macrohistory & world report

Independent State of Samoa

Independent Samoa and New Zealand

Samoa, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands

World Factbook as of November 2014: "The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs roughly two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 122,000 tourists visited the islands in 2007. In late 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 in Samoa's Upolu island. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low."

Economic growth rate
2013: 0.1%
2012: 3.1%
2011: 1.3%

2010: Samoa has more jobs than people to fill them.

Export commodities
Fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer

Export partners
2010: American Samoa 45.4%, Australia 30.1%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $11.4 million; imports $318.7 million
2010: exports $35.07 million, imports $280 million

2005: Samoa has three airports with paved runways and one airport with an unpaved runway.


Living in an urban area
2010: 20%

2014: 196,628
2012: 194,320
2000: 179,466

Density estimated in 2005: 60 persons per square kilometer. Density per square kilometer of arable land: 285 persons.

birth / death rates
2014: 21.29 / 5.32

Net migration rate
2014: net lossof 10.12 persons per 1,000 population
2012: net loss of 10.81 persons per 1,000 population
2011: net loss of 11.16 persons per 1,000 population. New Zealand is where Samoans have been going for higher education. There is less rain and some young Samoans believe a better life.

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births
2014: 20.5 deaths/1,000 (ranks 87th) (Low is bad.)

Life expectancy at birth:
2014: 73.21 years

Ethnic groups
2001 census: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood) 7%, Europeans 0.4%

2001 census: Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1%

Many Samoans are devoted Christians. Church is a provider of recreation of social life. The BBC reports that "many Samoan villages hold up to 20 minutes of prayer curfews in the evenings."

English is common.


Nine islands, volcanic in origin, four of them inhabited. West of America Samoa. Half way between Hawaii and New Zealand. Much rain, especially between November and April. Humidity is high and there is little seasonal temperature variation. Equivalent in size to 54 by 54 kilometers or roughly 34 by 34 miles.


Samoa is a constitutional monarchy with a unicameral legislative Assembly (Fono), with representatives elected from traditional village-based districts. Only village chiefs (matai) can stand for election in the districts.  They serve five-years terms. The chiefs have divided into two political parties, the Human Rights Protection Party, HRPP, (30 members) and the Christian Democratic Party, SNDP, (13 members), and six are independent.

Capital: Apia.

Recent History

From 1914 to 1962 Samoa was administered by New Zealand as a "trust territory" mandated by the League of Nations, taken from the Germans during World War I. In 1962, Samoa was the first Polynesian nation to re-establish its independence.

A Personal Note: In visiting Samoa in 1975 I found Samoans hardworking, diligent, as bright as any people and amazingly hospitable.

Until 1997 it changed its name from Western Samoa to The Independent State of Samoa.

The World Factbook

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