Category Archive: Tusitala Corner

Jan 23 2017

PRESS RELEASE: American Samoa 2015 HIES

The 2015 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) is the fifth survey of the American Samoa Expenditure Series since the first one in 1982. The HIES collected information on demographic, social and economic characteristics of the resident population, as well as expenditures and family spending patterns drawn from a 20 percent systematic sample of households in American Samoa. The main objectives of the survey are:

  • To provide new expenditure weights and a “market basket of goods and services,” for the revision of the American Samoa Consumer Price Index.
  • To supplement personal consumption expenditure in compilation of National Accounts and Gross Domestic Products.
  • To obtain selective eating habits and nutritional intakes of residents.
  • The tabulation report presents summaries of key findings as well as detailed tables of subject matter crosstabulations useful for planning and policy decisions.

The survey was funded with a technical assistance grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA). OIA funded simultaneous grants to American Samoa, CNMI, and the Virgin Islands for the 2015 HIES surveys as they did for the 1995 and 2005 rounds.

Many individuals and organizations provided assistance for the successful completion of the HIES. I extend my deepest appreciation to the Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs for funding this project. And to Dr. Michael J. Levin for data processing utilizing the CSPro software; Mr. Brian Hannon, a Wasington DC based Price Statistics Consultant who worked on the Consumer Price Index Revision, and all those involved in the field enumeration and processing of the HIES survey. I want to pay special tribute to former Chief Statistician Mr. Etuale Tuileta for leading this work and the Department of Commerce staff for their unwavering support.

Fa’afetai fa’apitoa mo aiga uma o Amerika Samoa na filifilia mo lenei galuega. O lo outou sao ua mafai ai ona tu’ufa’atasi ni fa’amaumauga taua mo le fuafuaina o atina’e ma le tamaoaiga, aua se manuia o Amerika Samoa ma ona tagata.


Director Keniseli F. Lafaele


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Sep 19 2016

Family Fun Beach Day – 2016 Coastweeks

2016 Coastweeks Family Fun Beach Day

To close out this year’s 2016 Coastweeks Celebration and kick-off a fun year full of hard work and coastal stewardship for 2017, we are inviting everyone to our Family Fun Beach Day on Saturday, September 24th at the Su’igaula Beach Park in Utulei from 11am to 5pm! Registration is free for all! There will be food available by some of our local food vendors, farmers, and fishermen, final paddle challenge races, games for all ages, an opportunity to ride in a fautasi, live entertainment by various ethnic groups, and so much more!

Join us as we continue to work together as a community to promote a healthy coast by taking care of our island’s natural resources now and for future generations! 

For more information, please contact Tuna at 254-6117 or Reinette at 254-2594.

Download Flyer Here

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Aug 29 2016

Biggest Loser Challenge – 2016 Coastweeks

During Coastweeks, the Department of Commerce likes to incorporate a health challenge that helps to encourage a fit, active, and healthy lifestyle which contributes to a healthy coast. The health of our environment relies greatly on the physical health of it’s people. Join this year’s Biggest Loser Challenge to Lose Weight, Be Fit, and Help Keep American Samoa Clean!’ 

Download Flyer Here



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Aug 26 2016

Paddle Challenge – 2016 Coastweeks

It’s that time again! 2016 Coastweeks presents Paddle Challenge!

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with South Pacific Watersports (SPW) and are offering fun and exciting water sports activities to celebrate our annual 2016 Coastweeks celebration during September 12 – 24, 2016

Download Flyer Here!

For more information about 2016 Coastweeks, please contact Reinette at 254-2594 or 633-5155.


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Aug 12 2016

BEA Press Release: GDP Update

The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce has released estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) 2015 for American Samoa. 

Download Full Report here: BEA GDP Report

For more information about the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), visit their website




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Aug 12 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Population Est. Update

The Department of Commerce Statistics Division has released an official estimate of American Samoa’s population as of July 1, 2016. Results have shown that current population estimate is at 60,200, with 29,597 males and 30,603 females.

To read more, click here to download press release: Population Estimate Report

Other official reports can be found on the DOC website under the Research & Statistics tab, under the category of Reports.

For questions, please contact Chief Statistician Meleisea Vai Filiga at (684) 633-5155 ext. 256 or

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Jun 17 2016

PRESS RELEASE – 2014 Statistical Yearbook Released

The American Samoa Statistical Yearbook for 2014 is now available.

Statistical Yearbook Highlights:


The U.S. Bureau of Census released a 2010 American Samoa population count of 55,519: a decline of 1,700 persons or -3%.  The annual rate of growth of the local population is -0.3 percent.  The U.S. Bureau of Census counted less people in 2010 than in 2000.  The mid-year Population Estimate for 2014 was 61,811.  Median age is 22.4 years and the gender ratio was 103 males for every 100 females.

