General Information

American Samoa is a U.S. territory covering 7 South Pacific islands and atolls. Tutuila, the largest island, is home to the capital Pago Pago, whose natural harbor is framed by volcanic peaks including 1,716-ft.-high Rainmaker Mountain. Divided between the islands Tutuila, Ofu and Ta‘ū, the National Park of American Samoa highlights the territory’s tropical scenery with rainforests, beaches and reefs.

Population

The current population of American Samoa is 55,655 as of 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates. American Samoa population is equivalent to 0% of the total world population.

Political Structure

The head of state of American Samoa is the President of the United States.  The President does not play an active role in government.  Responsibility for coordinating federal policy is delegated to the Secretary of Interior and, more specifically, to the Department of Insular Affairs.

American Samoa is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States.  Both of these terms are complex in nature and require considerable study to fully understand.  Unincorporated means there are some, albeit rather minor, differences between the rights of the citizens of a territory and a full US citizen.  Unorganized refers to a variety of organic acts, most of which give the US Government control of some or all the land in a territory.  American Samoa’s communal land system is in conflict with a broad organic act.

American Samoans born in the territory are considered U.S. “nationals”, the only such designation among all U.S. possessions and territories.   However, if one parent is a U.S. citizen, a child born in American Samoa is also a U.S. citizen.  Under the “national” designation, American Samoans are issued U.S. passports, with only their birth certificates.  American Samoans have most of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens except the right to vote in state or national elections or to hold some state and federal jobs.

Infrastructure and Economy

American Samoa’s economy is driven by US aid and one of the largest tuna canneries in the world.  At least two-thirds of the workforce is directly employed at the canneries and government, while most of the remaining workforce is employed in ancillary services for the two major employers.

It is generally known that American Samoa needs to reduce its dependency on canneries and government by diversifying into new export businesses.  The remote location of the islands makes export of traditional manufactured or agricultural items difficult and cost prohibitive.  There has been increased interest in developing high-tech industries and tourism, both of which are export businesses without the need for traditional shipping.

Language

Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently. Samoan is the same language spoken in neighboring independent Samoa.

Currency

The American Samoa currency is the United States Dollar.