Pacific Islands Americans
Oceanian Americans
Total population
540,013 alone
0.2% of the total U.S. population (2010 Census)[1]
1,225,195 alone or in combination
0.4% of the total U.S. population (2010 Census)
Regions with significant populations
 Guam,  American Samoa,  Northern Mariana Islands,  California,  Hawaii,  Washington,  Oregon,  Nevada,  Alaska,  Texas

American English, Polynesian languages, Micronesian languages


Christianity, Polytheism, Bahá'í, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism

Related ethnic groups

Pacific Islanders, Austronesians

Pacific Islands Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans, or Native Hawaiian and/or other Pacific Islander Americans, are Americans who have ethnic ancestry among the indigenous peoples of Oceania (viz. Polynesians, Melanesians and Micronesians). For its purposes, the U.S. Census also counts Indigenous Australians as part of this group.[2][3]

Pacific Islander Americans make up 0.5% of the U.S. population including those with partial Pacific Islander ancestry, enumerating about 1.4 million people. The largest ethnic subgroups of Pacific Islander Americans are Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Chamorros, Fijians, Marshallese and Tongans. Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and Chamorros have large communities in Hawaii, California, and Utah, with sizable communities in Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Alaska. Fijians are predominantly based in California.

American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam are insular areas (U.S. territories), while Hawaii is a state.


In the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census, the term "Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, the Marshalls or other Pacific Islands.

In the 2010 census 1,225,195 Americans claimed "'Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander'" as their race alone or in combination.

Pacific Islands Americans in the 2000[4]2010 U.S. Census[5] (From over 1,000 people)[]

Ancestry 2000 2000 % of Pacific Islands American population 2010 2010 % of Pacific Islands American population
Flag of Hawaii.svg Native Hawaiians 401,162 45.9% 527,077 43.0%
Flag of American Samoa.svg Flag of Samoa.svg Samoan 133,281 15.2% 184,440 15.1%
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg Flag of Guam.svg Chamorro 93,237 (Guamanian or Chamorro: 92,611; Saipanese: 475; Mariana Islander: 141) 10.7% 148,220 (Guamanian or Chamorro: 147,798; Saipanese: 1,031; Mariana Islander: 391) 12.2%
Flag of Tonga.svg Tongan 36,840 4.2% 57,183 4.7%
Flag of Fiji.svg Fijian 13,581 1.6% 32,304 2.6%
Flag of the Marshall Islands.svg Marshallese 6,650 0.8% 22,434 1.8%
Flag of Palau.svg Palauan 3,469 0.4% 7,450 0.6%
Flag of French Polynesia.svg French Polynesian 3,313 0.4% 5,062 0.4%
Flag of New Zealand.svg Polynesians with New Zealand citizenship (Māori, Tokelauans, Niueans, Cook Islanders) 2,422 (Māori: 1,994; Tokelauans: 574) 0.3% 925 (Tokelauans only) 0.1%
Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia.svg Micronesian (FSM) 1,948 0.2% 8,185 0.7%
"Micronesian" (not specified) 9,940 1.1% 29,112 2.4%
"Polynesian" (not specified) 8,796 1.0% 9,153 0.7%
Others 188,389 % 241,952 %
TOTAL 874,414 100.0% 1,225,195 100.0%


