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Samoa country facts

Independent State of Samoa Australia-Oceania Apia 196,628 inhabitants 2,831 sq km 69.46 inhabitants/sq km tala (SAT) population evolution



New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.



Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

13 35 S, 172 20 W

Area (sq km)

total: 2,831 sq km
land: 2,821 sq km
water: 10 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

403 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)


two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Silisili 1,857 m

Natural resources

hardwood forests, fish, hydropower

Land use (%)

arable land: 2.82%
permanent crops: 7.75%
other: 89.44% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)


Natural hazards

occasional typhoons; active volcanism
volcanism: Savai'I Island (elev. 1,858 m), which last erupted in 1911, is historically active

Environment - current issues

soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

People and Society


noun: Samoan(s)
adjective: Samoan

Ethnic groups (%)

Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood) 7%, Europeans 0.4% (2001 census)

Languages (%)

Samoan (Polynesian) (official), English

Religions (%)

Protestant 57.4% (Congregationalist 31.8%, Methodist 13.7%, Assembly of God 8%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.9%), Roman Catholic 19.4%, Mormon 15.2%, Worship Centre 1.7%, other Christian 5.5%, other 0.7%, none 0.1%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)


note: prior estimates used official net migration data by sex, but a highly unusual pattern for 1993 lead to a significant imbalance in the sex ratios (more men and fewer women) and a seeming reduction in the female population; the revised total was calculated using a 1993 number that was an average of the 1992 and 1994 migration figures (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 33.4% (male 33,842/female 31,749)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 20,227/female 19,200)
25-54 years: 35.2% (male 35,872/female 33,355)
55-64 years: 6% (male 5,955/female 5,770)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 4,647/female 6,011) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Samoa

Median age (years)

total: 23.1 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 23.4 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

0.59% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

21.29 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

5.32 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

-10.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 19.9% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: -0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

APIA (capital) 37,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

100 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 20.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 73.21 years
male: 70.32 years
female: 76.24 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.94 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

7% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.48 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 97.4% of population
rural: 98.8% of population
total: 98.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population
rural: 1.2% of population
total: 1.5% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 93.3% of population
rural: 91.1% of population
total: 91.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 6.7% of population
rural: 8.9% of population
total: 8.4% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

54.1% (2008)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

5.8% of GDP (2008)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.8%
male: 99%
female: 98.6% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2000)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 16.1%
male: 13.8%
female: 22.2% (2011)


Country name

conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form: Samoa
local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
local short form: Samoa
former: Western Samoa

Government type

parliamentary democracy


name: Apia
geographic coordinates: 13 49 S, 171 46 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

Administrative divisions

11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano


1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June


several previous (preindependence); latest 1 January 1962; amended several times, last in 2013 (2013)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: TUI ATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FONOTOE Pierre Lauofo (since 2011)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
elections: chief of state elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
election results: TUI ATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly

Legislative branch

unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats, 47 members elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly non-Samoan or part-Samoan, voters who cannot (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Fono from the 47 village-based electorates; members serve five-year terms)
elections: election last held on 4 March 2011 (next election to be held not later than March 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 29, Tautua Samoa 13, independents 7

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 2 Supreme Court judges and meets once or twice a year); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the head of state upon the advice of the prime minister; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body chaired by the chief justice and includes the attorney general and an appointee of the Minister of Justice; judges normally appointed until retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: District Court; Magistrates' Courts; Land and Titles Courts; village fono or village chief councils

Political parties and leaders

Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]
Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]
Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP
Tautua Samoa [Palusalue FA'APO II]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA (since 4 December 2003)
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196 through 6197
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
consulate(s) general: Pago Pago (American Samoa)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: the US does not have an embassy in Samoa; the US Ambassador to New Zealand, currently Ambassador David HUEBNER, is accredited to Samoa
embassy: Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
telephone: [685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX: [685] 22030

Flag description

red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation; red stands for courage, blue represents freedom, and white signifies purity

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars)

National anthem

name: "O le Fu'a o le Sa'olotoga o Samoa" (The Banner of Freedom)
lyrics/music: Sauni Liga KURESA
note: adopted 1962; the anthem is also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)


Economy - overview

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs roughly two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 122,000 tourists visited the islands in 2007. In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami severely damaged Samoa, and nearby American Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. In December 2012, extensive flooding and wind damage from Tropical Cyclone Evan killed four people, displaced over 6,000, and damaged or destroyed an estimated 1,500 homes in Samoa's Upolu island. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.145 billion (2013 est.)
$1.144 billion (2012 est.)
$1.11 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$705 million (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

0.1% (2013 est.)
3.1% (2012 est.)
1.3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$6,200 (2013 est.)
$6,200 (2012 est.)
$6,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 10.2%
industry: 25.9%
services: 64% (2013 est.)

Labor force

47,930 (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 65%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate (%)


Population below poverty line (%)


Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $215.6 million
expenditures: $258.7 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

30.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-6.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2.7% (2013 est.)
2.1% (2012 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

10.2% (31 December 2013 est.)
9.86% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$97.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$97.71 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$305.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$307.8 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$301.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$312.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products

coconuts, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa


food processing, building materials, auto parts

Industrial production growth rate (%)

-4.8% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$76.11 million (2011 est.)
-$58.66 million (2010 est.)


$11.4 million (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer

Exports - partners (%)

American Samoa 48.4%, Australia 24% (2012)


$318.7 million (2011 est.)
$280 million (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs

Imports - partners (%)

NZ 19.2%, Singapore 18.6%, Fiji 17.6%, China 15.8%, Australia 5.9%, US 5.4% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$168.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
$168.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$368.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$368.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
tala (SAT) per US dollar -
2.319 (2013 est.)
2.2923 (2012 est.)
2.4847 (2010 est.)

Fiscal year

June 1 - May 31


Electricity - production (kWh)

120.2 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

111.8 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

41,100 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

70.6% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

29.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

1,070 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

1,149 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

146,600 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

35,300 (2010)

Telephones - mobile cellular

167,400 (2010)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2007)

Broadcast media

state-owned TV station privatized in 2008; 4 privately-owned television broadcast stations; about a half dozen privately owned radio stations and one state-owned radio station; TV and radio broadcasts of several stations from American Samoa are available (2009)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

18,013 (2012)

Internet users

9,000 (2009)



4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2013)

Roadways (km)

total: 2,337 km
paved: 332 km
unpaved: 2,005 km (2001)

Merchant marine

total: 2
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (NZ 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Apia


Military branches

no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (2008)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 47,906 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 38,260
females age 16-49: 38,032 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 2,221
female: 2,062 (2010 est.)

Military - note

Samoa has no formal defense structure or regular armed forces; informal defense ties exist with NZ, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Largest cities of Samoa

These are the 50 largest cities of Samoa ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Apia 40,407
2 Vaitele 5,631