Vital Statistics

Total births in 2014 equaled 1,048 while deaths counted at 259 resulting in a natural growth of the resident population at 825.  According to LBJ Medical records, only 1 infant death occurred in 2014 (the lowest in all years).  Leading causes of death were Heart Diseases, Malignant Neoplasms (Cancer), Septicemia, Cerebrovascular Diseases and Influenza/Pneumonia.  This is the first time Influenza/Pneumonia appeared as the fifth leading cause of death in recent history.  Life expectancy for the male gender is 71.1 years while the female gender is 77.8 years.


There were 110 educational institutions including the ASCC, while school enrollment registered at 17,337.  School teacher vacancies increased in 2014 for public schools, notable was the special education vacancies had the highest rate in the number of teachers.

Law Enforcement

Offenses reported by DPS dropped by 2.9 percent.  Larceny is the number one offense in Part I while both Larceny and Forcible Rape increased in 2014.  Arson, assault and burglary had declined.  The involvement of alcohol consumption in offenses reported by DPS can be identified with given statistics but the number of DUIs is on the rise again in 2014.

Travel Statistics

65,059 arrived in 2014 versus 67,122 departed; a net loss of 2,063 persons.  Most incoming travelers were returning residents while visitors accounted for 42 percent.  The United States continued to be the primary tourism market holding 51 percent of the market.  New Zealand followed with 34 percent and Australia with 11 percent.

Employment and Income

The American Samoa Government collected $279.9 million in revenues and grants.  The American Samoa Government spent $286.4 million that produced an annual deficit of $6.5 million in FY-2014.  Federal grants accounted for 68.5 percent of all government revenues while 30.7 percent came from local taxes.  The Tobacco Settlement made up the remaining balance.  Of the total expenditure, 30.0 percent were spent on Education and Culture followed by General Government with 19.3 percent and Health and Recreation with 19.2 percent.

Total employment in 2014 amounted to 17,565 with 37.3 percent working for the American Samoa Government and its authorities, 14.2 percent worked for the canneries, and 48.4 percent worked in the rest of the private sector.  By definition of those who are actively looking for work, the unemployment rate determined from the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Census is 9.2 percent.  However, there are a substantial number of individuals not working and not actively looking for work that was not captured in the unemployment category by the U.S. Bureau of Census.  Presumably, the unemployment data is much higher.

Median household income in 2010 for American Samoa was $23,892, while per capita income was $6,311.  Compared to the 2010 U.S. median household income of $51,144, the American Samoa median household income is about 46.7 percent of the U.S. median.  About 54.4 percent of families were below poverty and 57.8 percent categorized as individuals.


Cost of goods and services normally purchased by the community remained stable throughout 2014, with an average inflation of 0.7 percent.

Recent Gross Domestic Product estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis valued the local economy at $645 million at current prices.  The 2014 GDP at constant prices (i.e. price changes removed) amounted to $643 million compared to $633 million in 2013: a real growth in the local economy of 1.6 percent.

For more information, contact the DOC Research and Statistics Division or the government agency cited in source references.

View Official Press Release Here:

Click Icon to Download 2014 Statistical Yearbook













For questions, please contact Chief Statistician Meleisea Vai Filiga at (684) 633-5155 ext. 256 or


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Apr 21 2016

PRESS RELEASE: 2016 Consumer Price Index Update

The Department of Commerce Statistics Division has released updated Consumer Price Index (CPI) reports for 1st Quarter 2016.

The official CPI Quarterly Reports can be found on the DOC website under the Research & Statistics tab, under the category of Reports.

For questions, please contact Chief Statistician Meleisea Vai Filiga at (684) 633-5155 ext. 256 or

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Apr 08 2016

PRESS RELEASE: 2015 HIES (Preliminary)

The Department of Commerce is releasing preliminary population and housing results of the 2015 Household Income and Expenditures Survey. The survey was collected in April and May last year, and involved several dozen enumerators and other workers and almost 2,000 selected sample households. The survey collected information on population and housing, but also on expenditures including durable goods bought, travel, health, transportation, and costs of community activities. The respondents in the selected units also filled out a daily diary for a week, recording everything they spent, including general grocery shopping as well as money spent in fast food outlets and other restaurants.

The results of the last survey in 2005 were used to develop a new “market basket” of selected goods based on buying patterns at that time. By following the items in the market basket, American Samoa is able to monitor its inflation – both total inflation and parts, like food, clothing, fuel, and so forth. But it is now 10 years later and much has changed in the territory. The results of the current survey will be used to develop a new market basket. We will then have better information to assist in measuring inflation.

