National / Regional Profiles
Samoa: Major World Religions (1900 - 2050) (World Religion Database, 2020)1
The following groups with less than 1% of the population were hidden from this graph: Baha'is, Buddhists, Chinese folk-religionists, Muslims, Nonreligious.
Samoa: Largest Religious Groups (1900 - 2050) (World Religion Database, 2020)1
The following groups with less than 1% of the population were hidden from this graph: Agnostics, Atheists, doubly-affiliated, Mahayanists, Sunnis, unaffiliated Christians.
Religious Adherents (World Religion Database 2020)1
Religious demographics (Samoa)2
The country has an area of 1,133 square miles and a population of 188,000. There are two main islands and seven islets in the group, with the majority of the population residing on the island of Upolu, where Apia, the capital, is located. The 2006 census revealed the following distribution of major religious groups: Congregational Christian, 33.6 percent; Roman Catholic, 19.4 percent; Methodist 14.3 percent; the Church of Jesus Christ Latter- day Saints (Mormons), 13.2 percent; Assemblies of God, 6.9 percent; and Seventh-day Adventist, 3.5 percent. Groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Jehovah's Witnesses, Congregational Church of Jesus, Nazarene, nondenominational Protestant, Baptist, Worship Centre, Peace Chapel, Samoa Evangelism, Elim Church, and Anglican. A comparison of the 2001 and 2006 censuses shows a slight decline in the membership of most major denominations and an increase in participation in nontraditional and evangelical groups.
Although there is no official data, it is generally believed that there are also some practicing Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews in the country, primarily in the capital city. The country has one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship.
All religious groups are multiethnic; none is exclusively comprised of foreign nationals or native-born (Western) Samoans. There are no sizable foreign national or immigrant groups, with the exception of U.S. nationals from American Samoa.
Religious observance remains high throughout the country. There is strong societal pressure at the village and local level to participate in church services and other activities and to financially support church leaders and projects. In some denominations, such financial contributions often total more than 30 percent of family income.
|Area in square miles||1,093||196,939,900|
|Life Expectancy from birth, in years4||74.8||71.9|
|Gross National Income per capita, in current international dollars4||6,200.0||16,101.0|
|Description of Polity Score5||--||--|
|Judicial Independence Composite Score, as average of scores for higher and lower courts6||--||0.8|
Samoa - Google Map
Religion and the State
Constitutional Features [ View Excerpts]
Features of Constitution
|Is there a constitution?9||Yes|
|Does the constitution state an official religion?10||yes [ Article 1(3) ]|
|Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?10||yes [ Article 11(1) ]|
|Does the constitution protect religious equality/non-discrimination?10||yes [ Article 15(2) ]|
|Adult Literacy Rate, in percentage of adult population12||99.0||86.2|
|Net Primary School Enrollment Rate, in percentage of population of official school age4||96.0||89.6|
|Net Secondary School Enrollment Rate, in percentage of population of official school age4||77.2||65.1|
|Gross Domestic Product, in billions of current U.S. Dollars4||0.8||75,845.1|
|Imports, in million current-year U.S. dollars13||371.6||20,150,355.0|
|Exports, in million current-year U.S. dollars13||215.7||20,790,015.7|
|Economic Freedom Index, scaled from 0 min to 100 max14||58.4||62.9|
|Human Development Index15||0.7||0.7|
|2013 Gender Inequality Index (GII)16||0.5||0.4|
|Gross National Income per capita, in current international dollars4||6,200.0||16,101.0|
Demographic and Health Measures
|Life Expectancy from birth, in years4||74.8||71.9|
|2012 Net Migration Rate (migrants per 1,000 population)4||-12.7||--|
|Urban Percentage of Total Population13||19.0||54.3|
|Urban Population Growth, by percentage13||0.0||2.0|
|Fertility Rate, in total births per woman13||4.0||2.5|
|Infant Mortality Rate, in deaths per 1000 live births13||14.8||30.5|
|HIV Prevalence, in percentage of population ages 15-49 with HIV13||--||0.8|
Other Measures on Religion, State, and Society
Constitution Clauses Related to Religion
Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion) (Samoa)10
IN THE HOLY NAME OF GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, THE EVER LOVING
WHEREAS sovereignty over the Universe belongs to the Omni-present God alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Samoa within the limits prescribed by God's commandments is a sacred heritage;
WHEREAS the Leaders of Samoa have declared that Samoa should be an Independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and tradition;
Article 1. Name and description.
(3) Samoa is a Christian nation founded on God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Article 11. Freedom of religion.
(1) Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his or her religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and, in public or private, to manifest and propagate his or her religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law in so far as that existing law or the law so made imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred under the provisions of that clause in the interests of national security or of public order, health or morals, or for protecting the rights and freedom of others, including their rights and freedom to observe and practice their religion without the unsolicited interference of members of other religions.
Article 12. Rights concerning religious instruction.
(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction or take part in any religious ceremony or attend religious worship, if that instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his or her own.
