20 Feb 2007

Samoa census expected to show country's population is falling

1:51 pm on 20 February 2007

A surge in emigration, particularly to New Zealand, is part of the reason for a slump in the population of Samoa.

When the preliminary results of the latest census are released early next month, it is expected to show the population has fallen by nearly three thousand people since 2001 when there were nearly 178 thousand people in Samoa.

The government's chief statistician, Muagututi'a Sefuiva Reupena, says the fall is due to emigration and the country's low birth rate.

Sefuiva says the census shows many Samoans have migrated to New Zealand in the last five years under the immigration quota scheme.

Others have moved to live in American Samoa with a small percentage of families moving to Australia.

The chief statistician puts the lower birth rate down to family planning.