Territory's residents better educated every decade

The population of American Samoa may not be growing, but the number of college-educated residents is increasing very fast.

Equally significant, the number of residents who left school before receiving a high school diploma has decreased by a huge amount.

It all adds up to a population that is better educated from top to bottom.

The number of American Samoa residents with a college degree (or an advanced degree) has increased by 32% in the past decade and almost doubled in the past 20 years.

In the past decade, the number of college degree holders has jumped by 1,250, even as the territory’s population has fallen slightly.

There are now almost 5,000 local residents with a college degree, which means 19 out of every 100 adults has a college degree. Ten years ago, only 14 out of every 100 adults had a college degree.

Half of those degrees are two-year degrees (AA or AS) and the other half are more advanced degrees (bachelors, masters, law degrees, medical degrees or doctorate degrees).


The percentage of adults in American Samoa with no high school diploma has changed even more drastically.

In 1990, 45 out of 100 adults in American Samoa lacked a high school diploma. By 2000, things had improved to the point that only 34 out of 100 adults lacked a diploma.

By 2010, only 18 out of 100 adults in American Samoa lacked a high school diploma.

This means that there are 4,000 fewer adults who lack a high school diploma in 2010 as compared to 1990.

Another astounding statistic is this: in 1980, 36% of the territory’s adult population had less than a 9th grade education, but the percentage of these least-educated adults had fallen to only 7% by 2010.


An Associates degree requires two years of school after high school. Example: AA, ASCC

A Bachelors degree requires two additional years after the Associates. Example: BA, University of Hawaii

A Masters degree requires two additional years after the Bachelors. Example: MA, San Diego State University

A Doctorate degree requires several additional years after the Masters. Example: PhD, Brigham Young University

Click to Enlarge: The graphic shows that the rapidly decreasing percentage of American Samoa’s population with less than a 9th grade educa- tion (circular data points) has been occurring at the same time that there has been a rapid increase in the percentage of the adult population with a college degree (square data points). It’s all good!