Samoa was the first country in the region to become independent. The country has strong historical and cultural traditions that characterize society and politics.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Apia
- Ethnic groups: Samoan 96%, Samoan/New Zealand 2%, other 1.9% (2011)
- Language: Samoan (Polynesian) (official) 91.1%, Samoan/English 6.7%, English (official) 0.5%, other 0.2%, unspecified 1.6% (2016)
- Religion: Protestants 52.6%, Catholics 18.8%, Mormon 16.9%, Free Church 2.8%, other Christians 8.7%, other 2.4% (including Bahai and Muslims), none 0.2% (2016)
- Population: 197 695 (2018)
- Control Form: Uniform parliamentary republic
- Area: 2 840 km2
- Currency: Tala, also called the Samoan dollar
- GNP per capita: 6 378 PPP $
- National Day: June 1st
In the 2001 census, 176,000 citizens (92,050 men, 84,660 women) were registered as permanent residents of the archipelago. Estimated population of Samoa in 2013 is 190 400 (World Bank) Annual population growth is estimated at 0.8%. Birth rates are relatively high (26.8 ‰ in 2013, but large emigration keeps net growth down. More than 120,000 Samoans live overseas, most in New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa and the United States.) at birth 76.2 years for women and 69.9 years for men (2013).
The majority of the population (90%) are Polynesians. A small proportion are of European-Polynesian origin; by the way, there are smaller groups of Chinese and Europeans.
Close to 3/4 of the population live on Upolu and islets Manono and Apolima. Due to the large areas under the solidified lava, the largest island, Savaii, is less habitable and in 1990 had 44 900 residents. Tuasivi is the largest village here. The country’s capital and only major city is Apia on Upolu (39,700 bb, 2001). Fanuatapu, Nuutele, Nuula and Nuusafee are uninhabited.
Almost the entire population of the archipelago professes Christianity. About 37% are members of the Congregationalist church, which is the largest among the Protestant communities in Samoa. About 17% are members of the Catholic Church.
The traditional religion of Samoa was pantheistic, and emphasized mana and various taboo conceptions. British Congregationalists began missionary activities in the islands in the early 1800s.
English and Samoan are official languages. Samoan belongs to the Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian language family.