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POPULATION

About 64,000 people live in American Samoa, 89% of them Samoan (Polynesian) 2% Caucasian, 4% Tongan and another 5% from other nations.

While there is a strong American influence in the islands, American Samoans still retain close ties with their traditional family heirarchy. The extended family groups, known as aiga, are the central social unit. Each aiga is led by a matai, who is selected for life and directs the economic, social and political affairs of the aiga, including mediating disputes and banishing recalcitrants.

Daily life is structured by the aiga protocols that are a unique heritage of traditional Samoan values and Christianity. These protocols establish rules of behaviour and discipline in the villages and underlie the warm welcome that awaits visitors.


LANGUAGE & EDUCATION

Samoan and English are widely spoken.

Education is valued and school attendance is high, with a subsequently high literacy rate of 97%.


RELIGION

Sunday is largely reserved as a day of worship in this fervently Christian country. While half the population are Christian Congregationalists, 20% are Roman Catholics and the remaining 30% other denominations including Anglicans, Apostolic, Assemblies of God, Baha'is, Baptists, Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestants, Peace Chapel, Seventh Day Adventists and Nazarenes.




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