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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands



Insular Area Summary for the Northern Mariana Islands

Political Status

saipan_banzaicliff04
Saipan Banzai cliff.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until Palau, the last member of the TTPI to choose its own political future, became an independent country 1994. The Federal law (the Covenant) making the CNMI a U.S. territory passed in 1975. The CNMI adopted its constitution in 1977, and its first constitutional government took office in 1978. The CNMI came under Federal minimum wage regulations in 2007 and immigration law in 2008. In June 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security takes over the CNMI’s immigration and border controls.

Elected Leaders

Governor: Benigno R. Fitial
Delegate to the House of Representatives: Gregorio “Kilili” Camacho Sablan
Current Speaker of the House: Froilan C. Tenorio
Current President of the Senate: Paul A. Manglona

Labor Force & Employment

SaipanBeach SaipanFlameTree
Saipan Beach. Saipan Flame Tree.

Total labor force: 38,935 (2005)
Total employment: 35,400 (2005)
Private sector employment: 32,214
Government employment: 3,186
Private sector employment as a % of total: 91
Government employment as a % of total: 9
Unemployment rate: 8%

Distances from places

Washington DC: 8,950 miles
Los Angeles: 6,300 mils
Honolulu: 3,800
Tokyo: 1,500 miles

Economy & Income Sourcescnmimap

GDP: $716 million (BEA 2009)
Per capita GDP: $13,288 (BEA 2009)
U.S. per capita GDP: $48,133
Total population: 53,883 (2010 census)

Tourism
340,957 tourists in 2011
506,846 tourists in 2005
528,608 tourists in 2000
Japanese tourists: 41.9 percent of total (2011)
Korean tourists: 31.5 percent of total (2011)

Services
Wholesale and retail trade
Hotels and restaurants
Tourist and recreational services
Government services
Other services

Gross business receipts in 2009: $1.6 billion
Gross business receipts in 2010: $1.3 billion
Gross business receipts in 2005: $2.0 billion
Gross business receipts in 2000: $2.3 billion

Government Finances
Total revenues: $230.2 million (FY 09)
Total spending: $277.6 million (FY 09)
Total Federal grants: $64.4 million (FY 09)

Government Finances

Total gov’t. revenues: $244.3 million (FY 07)
Total gov’t. spending: $289.1 million (FY 07)
Total Federal grants: $61.3 million (FY 07)

Geography

small_anatahan
Anatahan, 1994: Before Eruption
20030606-eastcrater-1_small
June 6. 2003

Located just north of Guam, the CNMI is a three-hundred mile archipelago consisting of 14 islands, with a total land area of 183.5 square miles. The principal inhabited islands are Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The northern, largely uninhabited islands are Farallon de Medinilla, Anatahan, Sariguan, Gudgeon, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion, Maug Islands, and Farallon de Pajaro. Saipan is 3,300 miles from Honolulu; 5,625 from San Francisco; 1,272 miles from Tokyo; and 3,090 miles from Sydney.

The Mariana Islands are on the edge of the Philippine Plate. They were formed by underwater volcanoes along the Marianas Trench. The northern islands are high volcanic islands and the southern islands are raised limestone.

Anatahan is currently an active volcano with the first recorded volcanic eruption on May 10, 2003.

Click here to visit the Anatahan Volcano home page.

Culture

saipan_botanicalcarden02
Saipan Botanical Garden.

The U.S. citizen population of the Northern Marianas is predominantly of Chamorro cultural extraction, although a number of Carolinians (Chuukese, Kosraeans, Pohnpeians and Yapese) and immigrants from other areas of East Asia and Micronesia have also settled in the islands. English is the official language of the CNMI, but Chamorro and Carolinian are the spoken native tongues. The Spanish culture, which influenced the Chamorro culture for nearly four centuries, is still present today. Japanese is also spoken in many of the hotels and shops, reflecting the heavy tourism industry. The non-citizen population is made up primarily of Filipino and Chinese, with some representation from several other Asian countries.


OIA Contacts

Jeffrey Schorr
Field Representative

Keith Aughenbaugh
Systems Accountant

Office of Insular Affairs
Department of the Interior
Post Office Box 2622
Saipan, MP 96950
Phone: (670) 234-8861
Fax: (670) 234-8814
EST +15 hours
DST + 14 hours

Francisco Taitano
Desk Officer for the Northern Mariana Islands
Office of Insular Affairs
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-7722
Francisco_Taitano@ios.doi.gov