Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Independent State of Samoa – formerly Western Samoa
  • Gained independence from New Zealand on January 1, 1962
  • Location: Oceania, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand
  • Area: 1,093 sq. miles, slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island
  • Population: 197,773
  • Capital: Apia (pop. 37,000)
  • Terrain: two main islands (Savalii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
  • Nationality: Samoans
  • Ethnic groups: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians  7%, Europeans 0.4%
  • Official language: Samoan (Polynesian)
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Literacy: 99%
  • Economy: The economy is traditionally dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. Agriculture employs 2/3 of the work force and furnishes 90% of exports – coconut cream, coconut oil and copra.  Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • A parliamentary democracy
  • Chief of state: Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 2007)  – elected by the legislative assembly
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Tuila’epa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998) yh – usually the leader of the majority party appointed by the chief of state
  • The legislative assembly is elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts.


Healthcare Statistics

  • Maternal mortality rate: 51/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 19.57/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 73.46 years
  • Health expenditures: 7.5% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 0.45 physicians/1,000 populaton
  • Hospital bed density: 1 bed/1,000 population
  • Obesity rate: 41.6%
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

Translators in the Field: Providing aid in many countries will require translators. Often your group is fortunate to have one or several individuals who speak the native dialect. This is a definite plus. A couple points to be aware of with the use of translators: You may notice, as I often have, when using translators […]


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