Samoa - WS - WSM - SAM - Australia and Oceania

Last updated: April 09, 2024
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Samoa Factbook Data

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: the US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa

embassy: 5th Floor, Accident Corporation Building, Matafele Apia

mailing address: 4400 Apia Place, Washington DC 20521-4400

telephone: [685] 21-436

FAX: [685] 22-030

email address and website:

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.33% (male 29,259/female 27,452)

15-64 years: 65.72% (male 69,635/female 66,745)

65 years and over: 6.94% (2023 est.) (male 6,415/female 7,995)
2023 population pyramid
This is the population pyramid for Samoa. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Geographic coordinates

13 35 S, 172 20 W

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Natural hazards

occasional cyclones; active volcanism

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

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Rhode Island


The first Austronesian settlers arrived in Samoa around 1000 B.C., and early Samoans traded and intermarried with Fijian and Tongan nobility. The fa’amatai system of titles and nobility developed, which dominates Samoan politics to this day; all but two seats in the legislature are reserved for matai, or heads of families. Dutch explorer Jacob ROGGEVEEN was the first European to spot the islands in 1722. Christian missionaries arrived in the 1830s, converting most of the population. In the 1850s, Apia became a center for Pacific trading and hosted an American commercial agent and British and German consuls. In 1892, American traders convinced the Samoan king to align his country’s date with the US, moving to the east of the International Date Line.

Following the death of the Samoan king in 1841, rival families competed for his titles, devolving into civil war in 1886 with factions getting support from either Germany, the UK, or the US. All three countries sent warships to Apia in 1889, presaging a larger war, but a cyclone destroyed the ships and Malietoa LAUPEPA was installed as king. Upon LAUPEPA’s death in 1898, a second civil war over succession broke out. The war ended in 1899 and the Western powers abolished the monarchy, giving the western Samoan islands to Germany and the eastern Samoan islands to the US. The UK abandoned claims in Samoa and received former German territory in the Solomon Islands.

The Mau, a non-violent popular movement to advocate for Samoan independence, formed in 1908. New Zealand annexed Samoa in 1914 after the outbreak of World War I. Opposition to New Zealand’s rule quickly grew. In 1918, a New Zealand ship introduced the Spanish flu, infecting 90% of the population and killing more than 20%. In 1929, New Zealand police shot into a crowd of peaceful protestors, killing 11, in an event known as Black Sunday. In 1962, Samoa became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish its independence as Western Samoa but dropped the “Western” from its name in 1997. The Human Rights Protection Party dominated politics from 1982 until current Prime Minister FIAME Naomi Mata'afa's Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi or FAST party gained a majority in elections in 2021.

In the late 2000s, Samoa began making efforts to align more closely with Australia and New Zealand. In 2009, Samoa changed its driving orientation to the left side of the road, in line with other Commonwealth countries. In 2011, Samoa jumped forward one day - skipping December 30 - by moving to the west side of the International Date Line so that it was one hour ahead of New Zealand and three hours ahead of the east coast of Australia, rather than 23 and 21 hours behind, respectively.

Environment - current issues

soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Population below poverty line

21.9% (2018 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7% NA

highest 10%: 31.3% (2013 est.) NA

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Exports - commodities

coconut oil, insulated wiring, refined petroleum, integrated circuits, sardines, air pumps, tuna, lemons, beer (2021)

Exports - partners

US 20%, New Zealand 16%, American Samoa 11%, Brazil 8%, Australia 7% (2021)

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

Agricultural products

coconuts, taro, bananas, yams, tropical fruit, pineapples, mangoes/guavas, papayas, roots/tubers, pork

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (Ministry of Police, Prisons, and Correction Services) (2024)


revenues: $313 million (2020 est.)

expenditures: $263 million (2020 est.)


name: Apia

geographic coordinates: 13 49 S, 171 46 W

time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: name derives from the native village around which the capital was constructed in the 1850s; the village still exists within the larger modern capital

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, poultry meats, iron, lumber, processed fish, cars (2021)


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


403 km


history: several previous (preindependence); latest 1 January 1962

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 of 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 2020

Exchange rates

tala (SAT) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2.689 (2022 est.)
2.556 (2021 est.)
2.665 (2020 est.)
2.649 (2019 est.)
2.587 (2018 est.)

