American Samoa


Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was “discovered” by European explorers in the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion – a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbour of Pago Pago – the following year.

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 14 20 S, 170 00 W
Population: 54,947 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.9% (male 10,910/female 10,518)

15-64 years:  63.9% (male 21,764/female 21,228)

65 years and over: 4.2% (male 1,322/female 1,500) (2011 est.)

Median age: total: 24 years

male: 23.9 years

female: 24.1 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.211% (2012 est.)
Country name: conventional long form: Territory of American Samoa

conventional short form: American Samoa

abbreviation: AS

Dependency status: unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Telephones – main lines in use: 10,400 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 2,200 (2004)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA

domestic: good telex, telegraph, facsimile, and cellular telephone services; domestic satellite system with 1 Comsat earth station

international: country code – 1-684; satellite earth station – 1 (Intelsat-Pacific Ocean)

Airports: 3 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)


Military – note:

Defence is the responsibility of the US


American Samoa has a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US with which American Samoa conducts most of its commerce. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector, with canned tuna the primary export.


Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa’s economic well-being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa’s remote location, its limited transportation, and it’s devastating hurricanes. Tourism is a promising developing sector.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international:

Tokelau included American Samoa’s Swains Island (Olohega) in its 2006 draft constitution