State/territory Pacific Islands Americans alone (2010 US Census)[6] Percentage[note 1]
 Alabama 5,208 0.1%
 Alaska 7,662 1.0%
 Arizona 16,112 0.2%
 Arkansas 6,685 0.2%
 California 181,431 0.8%
 Colorado 8,420 0.1%
 Connecticut 3,491 0.0%
 Delaware 690 0.0%
 District of Columbia 770 -
 Florida 18,790 -
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 10,454 0.1%
 Hawaii 138,292 10.0%
 Idaho 2,786 0.1%
 Illinois 7,436 -
 Indiana 3,532 0.1%
 Iowa 2,419 0.1%
 Kansas 2,864 0.1%
 Kentucky 3,199 0.1%
 Louisiana 2,588 -
 Maine 377 -
 Maryland 5,391 -
 Massachusetts 5,971 -
 Michigan 3,442 <0.1%
 Minnesota 2,958 0.0%
 Mississippi 1,700 -
 Missouri 7,178 0.1%
 Montana 734 0.1%
 Nebraska 2,061 0.1%
 Nevada 19,307 0.6%
 New Hampshire 532 -
 New Jersey 7,731 -
 New Mexico 3,132 0.1%
 New York 24,000 0.1%
 North Carolina 10,309 0.1%
 North Dakota 334 0.1%
 Ohio 5,336 0.03%
 Oklahoma 5,354 0.1%
 Oregon 14,649 0.4%
 Pennsylvania 7,115 -
 Rhode Island 1,602 0.1%
 South Carolina 3,957 0.1%
 South Dakota 517 0.1%
 Tennessee 5,426 0.1%
 Texas 31,242 0.1%
 Utah 26,049 1.3%
 Vermont 175 -
 Virginia 8,201 0.1%
 Washington 43,505 0.6%
 West Virginia 485 -
 Wisconsin 2,505 -
 Wyoming 521 0.1%
 American Samoa 51,403[7] 91%
 Guam 78,582 [8] 49%
 Northern Mariana Islands 18,800 [9] 34.9%
USA 674,625 0.2%
State/territory Pacific Islands Americans alone or in combination (2010 US Census)[10]
 Alabama 7,984
 Alaska 11,360
 Arizona 28,431
 Arkansas 8,597
 California 320,036
 Colorado 16,823
 Connecticut 6,864
 Delaware 1,423
 District of Columbia 1,514
 Florida 43,416
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 18,587
 Hawaii 358,951
 Idaho 5,508
 Illinois 15,873
 Indiana 7,392
 Iowa 4,173
 Kansas 5,445
 Kentucky 5,698
 Louisiana 5,333
 Maine 1,008
 Maryland 11,553
 Massachusetts 12,369
 Michigan 10,010
 Minnesota 6,819
 Mississippi 3,228
 Missouri 12,136
 Montana 1,794
 Nebraska 3,551
 Nevada 35,435
 New Hampshire 1,236
 New Jersey 15,777
 New Mexico 5,750
 New York 45,801
 North Carolina 17,891
 North Dakota 801
 Ohio 11,380
 Oklahoma 9,052
 Oregon 26,936
 Pennsylvania 14,662
 Rhode Island 2,803
 South Carolina 6,988
 South Dakota 1,040
 Tennessee 9,359
 Texas 54,801
 Utah 37,994
 Vermont 476
 Virginia 17,233
 Washington 73,213
 West Virginia 1,295
 Wisconsin 5,558
 Wyoming 1,137
 American Samoa 52,790[11]
 Guam 90,238 [12]
 Northern Mariana Islands 24,891 [13]
USA 1,332,494

Micronesian Americans[]

Micronesian Americans are Americans of Micronesian descent.

The largest Micronesian American subgroups are Marshallese and Chamoru Americans. Other significant groups include Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Chuuk, and Palauan.

Chamorro Americans, or the Chamoru, are the indigenous inhabitants of the Marianas, which are politically divided between Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Chamoru have been subject to the jurisdiction of the United States since the U.S. captured Guam during the Spanish–American War in 1898. The rest of the archipelago did not become affiliated with the U.S. until it invaded the Japanese-occupied islands in 1944. In the 2010 census, 147,798 identified as "Guamanian or Chamorro". Because of economic conditions in the Marianas, particularly from the 1990s onward, many emigrated to the States in search of work and better opportunities. There are now more Chamorros in the 50 states than there are in the Marianas.

According to the 2010 census, the largest Chamoru populations were located in California, Washington and Texas, but their combined number from these three states totaled less than half the number living throughout the U.S. It also revealed that the Chamoru people are the most geographically dispersed Oceanic ethnicity in the country.[14]

Marshallese Americans or Marshallese come from the Marshall Islands. In the 2010 census 22,434 Americans identified as being of Marshallese descent.

Because of the Marshall Islands entering the Compact of Free Association in 1986, Marshallese have been allowed to migrate and work in the United States. There are many reasons why Marshallese came to the United States. Some Marshallese came for educational opportunities, particularly for their children. Others sought work or better health care than what’s available in the islands. Massive layoffs by the Marshallese government in 2000 led to a second big wave of immigration.

Arkansas has the largest Marshallese population with over 6,000 residents. Many live in Springdale, and the Marshallese comprise over 5% of the city's population. Other significant Marshallese populations include Spokane and Costa Mesa.

Polynesian Americans[]

Polynesian Americans are Americans of Polynesian descent.

Large subcategories of Polynesian Americans include Native Hawaiians and Samoan Americans. In addition there are smaller communities of Tongan Americans (see Culture and diaspora of Tonga), French Polynesian Americans, and Māori Americans.