Executive branch

chief of state: TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi II (since 21 July 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister FIAME Naomi Mata’afa (since 24 May 2021)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the chief of state on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: chief of state indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a 5-year term (2-term limit); election last held on 23 August 2022 (next to be held in 2026); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state, approved by the Legislative Assembly

election results: TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi II (independent) unanimously reelected by the Legislative Assembly

Fiscal year

June 1 - May 31

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


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


food processing, building materials, auto parts

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 chief 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 serve until retirement at age 68

subordinate courts: District Court; Magistrates' Courts; Land and Titles Courts; village fono or village chief councils

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Land use

agricultural land: 12.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 7.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 60.4% (2018 est.)

other: 27.2% (2018 est.)

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

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (53 seats for 2021-2026 term); members from 51 single-seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote, with a minimum 10% representation of women in the Assembly required; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: election last held on 9 April 2021 (next election to be held in 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - HRPP 55%, FAST 37%, TSP 3%, independents 5%; seats by party – 35 FAST, 18 HRPP, 1 independent; composition - men 47, women 7, percent of women 14.9%
note: on 29 November 2021, the Election Commissioner added two women seats to parliament, bringing the HRPP’s total from 20 to 22 seats


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.1%

male: 99%

female: 99.3% (2021)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

International organization participation


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


noun: Samoan(s)

adjective: Samoan

Natural resources

hardwood forests, fish, hydropower

Geography - note

occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

Economic overview

ower middle-income Pacific island economy; enormous fishing and agriculture industries; significant remittances; growing offshore financial hub; recently hosted Pacific Games to drive tourism and infrastructure growth

Political parties and leaders

Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi or FAST [FIAME Naomi Mata'afa]
Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [TUILA'EPA Sailele Malielegaoi]
Tautua Samoa Party or TSP [Afualo Wood Uti SALELE]

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Apia


21 years of age; universal

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Samoa was one of the first Pacific Island countries to establish a regulatory infrastructure and to liberalize its telecom market; the advent of competition in the mobile market saw prices fall by around 50% and network coverage increase to more than 90% of the population; Samoa also boasts one of the highest rates of mobile phone coverage in the Pacific region; the growth of fixed-line internet has been impeded by factors including the high costs for bandwidth, under investment in fixed-line infrastructure; Samoa’s telecoms sector has been inhibited by a lack of international connectivity; Samoa has had access to the Samoa-America-Samoa (SAS) cable laid in 2009, this cable has insufficient capacity to meet the country’s future bandwidth needs; this issue was addressed with two new submarine cables that became available in 2018 and 2019; combined with the Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH), have improved internet data rates and reliability, and have helped to reduce the high costs previously associated with internet access in Samoa; in April 2022, the Samoan government announced its decision to take over control of the Samoa Submarine Cable Company, looking to the cable to generate additional revenue for the state (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 3 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity  32 telephones per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 685; landing points for the Tui-Samo, Manatua, SAS, and Southern Cross NEXT submarine cables providing connectivity to Samoa, Fiji, Wallis & Futuna, Cook Islands, Niue, French Polynesia, American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Kiribati, Los Angeles (US), and Tokelau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2019)


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

Government type

parliamentary republic

Military - note

informal defense ties exist with New Zealand, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship

Samoa has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Somoa's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2023)

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 meaning of Samoa is disputed; some modern explanations are that the "sa" connotes  "sacred" and "moa" indicates "center," so the name can mean "Holy Center"; alternatively, some assertions state that it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology; the name, however, may go back to Proto-Polynesian (PPn) times (before 1000 B.C.); a plausible PPn reconstruction has the first syllable as "sa'a" meaning "tribe or people" and "moa" meaning "deep sea or ocean" to convey the meaning "people of the deep sea"


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

Map references


Irrigated land

0 sq km (2022)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Pa’olelei LUTERU (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 685 Third Avenue, 44th Street, 11th Floor, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196

FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Pago Pago (American Samoa)

Internet country code


GDP (official exchange rate)

$832.945 million (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate


urban population: 17.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.03% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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 (2019)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 98% of population

total: 98.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 2% of population

total: 1.6% of population (2020 est.)

