Pacific Islands Americans

Pacific Islands Americans
Oceanian Americans
Total population
608,219 alone
0.2% of the total U.S. population (2017)[1]
1,225,195 alone or in combination
0.4% of the total U.S. population (2010 Census)
Regions with significant populations
 American Samoa,  Guam,
 Northern Mariana Islands,
 California,  Hawaii,  Washington,  Oregon,  Nevada,  Alaska,
 Texas,  Florida
American English, Polynesian languages, Micronesian languages
Christianity, Polytheism, Bahá'í, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Druze
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, Utah, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, with sizable communities in Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Florida, and Alaska. Fijians are predominantly based in California.

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


The US occupied Hawaii in 1896, the Mariana Islands in 1898 and American Samoa in 1899. [4] From then on, the emigration of the Pacific Islanders to the US began, being initiated by the natives of those islands. While the emigration of Pacific Islanders to the US was small until the end of World War II, when many islanders (at least Tongan missionaries) emigrated to the United States. Emigration was increasing progressively and by the end of the 60s there were hundreds of indigenous people from Oceania who emigrated to the US, especially thanks to the increase in Fijian migration (one of the main groups of Pacific Islanders in the US, which exceeded one hundred immigrants in this age). However, the first great wave of Pacific Islanders came from the 70s, a decade in which the emigration of Tonga, Fiji and Micronesia was markedly increased (more than 1,000 Fijians emigrated to the US in the 1970s). Many of these people emigrated to the US to study at its universities. [5] In addition, in the 1980s, Marshallese emigration to the USA began, when this country gave sovereignty to the Marshall Islands through an agreement called the Compact of Free Association. The Tyson Foods company (which employed a significant part of the population of the islands) relocated many of its Marshellese employees in Springdale, Arkansas, where the company is based.[6] Since then, the emigration of Pacific Islanders has been significant in the US.