2020 Population of U.S. Island Areas Just Under 339,000
WASHINGTON, October 28, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The combined population of the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the U.S. Virgin Islands was just under 339,000, according to the first results of the 2020 Island Areas Censuses released today.
The four Island Areas are located in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
In addition to conducting a count of people and housing units for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Island Areas Censuses to produce population and housing counts for each of the four Island Areas.
Other surveys such as the American Community Survey (ACS) are not conducted in these territories. Therefore, the Census Bureau used a long-form questionnaire to meet the Island Areas’ data needs for demographic, social, economic, and housing unit information.
This long-form questionnaire was similar to the ACS questionnaire used in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The four Island Areas each have different types of geographies. For example, there are villages in American Samoa and estates in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics — critical in understanding the ongoing changes and trends occurring in each Island Area — will be released in the future.
The sections below provide data highlights from the 2020 Island Areas Censuses population and housing counts for each of the four Island Areas.
Located in the south-central Pacific, American Samoa had the second smallest population of the four Island Areas at 49,710 people, a decrease of over 10% since 2010. Only the Western District of Tutuila Island saw its population increase since 2010.
Despite the declining population, the number of housing units in American Samoa increased by 7.7%, or 844 units. This was driven by an increase of over 1,300 units in the Western District.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Located in the western Pacific, CNMI had the smallest population of the four U.S. Island Areas at 47,329 people, a decrease of over 12% since 2010.
While the sparsely populated Northern Islands showed an increase in population, all three main islands of Rota, Saipan and Tinian lost population since 2010.
The number of housing units in CNMI also decreased by over 12%, a loss of 2,560 units. This was driven by a decrease of over 2,100 units in the Saipan Municipality.
Located in the western Pacific and southern part of the Marianas Archipelago, Guam had the largest population of the four U.S. Island Areas at 153,836 people.
The population of Guam decreased by 3.5% since 2010, which was the smallest decrease of any of the Island Areas. The population of Dededo, Guam’s most populated municipality with just under 45,000 people, had a slight population decrease of 0.1%.
The number of housing units in Guam increased, however, by 2.0%, or 988 units. Dededo had the largest increase in the number of housing units (6.4% or 822 units) of any of the municipalities, while Talofofo municipality had the largest percent increase (9.8% or 88 units) in housing units.
In addition to the municipality data listed here, the Census Bureau released census designated place level population and housing counts.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Located in the Caribbean, USVI had the second largest population of the four U.S. Island Areas at 87,146 people, a decrease of over 18% since 2010.
While all the major islands, St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas, in USVI experienced population decreases between 2010 and 2020, St. John had the smallest population decline (289 people).
The only other island with a sizeable population is Water Island. The Water Island subdistrict of the St. Thomas Island district, which contains Water and Hassel Islands, decreased by 18 people to a population of 164.
However, the overall number of housing units in USVI increased by 2.4%, or 1,356 units.
All three major islands had increases in housing units, but all three towns in USVI, Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted and Frederiksted, had decreases.
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