A Samoan American is an American who is of ethnic Samoan descent either from the independent nation Samoa or the American territory of American Samoa. Samoan American is a subcategory of Polynesian American. About 65,000 people live on American Samoa, while the US census in 2000 and 2008 has found 4 times the number of Samoan Americans live in the mainland USA.

California has the most Samoans; concentrations live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles County, and San Diego County. San Francisco has approximately 2,000 people of Samoan ancestry, and other Bay Area cities such as East Palo Alto and Daly City have Samoan communities. In Los Angeles County, Long Beach and Carson have abundant Samoan communities, as well as in Oceanside in San Diego County.[15][16][17] Other West Coast metropolitan areas such as Seattle have strong Samoan communities, mainly in King County and in Tacoma. Anchorage, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii both have thousands of Samoan Americans residing in each city.

Since the end of World War II, persons born in American Samoa are United States nationals, but not United States citizens. (This is the only circumstance under which an individual would be one and not the other.) For this reason, Samoans can move to Hawaii or the mainland United States and obtain citizenship comparatively easily. Like Hawaiian Americans, the Samoans arrived in the mainland in the 20th century as agricultural laborers and factory workers.

Elsewhere in the United States, Samoan Americans are plentiful throughout the state of Utah, as well as in Killeen, Texas, Norfolk, Virginia and Independence, Missouri.

A Tongan American is an American who is of ethnic Tongan descent. Utah has the largest Tongan American population and Hawaii has the second largest. Many of the first Tongan Americans came to the United States in connection to the LDS Church.


Based on 2003 recruiting data, Pacific Islander Americans were 249% over-represented in the military.[18]

American Samoans are distinguished among the wider Pacific Islander group for enthusiasm for enlistment. In 2007, a Chicago Tribune reporter covering the island's military service noted, "American Samoa is one of the few places in the nation where military recruiters not only meet their enlistment quotas but soundly exceed them."[19] As of 23 March 2009 (2009-03-23) there have been 10 American Samoans who have died in Iraq, and 2 who have died in Afghanistan.[20]

Pacific Islander Americans are also represented in the Navy SEALS, making up .6% of the enlisted and .1% of the officers.[21]

See also[]

  • Pacific Island Migration and Pacific Island American Identities


  1. ^ Percentage of the state population that identifies itself as Pacific Islands relative to the state/territory population as a whole.


  1. ^ "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010". US Census Bureau. 
  2. ^ University of Virginia. Geospatial and Statistical Data Center. "1990 PUMS Ancestry Codes." 2003. August 30, 2007."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  3. ^ University of Michigan. Census 1990: Ancestry Codes. August 27, 2007
  4. ^ The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population, Census 2000
  5. ^ The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population: 2010 Census, 2010 Census Briefs, United States Bureau of the Census, May 2012
  6. ^ US Census Bureau: " Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" retrieved September 05, 2016 - select state from drop-down menu
  7. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 American Samoa Summary File
  8. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 Guam Summary File
  9. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 Northern Mariana Islands Summary File
  10. ^ US Census Bureau: " Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" retrieved September 05, 2016 - select state from drop-down menu
  11. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE ALONE OR IN COMBINATION Universe: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 American Samoa Summary File
  12. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE ALONE OR IN COMBINATION Universe: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 Guam Summary File
  13. ^ ETHNIC ORIGIN OR RACE ALONE OR IN COMBINATION Universe: Total ethnic origin and race groups tallied more information 2010 Northern Mariana Islands Summary File
  14. ^ "2010 Census Shows More than Half of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders Report Multiple Races". United States government. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Knight, Heather (March 1, 2006). "A YEAR AT MALCOLM X: Second Chance at Success Samoan families learn American culture". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  16. ^ Sahagun, Louis (October 1, 2009). "Samoans in Carson hold church services for tsunami, earthquake victims". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  17. ^ Garrison, Jessica. "Samoan Americans at a Crossroads", Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2000. Retrieved 2010-10-3.
  18. ^ "Who Bears the Burden?". Heritage Foundation. 
  19. ^ Scharnberg, Kirsten (March 21, 2007). "Young Samoans have little choice but to enlist". Chicago Tribune. 
  20. ^ Congressman Faleomavaega (23 March 2009). "WASHINGTON, D.C.—AMERICAN SAMOA DEATH RATE IN THE IRAQ WAR IS HIGHEST AMONG ALL STATES AND U.S. TERRITORIES". Press Release. United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  21. ^ "Navy SEALS to Diversify". Time. March 12, 2012. 

External links[]

Template:Pacific Islander Americans Template:Oceanic American