The Territories of the United States are administrative divisions of the US federal government. The territories are either incorporated into the U.S. or have an organized government through an Organic Act passed by the Congress. The U.S. has a total of 16 territories, five of which are permanently inhabited. The permanently inhabited territories are Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
6. Puerto Rico - 3,667,084
Puerto Rico is a territory of the US located in the Northeast Caribbean Sea. The territory of Puerto Rico consists of the main island and other smaller islands such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The population of the island is approximately 3.7 million people. The island is rich in history, climate, and traditional cuisines which make it a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens. However, the
5. Guam - 159,358
Guam is a U.S. territory with an established civil government located in the western Pacific Ocean. Guam has a population of 161,785 people who are mainly American citizens by birth. The island covers an area of 210 square miles, the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is a popular tourist destination for tourists, especially from Japan. The US took charge of the island in 1898 as part of the Treaty of Paris and was transferred to the U.S. Navy on December 1898 through an Executive Order 108-A.
4. U.S. Virgin Islands - 106,405
U.S. Virgin Islands are groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea located in the Leeward Islands. The islands cover a total area of 133.73 square miles and have a population of 106,105 people who are mostly Afro-Caribbean. Tourism is the main economic activity on the islands with several manufacturing activities supplementing the economy. Christopher Colombus named the U.S. Virgin Islands during his voyage in 1493. The islands are part of the U.S. territories, but the citizens of the island are not eligible to vote in the US presidential elections.
3. Northern Mariana Islands - 77,000
The Northern Mariana Island is a commonwealth of the US consisting of 15 islands in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean. The 15 islands include those of the Marianas Archipelagos and cover an area of 183.5 square miles. Northern Mariana Islands have a population of 77000 people with the vast majority living in the Saipan and Tinian. The administrative center of the islands is the Capitol Hill although most people consider Saipan as the capital of the island. The negotiation between the U.S. and the Northern Mariana Islands for territorial status began in 1972 and was approved in 1975 through a referendum. The island formed a new government under its new constitution in 1978.
2. American Samoa - 55,519
American Samoa is a territory of the U.S. located in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of five mainland and coral atolls. Samoa has a population of 55,500 people and covers an area of 76.8 square miles. American Samoa has the highest military enlightenment of the sixteen U.S. territories. The main export from the island includes tuna product with the U.S. as the main trading partner. The government of Samoa is defined by the Constitution of American Samoa. Most of the inhabitants of the island are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan.
1. Uninhabited Territories
In addition to the inhabited territories, the United States also recognizes a total of 11 other territories, which makes a total of 16 United States territories. The uninhabited territories are small islands, reefs, or atolls, and do not support any kind of permanent population. The uninhabited territories are as follows:
- Palmyra Atoll: The Palmyra Atoll is unique among the U.S. territories for being privately owned - both the Nature Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service own the island. Found around 1,600 km from Oahu, in Hawaii, the Palmyra Atoll is actually an archipelago made up of 50 islands. The location of the Atoll is remote - it is thousands of kilometers from any continent. Its population is mostly made up of staff and scientists.
- Baker Island: Baker Island was annexed formally on May 13, 1836. It is an atoll found around 1,900 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is visited by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service every year.
- Howland Island: Howland is also in the Pacific OCean, about 1,700 nautical miles southwest of Honululu. It is halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Made of coral, the island has no inhabitants.
- Jarvis Island: Jarvis Island is also a coral island, and is located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Johnston Atoll: Also known as Kalama Atoll, the Johnston Atoll is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Entry is only allowed with a permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Kingman Reef: Kingman Reef is a triangular reef found between Hawaii and the territory of American Samoa. The reef is only 11 miles in length.
- Wake Island: Located in Micronesia, Wake Island is also a coral atoll. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service administers the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
- Navassa Island: Unlike the other uninhabited territories on this list so far, Navassa Island is found in the Caribbean Sea. The island, which is small and without human habitation, is currently a topic of a territory dispute between the United States and Haiti.
- Sarranilla Bank: Saranilla Bank is a small atoll found in the Atlantic Ocean. Mostly submerged underwater, Colombia was granted governance by the International Court of Justice in 2012. However, the United States does not recognize this ruling.
- Baja Nuevo Bank: Baja nuevo rank is a reef found in the Caribbean Sea. Like Sarranilla Bank above, Baja Nuevo Bank is the subject of a territory dispute between Colombia and the United States.