Surveys only cover a sample of housing units in the Territory. This survey covered just under 20 percent of American Samoa’s housing units, so about 1 in every 5 units. In order to get an idea about the total population and housing, we have to multiply the numbers by a weight that allows us to understand the characteristics of the villages, counties, and districts. The results are preliminary and so may change when the final processing is done.

The survey, when weighted, showed 11,034 housing units and 57,436 persons, or about 5.2 persons per unit. As in the 2010 Census, the Western District was largest, with 6,063 units and 31,920 people, followed by Eastern District with 4,671 units and 24,233 people, and Manu’a with 300 units and 1,283 people. Manu’a had a smaller number of persons per household at 4.3.

Tualauta was the largest county in 2015, with almost 4,000 housing units and almost 20,000 people. The next largest county in population was Maoputasi, which only had slightly more than half as many as Tualauta. Lealataua had about 7,000 people and Ituau had less than 6,000 but none of the other counties had as many as 4,000 people. The 5 counties of Manu’a were lumped together because their total population is relatively small.

Sa’aloe and Vaifanua counties had the most people per household at 5.7 (that is, each house had about 6 people on average.) Lealataua had 5.6 people per house, and the other counties had fewer people per house. Houses on Manu’a were least crowded, at 4.3 people per house.


Table 1. Housing and Population by County: 2015

Source: American Samoa 2015 HIES

The estimated population of American Samoa was 57,436, based on the preliminary results of the survey. The population included about 28,238 males and 29,198 females, so a sex ratio of 96.7 or about 97 males for every 100 females. The median age of the population was 25.3 years (23.7 for males and 26.9 for females), which is much lower than for the United States (36.8 years).

The survey collected information on American Samoa’s religions. The largest religion was CCAS with 19,147 adherents, followed by Catholics (10,410), and LDS (Mormons) with 9,091. As expected, Samoans are almost the only ethnic group – 53,490 (93 percent). The others included 1,607 Tongans. Of those people 5 years and over, about 5.5 percent spoke English at home, but, again, fully 89 percent of the population spoke Samoan at home.

The majority of American Samoa’s population was born here – 36,952 or almost 2/3rds. About 14,000 were reported as born in Samoa, about 900 in Tonga, and about 1,000 in the Philippines. While American Samoa has fewer people born in Samoa than previously, almost half of all mothers of people living in American Samoa were born in Samoa, and more than half of the fathers of the territory’s people were born in Samoa. So, the ties between the two Samoas continue.

In the short term, most American Samoans stayed in their houses – 86 percent lived in the same house in 2015 as they did in 2010, while 6 percent lived in a different house in American Samoa, and about 8 percent lived outside the territory in 2010 but inside in 2015.

In April, 2015, American Samoa had 19,417 students at various levels of education, from preprimary through college. Of these, 17,432 were attending public school, and 1,985 were attending private schools. Almost 87 percent of the people 25 years and over were High School Graduates and 10 percent had Bachelor’s Degrees or more education. About 4 percent of all adults ever served in the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves, a comparatively high proportion of the population.

About 42 percent (16,557) of all adults were working at a paid job in 2015. The largest industries in the territory were Manufacturing (at 18.1 percent), Public Administration (17.8 percent), Education (17.0 percent), Retail Trade (8.0 percent), Health and Social Services (7.0) and Construction (6.1). Similarly, the largest occupations were Production (15.8 percent), Office and Administrative Support (13.2 percent), and Education (11.2 percent). About half the workers were in the private sector compared to about 45 percent who worked for the American Samoa Government.

As noted, American Samoa had about 11,034 housing units in 2015. Of the types of tenure, houses owned free and clear were 74.7 percent, so about 3 in every 4 units. The others were owned with a mortgage (10.2 percent), rented for cash rent (11.1 percent), and occupied without payment of cash rent (4.0 percent). Many families in single family units had a business on their property – 7.2 percent of all units. Houses continue to get larger, with the median number of rooms increasing to 5.4 with an average of 3.4 bedrooms. Metal roofs continue to predominate (at about 4 in every 5 units), with smaller numbers having poured concrete or wood. Only about 1 in every 4 housing units had access to hot and cold water. But more and more American Samoa families are able to afford appliances. In 2015, these included a Stove (81.2 percent of all housing units), Microwave (58.3 percent), Refrigerator (92.2 percent), Freezer (45.2 percent), Air conditioner (40.1 percent), Television (86.3 percent), and Computer (33.5 percent). However, only about 3 in every 5 units had a vehicle at home.

