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Country Facts About American Samoa for Kids

Updated on March 28, 2013

Introduction to American Samoa

American Samoa is an island located in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Samoan chain of islands. Territory of American Samoa is a territory of the United States. The president of the United States is the head of state but American Samoans can’t actually vote in US presidential elections. They can elect a governor and other representatives. The capital city is Pago Pago.

American Samoans live in extended family groups, known as aiga. Each aiga is led by a chief called a matai. Most matai are men. Matais make up village councils called fono. The fono are part of the country’s political system.

Demography

American Samoa has a population of about 67 thousand people. The people are called American Samoan. The largest ethnic group is Pacific Islander (Polynesian). Polynesia is an area that covers a large part of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is also part of Polynesia. A small number of American Samoans are Asian or white. Most of the population practice the Christian religion.

The population of American Samoa is mostly urban. The islands are mountainous, so most people live in coastal areas. About 60 thousand of the country’s 67 thousand people live in the capital city Pago Pago. Pago Pago is on Tutuila, the largest island in American Samoa. Most American Samoans are literate, which means they can read and write.

Map of American Samoa
Map of American Samoa

Climate

American Samoa is located in the tropics. The tropics are located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This is a wide band that runs along the equator. Places in the tropics have what is called a tropical climate. Tropical areas have warm, humid weather all year long. They also receive a lot of rainfall. The cyclone (hurricane) season in American Samoa is from November to April.

Topography

American Samoa is an archipelago (group of islands). There are several islands. The largest island is Tutuila.

Five of American Samoa’s islands are volcanic islands. Pago Pago harbor is actually a large collapsed caldera. A caldera is a large crater left behind when a volcano collapses.

Rose Island is an uninhabited island. Uninhabited means no people live there. It's an atoll preserved for wildlife. An atoll is made of coral, which is a type of marine animal.

The interior or center of the islands is very mountainous. Most of the islands are covered by forests. The majority of people live in coastal areas.

In 2009, a huge 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck near American Samoa, causing four tsunamis to hit the island
In 2009, a huge 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck near American Samoa, causing four tsunamis to hit the island

Economy

About 35 percent of American Samoans (1 out of 3 workers) work in manufacturing. This is mainly in tuna fish processing and canning. About 1 out of 5 works in education, health, and other social services (jobs that involve helping people).

Agricultural products include bananas, coconuts, breadfruit, taro, yams, pineapples and papayas. Farmers also keep livestock and produce dairy products.

Canned tuna is the largest export. American Samoa imports equipment for factories, food and oil.

The US dollar is the currency.

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