Preliminary Census Shows Am. Samoa Population Increase

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Increase in 2,000, 3.5%, since 2010

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 26, 2016) – The preliminary population count for American Samoa in 2015 conducted by the local Department of Commerce was just over 57,000, an increase of more than 2,000 people from the 2010 Census.

In an Apr. 8, 2016 press statement, DOC says these are the preliminary results of the 2015 Household Income and Expenditures Survey (HIES), which was carried out in April and May last year.

DOC says the survey collected information on population and housing, but also on expenditures, including durable goods bought, travel, health, transportation, and cost of community activities. The respondents in the selected units for the survey also filled out a daily diary for a week, recording everything they spent, including general grocery shopping as well as money spent in fast food outlets and other restaurants.

American Samoa’s population, according to the 2010 count carried out by the US Census, shows 55,519. (Samoa News points out that lawmakers and others challenged results of the 2010 Census after its release in mid 2011.)

According to the preliminary HIES population count; the territory’s estimated population in 2015 was at 57,436. The population included about 28,238 males and 29,198 females. The median age of the population was 25.3 years, with 23.7 for males and 26.9 for females, which are much lower than for the United States, whose median population is 36.8 years.

Samoa News notes that compared to the 2010 Census, the 2015 Manu’a Island’s population count has increased by 140 people, i.e. 1,143 people vs. 1,283 people. Tualauta County continues to be the largest with a 2015 population count of 31,920 people; an increase of 591 people as compared to the 2010 Census, which was 31,329.

The survey also collected information on American Samoa’s religions and the largest religion was the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa with 19,147 members, followed by Catholics with 10,410, and the LDS (Mormon) faith with 9,091.

According to the preliminary results, a majority of American Samoa’s population — 36,952 or almost two-thirds — was born in the territory. Approximately 14,000 were reported as born in Samoa, 900 in Tonga, and 1,000 in the Philippines.

While American Samoa has fewer people born in Samoa than previously reported, almost half of all mothers of people living in American Samoa were born in Samoa, and more than half of the fathers of the territory’s people were born in Samoa.

"So, the ties between the two Samoas continue," according to DOC.

And as expected, Samoans are the largest ethnic group — with 53,490 or 93% of the population. Other groups included 1,607 Tongans.

Of those people, five years of age and older, about 5.5% spoke English at home, while 89% of the population spoke Samoan at home.

On the issue of education, the survey says that in April of last year, American Samoa had 19,417 students at various levels of education, from pre primary through college. Of these, 17,432 were attending public school, and 1,985 were attending private schools.

Almost 87% of the people 25 years and over were high school graduates and 10 percent had a Bachelor’s Degree or more education. About 4% of all adults ever served in the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves, "a comparatively high proportion of the population," the survey says.

According to DOC, it will continue to analyze the data and will make further releases as the information becomes available. More information on the survey is available publicly on the DOC website: http://doc.as.gov/press-release-2015-hies/

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