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)

Major urban areas - population

36,000 APIA (capital) (2018)

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Physicians density

0.6 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars); national colors: red, white, blue

Contraceptive prevalence rate

16.6% (2019/20)

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.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.9

youth dependency ratio: 66

elderly dependency ratio: 8.9

potential support ratio: 11.2 (2020 est.)


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

Population distribution

about three-quarters of the population lives on the island of Upolu

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 98.3% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 97.9% (2021)

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 137,770 (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix


Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.5% of population

rural: 99.5% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.5% of population

rural: 0.5% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2020 est.)

Ethnic groups

Samoan 96%, Samoan/New Zealander 2%, other 1.9% (2011 est.)

note: data represent the population by country of citizenship


Protestant 54.9% (Congregationalist 29%, Methodist 12.4%, Assembly of God 6.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 4.4%, other Protestant 2.3%), Roman Catholic 18.8%, Church of Jesus Christ 16.9%, Worship Centre 2.8%, other Christian 3.6%, other 2.9% (includes Baha'i, Muslim), none 0.2% (2016 est.)


Samoan (Polynesian) (official) 91.1%, Samoan/English 6.7%, English (official) 0.5%, other 0.2%, unspecified 1.6% (2006 est.)

Imports - partners

New Zealand 24%, China 19%, Singapore 11%, United States 8%, Australia 7% (2021)

Total renewable water resources

0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

Disputes - international

none identified


highest point: Mount Silisili 1,857 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Current health expenditure

5.3% of GDP (2020)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 27,399 tons (2011 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 9,864 tons (2013 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 36% (2013 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 7.78 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.25 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.27 megatons (2020 est.)

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0.9%

women married by age 18: 7.4%

men married by age 18: 2% (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 72.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 27.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 2,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

1.16 (2023 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

61.7% (2023 est.)


33.61% of GDP (2022 est.)
29.44% of GDP (2021 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Labor force

75,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 19.7% (2021 est.)

male: 16.7%

female: 24.5%

Net migration rate

-7.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Median age

total: 26.9 years (2023 est.)

male: 26.5 years

female: 27.3 years

Debt - external

$447.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

59 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$321.163 million (2022 est.)
$294.682 million (2021 est.)
$277.056 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

Refined petroleum products - imports

2,363 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Public debt

49.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
52.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.37 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Unemployment rate

10.04% (2022 est.)
10.62% (2021 est.)
10.37% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment


207,501 (2023 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Internet users

total: 171,600 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 78% (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

355,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 355,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)


total: 2,831 sq km

land: 2,821 sq km

water: 10 sq km

Taxes and other revenues

25.02% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.147 billion (2022 est.)
$1.211 billion (2021 est.)
$1.303 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars


total: 1,150 km (2018)


3 (2024)

Infant mortality rate

total: 17.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 21.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 14.1 deaths/1,000 live births

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 134,320 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (2022 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

38.7 (2013 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

10.96% (2022 est.)
3.13% (2021 est.)
-1.57% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$78.203 million (2022 est.)
-$114.383 million (2021 est.)
-$75.732 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

Real GDP per capita

$5,200 (2022 est.)
$5,500 (2021 est.)
$6,100 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,692 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 25.3% (2020 est.)

male: 36.1% (2020 est.)

female: 14.5% (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

47.3% (2016)

Energy consumption per capita

27.111 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

Death rate

5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Birth rate

19 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)


installed generating capacity: 50,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 120.13 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 15 million kWh (2019 est.)

Merchant marine

total: 13 (2023)

by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 1, other 9

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

3.4% (2019/20)


$512.002 million (2022 est.)
$430.011 million (2021 est.)
$376.791 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars


$171.278 million (2022 est.)
$97.774 million (2021 est.)
$116.519 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4,567 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2022 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.17 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.5 years (2023 est.)

male: 72.6 years

female: 78.5 years

Real GDP growth rate

-5.31% (2022 est.)
-7.08% (2021 est.)
-3.11% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

Industrial production growth rate

-0.18% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 10.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.6% (2017 est.)

services: 66% (2017 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

0.27% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

4.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.65% (2023 est.)