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HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (July 5, 2001 – The Honolulu Advertiser/Associated Press)---The population of Saipan, a tiny U.S. territory in the western Pacific that has attracted thousands of garment workers in recent years, swelled 60 percent in the past decade, according to census figures.

Census data released by the Census Bureau for U.S. territories in the Pacific -- including Guam, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa -- show population growth over the last decade across the scattered islands.

The bureau did not provide a breakdown of the population, except by district. More detailed demographic data on various island populations will be released later this year.

The population of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas in 2000 was 69,221, an increase of 25,876 over 1990’s population, according to figures provided to the U.S. Census Bureau.

On Saipan, the most populous of the Northern Mariana Islands, the population surged by 23,496 to 62, 392 by 2000.

Some of that growth comes from an influx of garment workers -- mostly women from China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand.

Workers in the Northern Marianas are not protected by U.S. minimum wage laws, but goods produced there can be stamped "Made in U.S.A."

The other two U.S. territories in the western Pacific -- Guam and American Samoa -- also saw their populations grow 16 percent and 22 percent respectively since 1990, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

American Samoa gained 10, 518 people in the last decade. The population of the U.S. Territory about 2,300 miles southwest of Hawai‘i was 57,291 in 2000.

Guam, about 3,700 miles west of Hawai‘i and the largest of the Pacific territories, is home to several U.S. military bases. The 212 square mile island gained 21,653 people since 1990. Its population in 200 was 154,805.

For additional reports from The Honolulu Advertiser, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Honolulu Advertiser.

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