Australia - Oceania :: Samoa
  • Introduction :: Samoa
  • Background:
    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.
  • Geography :: Samoa
  • Location:
    Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand
    Geographic coordinates:
    13 35 S, 172 20 W
    Map references:
    Oceania
    Area:
    total: 2,831 sq km
    land: 2,821 sq km
    water: 10 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than Rhode Island
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    403 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)
    Terrain:
    two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rugged mountains in interior
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    1857 highest point: Mount Silisili
    Natural resources:
    hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 12.4% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 2.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 7.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 1.8% (2011 est.)
    forest: 60.4% (2011 est.)
    other: 27.2% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    about three-quarters of the population lives on the island of Upolu
    Natural hazards:

    occasional cyclones; active volcanism

    volcanism: Savai'I Island (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 :: Samoa
  • Population:
    201,316 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    Nationality:
    noun: Samoan(s)
    adjective: Samoan
    Ethnic groups:
    Samoan 96%, Samoan/New Zealander 2%, other 1.9% (2011 est.)

    note: data represent the population by country of citizenship

    Languages:
    Samoan (Polynesian) (official) 91.1%, Somoan/English 6.7%, English (official) 0.5%, other 0.2%, unspecified 1.6% (2006 est.)
    Religions:
    Protestant 52.6% (Congregationalist 29%, Methodist 12.4%, Assembly of God 6.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 4.4%), Roman Catholic 18.8%, Mormon 16.9%, Worship Centre 2.8%, other Christian 6.3%, other Protestant 2.4%, other 2.4% (includes Baha'i, Muslim), none 0.2% (2016 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 30.67% (male 31,862 /female 29,875)
    15-24 years: 19.76% (male 20,413 /female 19,357)
    25-54 years: 36.68% (male 37,944 /female 35,893)
    55-64 years: 7.05% (male 7,223 /female 6,973)
    65 years and over: 5.85% (male 5,126 /female 6,650) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 74.2 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 64.9 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 9.3 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 10.8 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 24.8 years
    male: 24.5 years
    female: 25.1 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Population growth rate:
    0.61% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Birth rate:
    20.2 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Death rate:
    5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Net migration rate:
    -9.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Population distribution:
    about three-quarters of the population lives on the island of Upolu
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 18.2% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: -0.47% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    36,000 APIA (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth:
    23.6 years (2009 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate:
    51 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 18 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 14.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 74.2 years (2018 est.)
    male: 71.3 years (2018 est.)
    female: 77.3 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Total fertility rate:
    2.64 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    26.9% (2014)
    Health expenditures:
    7.2% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Physicians density:
    0.34 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 97.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 99.3% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 99% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 1% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 93.3% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 91.1% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 91.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 6.7% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 8.9% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 8.5% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Major infectious diseases:

    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    47.3% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
    2.7% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Education expenditures:
    4.1% of GDP (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 99% (2015 est.)
    male: 99.1% (2015 est.)
    female: 98.8% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 19.1% (2014 est.)
    male: 15.6% (2014 est.)
    female: 25.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
  • Government :: Samoa
  • 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
    etymology: the name "Samoa" is composed of two parts, "sa" meaning sacred and "moa" meaning center, so the name can mean Holy Center; alternatively, it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology
    Government type:
    parliamentary republic
    Capital:
    name: Apia
    geographic coordinates: 13 49 S, 171 46 W
    time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving 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
    Independence:
    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, but it is observed in June
    Constitution:
    history: several previous (preindependence); latest 1 January 1962 (2017)
    amendments: proposed as an act by the Legislative Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership in the third reading - provided at least 90 days have elapsed since the second reading, and assent to by the chief of state; passage of amendments affecting constitutional articles on customary land or constitutional amendment procedures also requires at least two-thirds majority approval in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2015 (2017)
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Samoa
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage:
    21 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi II (since 21 July 2017)
    head of government: Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 23 November 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FIAME Naomi Mata’afa (since 2016)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
    elections/appointments: chief of state indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 4 July 2017 (next to be held in 2022); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state, approved by the Legislative Assembly
    election results: TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly on 5 July 2017
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (50 seats for 2016-2021 term); members from 49 single-seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote and 1 seat for a woman, added for the 2016 election to meet the mandated 10% representation of women in the Assembly; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: election last held on 4 March 2016 (next election to be held no later than March 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party - HRPP 89.8%, Tautua Samoa 4.1%, independent 6.1%; seats by party – initial election results - HRPP 44, Tautua Samoa 2, independents 3; post-election party affiliation – HRPP 47, (informal) opposition 3
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: 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 [TUILA'EPA Sailele Malielegaoi]
    International organization participation:
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    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 Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
    embassy: Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
    mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
    telephone: [685] 21-631 (2018)
    FAX: [685] 22-030 (2018)
    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

    note: similar to the flag of Taiwan

    National symbol(s):
    Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars); national colors: red, white, blue
    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; also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)

