The World Factbook (1990)/American Samoa

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American Samoa
(territory of the US)

 See regional map X


Total area: 199 km²; land area: 199 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 116 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 12 nm
Continental shelf: 200 m
Extended 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

Natural resources: pumice and pumicite

Land use: 10% arable land; 5% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 75% forest and woodland; 10% other

Environment: typhoons common from December to March

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 about 3,700 km south-southwest of Honolulu in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand


Population: 41,840 (July 1990), growth rate 2.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 41 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 4 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -8 immigrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 11 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 69 years male, 74 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—American Samoan(s); adjective—American Samoan

Ethnic divisions: 90% Samoan (Polynesian), 2% Caucasian, 2% Tongan, 6% other

Religion: about 50% Christian Congregationalist, 20% Roman Catholic, 30% mostly Protestant denominations and other

Language: Samoan (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages) and English; most people are bilingual

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 10,000; 48% government, 33% tuna canneries, 19% other (1986 est.)

Organized labor: NA

Note: about 65,000 American Samoans live in the States of California and Washington and 20,000 in Hawaii


Long-form name: Territory of American Samoa

Type: unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US

Capital: Pago Pago

Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US)

Independence: none (territory of the US)

Constitution: ratified 1966, in effect 1967

National holiday: Flag Day, 17 April (1900)

Executive branch: US president, governor, lieutenant governor

Legislative branch: bicameral Legislature (Fono) consists of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Representatives

Judicial branch: High Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President George BUSH (since 20 January 1989); Vice President Dan QUAYLE (since 20 January 1989);

Head of Government—Governor Peter Tali COLEMAN (since 20 January 1989); Lieutenant Governor Galea'i POUMELE (since NA 1989)

Suffrage: universal at age 18; indigenous inhabitants are US nationals, not US citizens

Elections: Governor—last held 7 November 1988 (next to be held November 1992); results—Peter T. Coleman was elected (percent of vote NA); Senate—last held 7 November 1988 (next to be held November 1992); results—senators elected by county councils from 12 senate districts; seats—(18 total) number of seats by party NA;

House of Representatives—last held 7 November 1988 (next to be held November 1990); results—representatives popularly elected from 17 house districts; seats—(21 total, 20 elected and 1 nonvoting delegate from Swain's Island);

US House of Representatives—last held 19 November 1988 (next to be held November 1990); results—Eni R. F. H. Faleomavaega elected as a nonvoting delegate

Communists: none

Diplomatic representation: none (territory of the US)

Flag: 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 staff and a war club

Note: administered by the US Department of Interior, Office of Territorial and International Affairs; indigenous inhabitants are US nationals, not citizens of the US


Overview: Economic development is strongly linked to the US, with which American Samoa does 90% of its foreign trade. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector economy, with canned tuna the primary export. The tuna canneries are the second-largest employer, exceeded only by the government. Other economic activities include meat canning, handicrafts, dairy farming, and a slowly developing tourist industry. Tropical agricultural production provides little surplus for export.

GNP: $190 million, per capita $5,210; real growth rate NA% (1985)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 13.4% (1986)

Budget: revenues $90.3 million; expenditures $93.15 million, including capital expenditures of $4.9 million (1988)

Exports: $288 million (f.o.b., 1987); commodities—canned tuna 93%; partners—US 99.6%

Imports: $346 million (c.i.f., 1987); commodities—building materials 18%, food 17%, petroleum products 14%; partners—US 72%, Japan 7%, NZ 7%, Australia 5%, other 9%

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 35,000 kW capacity; 70 million kWh produced, 1,720 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tuna canneries (largely dependent on foreign supplies of raw tuna)

Agriculture: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas

Aid: $20.1 million in operational funds and $5.8 million in construction funds for capital improvement projects from the US Department of Interior (1989)

Currency: US currency is used

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 October-30 September


Railroads: small marine railroad in Pago Pago harbor

Highways: 350 km total; 150 km paved, 200 km unpaved

Ports: Pago Pago, Ta'u

Airports: 3 total, 3 usable; 1 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440 to 3,659 m (international airport at Tafuna, near Pago Pago); small airstrips on Ta'u and Ofu

Telecommunications: 6,500 telephones; stations—1 AM, no FM, 1 TV; good telex, telegraph, and facsimile services; 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the US