(2) Every religious community or denomination shall have the right to establish and maintain educational institutions of its own choice and to provide therein religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination.
(3) Nothing in clause (2) shall prevent the State from making any law requiring the inspection of educational institutions and the maintenance therein of standards in keeping with the general educational level in Samoa.
Article 15. Freedom from discriminatory legislation.
(2) Except as expressly authorised under the provisions of this Constitution, no law and no executive or administrative action of the State shall, either expressly or in its practical application, subject any person or persons to any disability or restriction or confer on any person or persons any privilege or advantage on grounds only of ... religion ...
[Technical exceptions follow for affirmative action.]
Third Schedule. Forms of oath.
[Oaths require swearing "by God" with no accommodation.]
Sources1 Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim, eds. World Religion Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2022).
2 The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.
3 The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.
4 Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank's Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.
5 The Center for Systemic Peace (CSP) is engaged in innovative research on the problem of political violence within the structural context of the dynamic global system. The Center supports scientific research and quantitative analysis in many issue areas related to the fundamental problems of violence in both human relations and societal-systemic development processes. The Center continually monitors political behavior in each of the world's major states and reports on emerging issues and persisting conditions related to the problems of political violence and "state failure." A dataset with these and other international measures can be downloaded from here. Used with permission. *Note: Polity Scores range from -10 to 10 and include the following categories: -10 to -9: strongly autocratic, -8 to -7 autocratic, -6 to -4 weakly autocratic, -3 to +3 anocratic, +4 to +6 weakly democratic, +7 to +8 democratic, +9 to +10 strongly democratic.
6 Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring democracy. V-Dem provides a multidimensional and disaggregated dataset that reflects the complexity of the concept of democracy as a system of rule that goes beyond simple presence of elections. The V-Dem project distinguishes between seven high-level principles of democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, egalitarian, majoritarian, and consensual, and collects data to measure these principles. A dataset with these and other international measures can be downloaded from here. Used with permission.
7 The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
8 The Religion and State (RAS) Project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel and is directed by Jonathan Fox. Round 3 of the RAS includes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more as well as a sampling of smaller states and offers annual measures from 1990 to 2014. The methods used for conducting the RAS3 collection and the complete codebook can be reviewed online. Or, the codebook and data file can be downloaded free of charge here. For details on how the RAS indexes reported on the ARDA’s National Profiles were coded, constructed, and placed into categories, click here.
9 Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
10 Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at
11 Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that offers measures of the extent to which governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, belief and respect for the rights of minorities and women are guaranteed. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
12 The CIA's World Factbook was created as an annual summary and update to the now defunct National Intelligence Survey (NIS) studies. The first classified Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version was published in June 1971. The NIS program was terminated in 1973 except for the Factbook, map, and gazetteer components. The 1975 Factbook was the first to be made available to the public with sales through the US Government Printing Office (GPO). The year 2010 marks the 67th year of the World Factbook and its predecessor programs. The maps and flags are also from the World Factbook, which is an open source.
13 Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank's Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.
14 The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom is a systematic, empirical measurement of economic freedom in countries throughout the world. A set of objective economic criteria are used to study and grade various countries for the annual publication of the Index of Economic Freedom. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
15 The United Nations Human Development Reports provide data and statistical analysis in various areas of human development. The Human Development Report (HDR) presents two types of statistics: the human development indicator tables, which provide a global assessment of country achievements in different areas of human development, and thematic statistical analysis. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
16 The 2013 Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). The health dimension is measured by two indicators: maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The empowerment dimension is also measured by two indicators: the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. The labor dimension is measured by women’s participation in the work force. Source: The United Nations Human Development Reports provide data and statistical analysis in various areas of human development. The Human Development Report (HDR) presents two types of statistics: the human development indicator tables, which provide a global assessment of country achievements in different areas of human development, and thematic statistical analysis. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
17 Military data is drawn from the National Material Capabilities (v4.0) dataset, which is a component of and hosted by the Correlates of War Project. The Correlates of War Project seeks to facilitate the collection, dissemination, and use of accurate and reliable quantitative data in international relations. Correlates of War data may be accessed through the above link. Used with permission.
18 The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom reports. The 2003, 2005, and 2008 reports were coded by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The GRI, GFI and SRI values reported on the National Profiles are averages from the 2003, 2005, and 2008 International Religious Freedom reports, while the Religious Persecution measure is an average from the 2005 and 2008 reports. All other measures derived from the International Religious Freedom reports were coded from the reports 2008. A data file with all of the 2008 coding, as well as data files with other cross national collections are available for preview and download from the data archive on this site. Used with permission.
19 The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset contains standards-based quantitative information on government respect for 15 internationally recognized human rights for 202 countries, annually from 1981-2011. It is designed for use by scholars and students who seek to test theories about the causes and consequences of human rights violations, as well as policy makers and analysts who seek to estimate the human rights effects of a wide variety of institutional changes and public policies including democratization, economic aid, military aid, structural adjustment, and humanitarian intervention. The full CIRI Human Rights Dataset can be accessed through the above link. Used with permission.