  • Economy :: Samoa
  • Economy - overview:

    The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, tourism, agriculture, and fishing. It has a nominal GDP of $844 million. Agriculture, including fishing, furnishes 90% of exports, featuring fish, coconut oil, nonu products, and taro. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Industry accounts for nearly 22% of GDP while employing less than 6% of the work force. The service sector accounts for nearly two-thirds of GDP and employs approximately 50% of the labor force. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 132,000 tourists visited the islands in 2013.

    The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. In 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 on Samoa's Upolu Island.

    The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the country's financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Foreign reserves are relatively healthy and inflation is low, but external debt is approximately 45% of GDP. Samoa became the 155th member of the WTO in May 2012, and graduated from least developed country status in January 2014.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $1.137 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.11 billion (2016 est.)
    $1.036 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 204
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $841 million (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    2.5% (2017 est.)
    7.1% (2016 est.)
    1.6% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $5,700 (2017 est.)
    $5,700 (2016 est.)
    $5,300 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 169
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: NA
    government consumption: NA
    investment in fixed capital: NA
    investment in inventories: NA
    exports of goods and services: 27.2% (2015 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -50.5% (2015 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 10.4% (2017 est.)
    industry: 23.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 66% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    coconuts, nonu, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
    Industries:
    food processing, building materials, auto parts
    Industrial production growth rate:
    -1.8% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Labor force:
    50,700 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 65%
    industry: 6%
    services: 29% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    5.2% (2017 est.)
    5.5% (2016 est.)

    NA

    country comparison to the world: 78
    Population below poverty line:
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 237.3 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 276.8 million (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    28.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -4.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Public debt:
    49.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
    52.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Fiscal year:
    June 1 - May 31
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    1.3% (2017 est.)
    0.1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    8.76% (31 December 2017 est.)
    9.09% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Stock of narrow money:
    $147 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $131.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Stock of broad money:
    $147 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $131.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $404.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $389.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Market value of publicly traded shares:

    NA

    Current account balance:
    -$19 million (2017 est.)
    -$37 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Exports:
    $27.5 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Exports - partners:
    Australia 22.9%, NZ 22.8%, American Samoa 22.1%, Afghanistan 14.9%, US 5.9% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    fish, coconut oil and cream, nonu, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
    Imports:
    $89.29 billion (2018 est.)
    $312.6 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Imports - commodities:
    machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners:
    NZ 22%, Singapore 20.7%, US 12.5%, China 10.1%, Australia 8.6%, Fiji 5.2% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $133 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $122.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Debt - external:
    $447.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Exchange rates:
    tala (SAT) per US dollar -
    2.566 (2017 est.)
    2.565 (2016 est.)
    2.565 (2015 est.)
    2.5609 (2014 est.)
    2.3318 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Samoa
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 10,942 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 94% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 100% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 93% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    132 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    Electricity - consumption:
    122.8 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    45,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    48% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    23% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    29% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    2,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    2,363 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    341,100 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
  • Communications :: Samoa
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 8,454 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 124,211 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 62 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: most households have at least one mobile phone; all businesses in the greater Apia area have access to broadband and Wi-Fi, which is reasonably reliable and fast, but relatively expensive; in rural Upolu and on Savaii Island there is limited availability of high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi; Samoa recently completed the installation of a National Broadband Highway that will provide fiber optic data services and 4G LTE cellular data speeds to the entire country; 4G LTE data speeds are operative and commercially available to limited areas; 4G Internet accessibility from cellular devices is currently available nationwide (2017)
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 70 telephones per 100 persons (2016)
    international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
    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:
    .ws
    Internet users:
    total: 58,508 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 29.4% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 1,692 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
  • Transportation :: Samoa
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 270,908 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    5W (2016)
    Airports:
    4 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 1 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 3 (2013)
    under 914 m: 3 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 1,200 km (2017)
    paved: 1,105 km (2017)
    unpaved: 95 km (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Merchant marine:
    total: 10 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 4, other 6 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Apia
  • Military and Security :: Samoa
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force
    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 :: Samoa
  • Disputes - international:
    none