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DOC: American Samoa population continues to decline

American Samoa Dept. of Commerce logo
Outmigration, fewer births and increased number of deaths are cited

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa’s 2019 mid-year populations stands at over 58,000 — a loss of 1,000 residents — and the female population is higher than the male population, according to the latest data released by the Statistics Division of the Commerce Department.

Samoa News reported in August of last year, based on DOC data, that the territory’s mid-year 2018 population was estimated at 59,600 — a loss of 700 people compared to July 1, 2017.

According to DOC information released Monday this week, the 2019 mid-year population is estimated at 58,500 — a recorded loss of 1,100 to the resident population due to high outmigration, increased mortality, and declining fertility.

According to DOC, the population estimate is derived from the Balancing Equation Method by adding the natural growth — births minus deaths — and net migration of residents and immigrants to the base population ever year.

 “Current trends, such as higher mortality, fewer births and continuous net migration of residents, resulted in an estimated decrease in American Samoa’s population in 2019,” DOC explained.  “Specifically, fertility rates have continued to fall while additional residents have moved off island.”

Furthermore, net natural growth increased at the lowest rate in two decades, with only 600 added to the count this year. A substantial net outflow of travelers was recorded as the number of residents relocating to the US and other countries outpaced those that migrated to American Samoa.

“Net migration is still a major challenge,” DOC said, adding that given the new arrival and departure cards system implemented in 2018, “data quality is relatively poor as a result of incomplete forms and non-compliances”.

Arrival/departure statistics reported to DOC by Immigration suggest that population in the territory “may have decreased by at least 2,300 since mid-2018,” according to DOC.

Of the total mid-year population, there are slightly more females — 29,746 — than males at 28,753.

The age group of 25-64 years old has the highest number at 25,959; followed by 6-13 years old with 10,243; and topping off the top three is the age group of 14-18 with 6,537.

The age group with the smallest estimated population is infants — less than one-year old at 1,133, while the age group of 65 and over totals 3,508.


Data release in August 2011 by the US Census Bureau says American Samoa’s population was 55,519 following the 2010 Census. This notes a decline of 3.1% or 1,772 people between 2000 and 2010.

The national census covering the entire US and its territories is carried out every 10 years, with the next one in 2020. DOC Statistics Division continues to work with the US Census Bureau to prepare for the 2020 census for American Samoa.