US Island Growth in Recent Years

By The Census Bureau, Special for  USDR

Among U.S. Island Areas, only the U.S. Virgin Islands had a higher median age than the U.S. mainland at 39.2 years in 2010. A new report, Recent Population Trends for the U.S. Island Areas: 2000 to 2010, examines demographic trends, such as median age, for American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,Guam and the U.S. Virgin  Islands.

American Samoa’s median age of 22.4 years was nearly 17 years younger than the Virgin Islands and about 15 years younger than the U.S. median age of 37.2 years. Additionally, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands also had younger median ages at 29.5 and 33.4 years, respectively. This pattern of median ages among the Island Areas reflects their different migration and fertility rate  histories.

“In 2010, the Island Areas had a population of roughly 375,000, about two-thirds the size of Wyoming, the state with the smallest population,” said Steven Wilson, one of the report’s authors in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “The islands are geographically dispersed, located in the western Pacific, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. The people of the Island Areas are as diverse as the locations of the islands  themselves.”

Guam remains the most populous Island Area with more than 150,000 residents. It was also the only area to gain population from 2000 to 2010, growing by 2.9 percent. Of all the Island Areas, the Northern Mariana Islands’ population declined the most between 2000 and 2010, dropping about 22 percent to 53,883. It reversed a trend of growth during the 1990s when its population increased 60 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, American Samoa’s population declined by 3.1 percent to 55,519, and the U.S. Virgin Islandspopulation declined by 2.0 percent to  106,405.

The U.S. Island Areas show higher population density levels than the U.S. mainland. American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands had 2010 densities of 700 to 800 people per square mile, more than eight times higher than the U.S. density of 87.4 people per square mile and comparable to the density of Connecticut. The Northern Mariana Islands had an overall density of just under 300 people per square  mile.

The statistics for the U.S. Island Areas are available through the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, an online search tool that allows users to access, filter, manipulate and extract  statistics.

More information on U.S. Island Areas is available at

SOURCE U.S. Census  Bureau

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