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