km (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Pago Pago


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Tokelau included American Samoa's Swains Island (Olosega) in its 2006 draft independence constitution