Modern Pacific Island Populations & Territories • & Maps & Table

There are two "kinds" of Pacific Island entities. The first group comprise those nine independent countries:

Table 1 • Pacific Island Countries (PICs) • Comparative Population & Area Data

(1995) Land Area Sea Area Population

Country Population Sq. Kms Sq. Kms Density

Fiji 774,800 18,272 1,290,000 42

Kiribati 78,400 811 3,550,000 97

Nauru 10,500 21 320,000 500

Papua New Guinea 4,042,400 462,243 3,120,000 9

Samoa 161,000 2,935 120,000 55

Solomon Islands 367,800 28,530 1,340,000 13

Tonga 98,200 747 700,000 131

Tuvalu 9,500 26 900,000 365

Vanuatu 164,100 12,190 680,000 13

Totals 5,705,500 552,191 12,020,000 10 (Av)

(Minus PNG) 1,663,100 89,948 8,900,000 18 (Av)

Source: Extracted from Pacific Islands Population Update (November 1995). The full numbe of "entities" in the Pacific islands is 23, and their main population and areal characteristics are as follows:

Table 2 • South Pacific Populations , Densities & Areas
Country, State or Territory
Population in 1995
Land Area (km2)
EEZ

(000s km2)

Population Density (land)
American Samoa
54,800
200
390
234
Cook Islands
19,100
237
1,830
79
Easter Island (Rapanui)a
2,500
166
 
15
Federated States of Micronesia
105,700
701
2,978
149
Fiji
774,800
18,272
1,290
42
French Polynesia
218,000
3,521
5,030
54
Guam
149,300
541
218
246
Kiribati
78,400
811
3,550
97
Marshall Islands
54,700
181
2,131
240
Nauru
10,500
21
320
500
New Caledonia (Kanaky)
182,200
19,103
1,740
9
Niue
2,000
259
390
9
Northern Mariana Islands
56,700
471
1,823
92
Palau (Belau)
16,500
488
629
31
Papua New Guinea (1990)
4,042,400
462,243
3,120
9
Pitcairn
54
5
800
11
Samoa (formerly Western Samoa)
163,400
2,935
120
55
Solomon Islands
367,800
28,530
1,340
13
Tokelau
1,500
10
290
158
Tonga
98,200
747
700
131
Tuvalu
9,500
26
900
365
Vanuatu
164,100
12,190
680
12
Wallis & Futuna
14,400
255
300
54
South Pacific
6,586,554
551,913
30,569
12
South Pacific Excluding Papua New Guinea
2,544,154
89,670
27,443
28

Sources:

These details compiled from the Pacific Islands Population Update November 1995. The population densities are based upon figures for the last census. The population estimates are for mid–1995.

a. Rapanui (Easter Island) figures are based upon genealogical fieldwork of Grant McCall, carried out in 1985–1986 and projected at an approximate increase of 50 persons per year (births less deaths, but not accounting for non–Rapanui migration to the island).
 
 

The broadest definition of the Pacific Islands encompasses twenty–three island states and territories of the Pacific Ocean, including Micronesia (mostly north of the equator) and Papua New Guinea, but excluding the European populations of Hawaii (Hawai‘i) and New Zealand (Aotearoa). Because of the mixture of statuses, these twenty–three are called often "entities", thus making no judgement about sovereignty. West Papua, or Irian Jaya, has a substantial number of Melanesia people, but population figures for the indigenous inhabitants are not available on that province of Indonesia, which was siezed in 1960 and in which there is a lively resistance movement to counter the conquering state’s control.

The nine "Pacific Island Countries" or "PICs" are nominally independent, and they comprise some of the larger states in area and population. The details of these nine places are in Table One above.

The full 23 states and territories demonstrating a wide spectrum of political status, from Rapanui (Easter Island), which is an integral part of the Chilean state, to independent states. Along the way, there are special statutes for the French territories which provide them with a kind of home rule, to the situation of the Cook Islands and Niue, whose citizens carry New Zealand passports, but who have elected assemblies for internal and, occasionally, foreign affairs.

Micronesia, except for Kiribati and Nauru, is within the sphere of influence of the United States of America and persons there have open access to their metropolitan power, though their political status exhibits considerable variation, from the total dependency of Guam (a possession) to the status of "Autonomous Self-Governing" countries.

Map of the Pacific Basin and Rim




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