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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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American Samoa



Insular Area Summary for American Samoa

Political Status

081709_SamoaAmerican Samoa became a U.S. territory by deed of cession, starting in 1900. The matai (local chiefs) of Tutuila, the largest island in American Samoa, ceded the island to the United States in 1900. Manu’a followed in 1904. Swain Island joined the territory in 1925 by an act of the Congress. Authority over American Samoa was initially placed with the U.S. Navy which oversaw the territory until 1951.

Authority was transferred to the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1956 where it resides.

Even without an organic act or other explicit Congressional directive on governance, the people of American Samoa adopted their own constitution in 1967 and first constitutional elections were in 1977. Unlike citizens of other U.S. territories who are U.S. citizens, American Samoans are U.S. nationals. However, neither citizens nor nationals of U.S. territories vote in Federal elections and pay Federal taxes. American Samoa came under Federal minimum wage rules in 2007 and controls its own immigration and border matters.

Elected Leaders

Governor: Lolo M. Moliga (January 3, 2013)
Lt. Governor: Lemanu P. Mauga (January 3, 2013)
Delegate to the House of Representatives: Eni. F. H. Faleomavaega, Jr.
Speaker of the House: Mr. Savali Talavou Ale
President of the Senate: High Chief Gaoteote Palaie, (U.S. Army CSM, retired)

Distances from places

Washington DC: 7,050 miles
Los Angeles: 4,815 mils
Tokyo: 4,650 miles
Honolulu: 2,500

Population & Demography

AmericanSamoaTotal population: 55,519 (2010)
Native Pacific islander: 91.6%
Asian: 2.8%
White: 1.2%
Other ethnic origins: 2.0%
Median age: 22.8 years
U.S. median age: 36.7 years

Economy & Income Sources

asmapGDP: $703 million ( BEA 2009)
Per capita GDP: $12,662
U.S. per capita GDP: $48,133
Tuna Processing
 *Tuna processing business since the 1950s
 *Employed 1,553 workers in 2010
 *Pays a large part of corporate taxes
 *Enjoys Federal tax credit for jobs
American Samoa Government
 *Employs 27.7 percent of labor force
 *Manages public education, health & telecomm
Tourism
Beginning to grow but potential is limited.
Services
Shipping and stevedoring
Wholesale and retail trade
Hotels and restaurants
Tourist and recreational services

Labor Force & Employment

Total payroll employment: 18,862 (2010)
Private sector employment: 12,080
Government employment: 5,226
Autonomous agencies: 1,556
Private sector employment as a % of total: 64.0
Government employment as a % of total: 27.7
Autonomous agencies as a % of total: 8.2
Unemployment rate: unknown

Government Finances

Total government revenues: $211.2 million (FY 09)
Total government spending: $222.0 million (FY 09)
Total Federal grants: $134.1 million (FY 09)
Federal grants as a % of total revenues: 63.5

Land Ownership

About 90 percent of the land is communally owned by aiga. The existing tenure law on communal lands prohibits alienation of any real property except freehold land to any person whose blood is less that one-half Samoan. Unless the Governor approves the transfer in writing, it is unlawful for any matai of a Samoan family to alienate any family lands to any person or lease it for any term more than 55 years. ASG estimates that 1.5625 square miles of American Samoa's total area of 76.1 square miles are freehold land.

Travel Requirements

The Immigration and Naturalization Service of the U.S. Department of Justice does not exercise jurisdiction in American Samoa. No one may enter American Samoa unless he or she complies with certain entry requirements of the American Samoa Government. To enter the territory, a U.S. citizen or national must have in his or her possession: (1) a valid U.S. passport or certified birth certificate demonstrating his or her U.S. nationality and (2) a ticket for onward passage out of American Samoa or proof of employment in American Samoa.The requirements for an alien's entry into American Samoa mirror those for a U.S. citizen or national. In addition to a ticket for onward passage out of American Samoa, an alien must have in his or her possession a valid passport containing a photograph or fingerprint of the holder and authorizing him or her (1) to return to the country from where he or she came or (2) to enter some other country.Whether a U.S. citizen or national or an alien, once lawfully admitted, a tourist or business person may stay in American Samoa for up to thirty days. With the approval of the Attorney General of American Samoa, a tourist or business person may stay in American Samoa for thirty days beyond the initial thirty-day period. At the present time, the American Samoa Government does not require any vaccinations for entry into the territory.

Travel Entry Requirements

OIA Contacts

Lydia Faleafine-Nomura
OIA Field Representative
Department of the Interior
P.O. Box 1725
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Phone: 1 (684) 633-2800
Fax : 1 (684) 633-2415
Cellular Phone: 01 (684) 733-5085
Email: doioia@blueskynet.as
EST -6 hours; DST -7 hours

Krystina Borja
OIA Desk Officer
For American Samoa
Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 219-8536
Krystina_Borja@ios.doi.gov