The 2015 Household Income and Expenditures Survey also collected information on types of income and on regular, annual, and daily expenditures. American Samoa median household income is $22,000 compared to the US median of $52,000. The Department of Commerce will continue to analyze these data and will make further releases as the data become available. The distribution of expenditures will be used to determine a new market basket for American Samoa so that the total inflation and its parts can be analyzed over time. These data are used in both the public and private sectors for planning and policy formation, including determining raises and bonuses.

The Department of Commerce thanks the many people and agencies who made this survey possible. First was funding from the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior. But many residents in American Samoa assisted as enumerators and supervisors. And, finally, we want to thank the respondents in the selected households who gave their time and attention to both the regular questionnaire, but especially to the weekly diaries which assist in describing what we eat and how we live. Thank you.


Director Keniseli F. Lafaele


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Jun 11 2015





Breadfruit may be the window to worldwide trade. Intensive research has been done by an elite group of food scientists around the globe. Dr. Alvin Huang has found that Breadfruit (‘ulu) is an extremely valuable resource in a market where there is a high growing demand for gluten-free products.

All are welcome to attend and learn what research has been done and the opportunities that American Samoan farmers are encouraged to take advantage immediately.

Papali’i Dr. Tusi Avegalio, Director of the Pacific Business Center Program and Manager of the Pacific Regional Breadfruit Initiative, will present new research findings and potential market opportunities, along with a cohort of scientists and commercial agriculture experts at 9:00am on Monday, June 15 at the Department of Commerce Conference Room.


To request more information, please contact Line Kruse at 633-5155 or by email at


Learn more about the visiting experts below…


Capture 1

 The Experts


Dr. Alvin Huang

PI Institute of Tropical Food Research & Development

College of Tropical Agriculture, University of Hawaii, Manoa campus

Professor Alvin Huang is a Professor at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. Dr. Huang is also the Principal Investigator for the Institute of Tropical Food Research and Development. His academic research is in the area of food chemistry, food product development, food processing and food service management. He is the lead inventor in four US patents on taro processing, taro-based food products and has extensive and published research on taro and breadfruit. Dr. Huang is also a certified servsafe course instructor by the national Restaurant Association (NRA). Professor Huang is leading the research on gluten free ulu to help establish uniform standards for ulu processing from ground to table.


Fata Avegalio

Robinson Fresh/CH Robinson, Bulk Grower Manager

Fata has been with FoodSource for 11 years. He is the Bulk Grower Manager for Robinson Fresh a subsidiary of CH Robinson (a 12+ Billion dollar a year in total annual revenues), and leads a business line that generated over $26.7 million in gross sales and moved over 2 million cases of produce for Food Source in 2014. Fata is a recognized leader, working with growers to develop successful growing operations within a wide range of commodities. Fata has extensive knowledge in developing programs that support Robinson Fresh/CHRobinson retail, restaurant and value added customers. Fata brings a unique perspective on bringing products to the marketplace because of his knowledge of planting, harvesting and post-harvest methods. Fata is a graduate of Leone High School in American Samoa and the University of Arizona, Tucson.


Matthew E. Little

Private Sector Representative

Matthew has extensive experience from the university agricultural research labs to produce production from ground to table, including supply chain logistics. From 1987-2003 Matt owned Rio Verde Produce, Custom Harvester Fruits and Vegetables, with over 30 different commodities and employed a staff of 2,500. In 2005-2007 he was a partner with Kohala Mountain Farms, Kahua Ranch Kamuela, and HI Spring Mix/Spinach located on the Big Island of Hawaii. He is currently the Owner of Rancho Purisima Farms, LLC, Grower of Organic and Conventional Vegetable Crops, Grower Organic Vegetables and Flower Seed Crops, Harvester Romaine Hearts, and Agricultural Consultant. Matt has extensive work experience as a produce buyer, field manager and supervisor covering all aspects of commercial agriculture, financing, administration and manpower. Matt is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduating as Cum Laude.


Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio

Director, Pacific Business Center Program Pacific

Regional Breadfruit Initiative Project Manager

Shidler College of Business Administration, University of Hawaii, Manoa campus

Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio is currently the Director of the Pacific Business Center Program and Executive Director of the Honolulu Minority Business Enterprise Center, both National Award Winning programs, located at the Shidler College of Business Administration, University of Hawaii-Manoa campus. Dr. Tusi is the first professor of business to the UH College of Business Administration from Oceania. He has the unique distinction of being able to balance his academic knowledge with the traditional wisdom of his ancestors. He is a recognized business and economic development expert on organizational development, systems and theory as it applies particularly to indigenous populations. He straddles multiple worlds with ease, respect and elegance.


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