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



Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines

Geographic coordinates

13 28 N, 144 47 E

Map references



total: 544 sq km
land: 544 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

three times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


125.5 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; generally warm and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season (January to June), rainy season (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


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Lamlam 406 m

Natural resources

aquatic wildlife (supporting tourism), fishing (largely undeveloped)

Land use

agricultural land: 33.4%
arable land 1.9%; permanent crops 16.7%; permanent pasture 14.8%
forest: 47.9%
other: 18.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

2 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare but potentially destructive typhoons (June to 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

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Chamorro 37.3%, Filipino 26.3%, white 7.1%, Chuukese 7%, Korean 2.2%, other Pacific Islander 2%, other Asian 2%, Chinese 1.6%, Palauan 1.6%, Japanese 1.5%, Pohnpeian 1.4%, mixed 9.4%, other 0.6% (2010 est.)


162,742 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Guamanian(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Guamanian


English 43.6%, Filipino 21.2%, Chamorro 17.8%, other Pacific island languages 10%, Asian languages 6.3%, other 1.1% (2010 est.)


Roman Catholic 85%, other 15% (1999 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.95% (male 20,881/female 19,723)
15-24 years: 17.09% (male 14,445/female 13,375)
25-54 years: 39.09% (male 32,335/female 31,277)
55-64 years: 9.62% (male 7,912/female 7,742)
65 years and over: 9.25% (male 6,847/female 8,205) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52%
youth dependency ratio: 38.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 13.3%
potential support ratio: 7.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 30.4 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 30.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.64% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-5.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 94.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.36% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

HAGATNA (capital) 143,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.1 years
male: 76.1 years
female: 82.4 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.31 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Drinking water source

urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 99.5% of population
total: 99.5% of population
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 0.5% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 89.8% of population
rural: 89.8% of population
total: 89.8% of population
urban: 10.2% of population
rural: 10.2% of population
total: 10.2% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 29.4%
male: 29.7%
female: 28.9% (2011 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Territory of Guam
conventional short form: Guam
local long form: Guahan
local short form: Guahan
etymology: the native Chamorro name for the island "Guahan" (meaning "we have" or "ours") was changed to Guam in the 1898 Treaty of Paris whereby Spain relinquished Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US

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

Government type

presidential democracy; a self-governing unincorporated territory of the US


name: Hagatna (Agana)
geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 144 44 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (territory of the US)


none (territory of the US)

National holiday

Discovery Day (or Magellan Day), first Monday in March (1521)


effective 1 July 1950 (Guam Act of 1950 serves as a constitution); amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)

Legal system

common law modeled on US system; US federal laws apply


see United States


18 years of age; universal; note - Guamanians are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections

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 Eddie CALVO (since 3 January 2011); Lieutenant Governor Ray TENORIO (since 3 January 2011)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the Legislature
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 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 ballot by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for 2 consecutive terms); election last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2018)
election results: Eddie CALVO reelected governor; percent of vote - Eddie CALVO (Republican Party) 64%, Carl GUTIERREZ (Democratic Party) 36%; Ray TENORIO elected lieutenant governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislature of Guam or Liheslaturan Guahan (15 seats; members elected in a single countrywide constituency by simple majority vote to serve 2-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held on 8 November 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 9, Republican Party 6
note: Guam directly 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 6 November 2012 (next to be held on 8 November 2014)

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Guam (consists of 3 justices); note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court of Guam are referred to the US Supreme Court
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Guam legislature; justices appointed for life subject to retention election every 10 years
subordinate courts: Superior Court of Guam - includes several divisions; US Federal District Court for the District of Guam (a US territorial court; appeals beyond this court are heard before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party [Carlo BRANCH]
Republican Party [Mike BENITO]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Guam Commission on Decolonization
Guam Federation of Teachers' Union
Guam Waterworks Authority Workers
We Are Guahan

International organization participation

AOSIS (observer), IOC, PIF (observer), SPC, UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (territory of the US)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (territory of the US)

Flag description

territorial flag is dark blue with a narrow red border on all four sides; centered is a red-bordered, pointed, vertical ellipse containing a beach scene, a proa or outrigger canoe with sail, and a palm tree with the word GUAM superimposed in bold red letters; the proa is sailing in Agana Bay with the promontory of Punta Dos Amantes, near the capital, in the background; the shape of the central emblem is that of a Chamorro sling stone, used as a weapon for defense or hunting; blue represents the sea and red the blood shed in the struggle against oppression
note: the US flag is the national flag

National symbol(s)

coconut tree; national colors: deep blue, red

National anthem

name: "Fanohge Chamoru" (Stand Ye Guamanians)
lyrics/music: Ramon Manalisay SABLAN [English], Lagrimas UNTALAN [Chamoru]/Ramon Manalisay SABLAN
note: adopted 1919; the local anthem is also known as "Guam Hymn"; as a territory of the United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner," which generally follows the playing of "Stand Ye Guamanians," is official (see United States)


Economy - overview

US national defense spending is the main driver of Guam’s economy, followed by tourism and other services. Total federal spending (defense and non-defense) amounted to $1.973 billion in 2014, or 40.4% of GDP. Service exports, mainly spending by foreign to

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$4.882 billion (2013 est.)
$4.756 billion (2012 est.)
$4.562 billion (2011 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.6 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

0.6% (2013 est.)
1.8% (2012)
-0.3% (2011)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$30,500 (2013 est.)
$29,800 (2012 est.)
$28,600 (2011 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 63.7%
government consumption: 64.9%
investment in fixed assets: 5.8%
investment in inventories: NA
exports of goods and services: 17%
imports of goods and services: -51.2% (2013)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Agriculture - products

fruits, copra, vegetables; eggs, pork, poultry, beef


national defense, tourism, construction, transshipment services, concrete products, printing and publishing, food processing, textiles

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

note: this number is for the civilian labor force only (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 21.6%
services: 78.1% (2013)

Unemployment rate

8.4% (2013 est.)
8.2% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line

23% (2001 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

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


revenues: $1.147 billion
expenditures: $1.188 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

24.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt

32.1% of GDP (2013)
35.8% of GDP (2012)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.8% (2014 est.)
4% (2011 est.)


$828 million (2013 est.)
$795 million (2012)

Exports - commodities

transshipments of refined petroleum products, construction materials, fish, foodstuffs and beverages


$2.501 billion (2013 est.)
$2.438 billion (2012)

Imports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, food, manufactured goods

Debt - external


Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 66,724
electrification - total population: 59%
electrification - urban areas: 60%
electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)

Electricity - production

1.6 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

1.5 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

600,000 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

12,510 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

13,470 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.8 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 68,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 181,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitatnts: 113 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system, integrated with US facilities for direct dialing, including free use of 800 numbers
domestic: digital system, including mobile-cellular service and local access to the Internet
international: country code - 1-671; major landing point for submarine cables between Asia and the US (Guam is a transpacific communications hub for major carriers linking the US and Asia); satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

about a dozen TV channels, including digital channels; multi-channel cable TV services are available; roughly 20 radio stations (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 118,000
percent of population: 73.1% (July 2015 est.)



5 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 1,045 km (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Apra Harbor


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international