20 Sep 2011

Recount bid after American Samoa census dispute

2:03 pm on 20 September 2011

The former chief statistician for the American Samoa Government is unwavering in his stance that the territory's population was undercounted in last year's census.

Meleisea Vaitoelau Filiaga is urging lawmakers to get the US Census Bureau to conduct a recount.

The preliminary 2010 Census data, shows a 3.1 percent drop in the territory's population, to just over 55,000.

Meleisea, who supervised the 2000 and previous two censuses for American Samoa, believes up to 13,000 people may not have been counted.

He's disputed a statement by deputy director of commerce, Lelei Peau, that the census data has more credibility than the migration estimates used by Meleisea to arrive at his analysis.

Lelei Peau says the territory lost nearly 6,000 jobs in 2008/2009.

But Meleisea says no one knows, and immigration records don't show, whether any of these workers left the island.

He says he doesn't see a problem with the government conducting another re-count and says one was held in 1974 after the 1970 census.