THE STATUS OF MICRONESIAN MIGRANTS IN THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY

 

A Second Study of the Impact of the Compacts of Free Association

based on Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and the

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael J. Levin

Population and Development Studies Center

Department of Public Health

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

February 16, 2008

 

 

The Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior funded this study through Reimbursable Agreements with the Bureau of the Census.  The study updates previous work from 1996 through 1999.   Elizabeth Grieco, a Population Division intern during the summer, 1998, wrote parts of the basic text for the previous report, which is updated here.   Michael Stroot edited the data and Michael Levin produced the basic tables for this report, Elizabeth Grieco, Marcus Samo and Diego Sasamoto produced the text tables for 1997/1999, and John Masiwemai, Jr., and Herman Tewasilmal developed the tables and the graphs for the current report.  Marcus Samo wrote the draft on health issues.  Kyonori Tellames and Rosina Edwin wrote the drafts for Palau and FSM migrants. 

 

 

 

 


 

 

THE STATUS OF MICRONESIAN MIGRANTS

 IN THE EARLY 21st CENTURY

 

A Second Study of the Impact of the Compacts of Free Association

based on Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and the

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

 

 


 

CHAPTER 1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

Since ancient times, the ancestors of today’s Micronesians have emigrated from Southeast Asia in search of food and a new life.  Toward the end of the 19th century some Carolinians settled in the Marianas.  During the first half of this century, Chamorros settled in Yap, Palau, and Pohnpei; Chamorros of Guam traveled and settled in the US; Palauans moved to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and Yap.  Toward the end of this century, FSM migration began in earnest to Guam and the Northern Marianas mainly, and the Marshallese established communities in the US and Hawaii.  Palauans also traveled extensively, perhaps more than any other group.  (Rechebei 1999)

 

The United States has always received waves of migrants.  What became called the American Indians migrated many millennia ago.  And in the last 400 years or so, successive waves of migrants came, first from parts of Europe, and simultaneously, forced movements of Africans.  Asians came, and Latin Americans.  And, finally, in recent years, Pacific Islanders.  

 

Initially, families arrived for religious reasons, because of poverty, bad crops, or overpopulation (Tichenor 2002). But, over time, traditional migration to the United States has followed a somewhat standard pattern – usually young, unattached males and females, then other family members, then other relatives, and unrelated people (Bean and Stevens 2003).  The most recent and continuing and influential migration is that of the Mexicans (Massey et al 2002).  It is important to note that while Massey et al support a fairly positive few of the immigration flows, Borjas (1999) and others have opposing views.  Micronesians tend to show the strengths and weaknesses of the various views in miniature.  The numbers of Micronesians are very small compared to the Mexicans, but many of the variables can be stripped away, in a way, to allow for study of relationships among the variables.  

 

In some ways, Pacific Islander immigration to the United States is like Mexican migration, in many other ways this Pacific Islander migration stream is not.  Until the Mexican and Central American and certain Caribbean migration, the intent of most migration was permanent relocation, with migrants arriving in the United States to stay.  But as Massey et al point out at length, while some migration to the U.S. from Mexico was meant to be permanent from the beginning, much other migration differs.  Currently this migration begins as circular mobility, but eventually ends permanent moves, whether officially legal or unauthorized.

 

Most Pacific Islander immigrants regard at least their initial migration as temporary.  Not all Pacific Islanders are migrants.  Hawaiians, the largest Pacific Islander group, arrived from Tahiti probably around the end of the first millennium.  Other Pacific Islanders, however, are much more recent migrants.  And, migration is the “major regulator of demographic change in many of the small Pacific nations” (Connell 1984).  As noted, migration often started out as circular mobility, sometimes for single seasons (where seasonality exists) or other short durations (Chapman and Prothero 1983). 

 

In the early years of the Pacific emigration, the receiving countries were New Zealand and Australia (Hayes 1985).  A fairly large literature now exists that looks at these Australia and New Zealand Pacific Islander migrants (while a very small literature looks at Pacific Islander migration to the United States. These studies include general Pacific Islander migration (Connell 1980 – who also did a series of spectacular migration volumes for the South Pacific Commission in the 1980s and which are now unavailable), Cook Islanders (Curson 1979, Loomis 1990), Samoans (MacPherson 1985, 1994, Shankman 1976), Tongans (Faeamani 1995, James 1991, 1997, Vete 1995), Fijians (Stanwix and Connell 1995), and Tuvaluans (1990). 

 

The United States is now the primary destination for Pacific Islander migrants.   The migration is almost only measured by Decennial censuses.  However, in recent years the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), Department of the Interior, has had a Statistical Enhancement Program to assist the U.S. Insular Areas – Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.  Two distinct census operations existed before the OIA involvement in determining Micronesian migrant counts and characteristics – and both were conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Starting about 1980, the Census Bureau collected and compiled detailed, cross-tabulated data on ethnicity and birthplace characteristics in American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands; similar data were collected in the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.  But, until the 1980 Census, counts of all Pacific Islander groups, except Hawaiians, were simply estimations based on limited, poor quality migration statistics, some community-level studies, and assessments of various community leaders.  The 1980 Census was the first U.S. Census Bureau operation to provide information on Pacific Islander immigrants using specific categories.  The census was also the first to describe the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of these groups. 

 

As for the specific groups, Samoans come from two places – the independent country of Samoa (and since they are foreign, they need visas to enter) and American Samoa (whose born residents are Nationals and can enter the U.S. freely).  Tongans, like those from independent Samoa must have visas. 

 

Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) both receive and send migrants, and will be major focuses in this paper.  Migration from Guam to the United States is similar to that of American Samoa except that Guam born are citizens.  Guam became a U.S. territory after the Spanish American War in 1898.  In 1950, the Organic Act of Guam gave the United States citizenship to Guam’s people.  As will be covered in more detail later, the CNMI was linked with the Caroline and Marshall Islands, under a series of colonial administrations, starting with Spain, through Germany and Japan, and finally the United States as part of the strategic Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI).  In 1986, the TTPI started splitting up, CNMI becoming a Commonwealth, like Puerto Rico. People born in the CNMI are now citizens.  People born on Guam and the CNMI have unrestricted access to the United States, and travel to the United States either for relatively high paying jobs or to enlist in the armed forces. 

 

Because this paper covers migration to Guam and the CNMI, territories of the United States, that migration is also noted.  Guam and CNMI serve as both sending entries to the United States, but also as end destinations.  They are also are way stations for increasing numbers of Micronesians going on to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.  Micronesian migration often goes in stages, particularly for those who start on the Outer Islands of Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and the Marshalls.  Some of this onset migration has been studied by Alkire (1993), Marshall (1975), and Levin (1982) among others.  Many islanders move from the outer islands or outer atolls or outer reaches of the main islands (like Pohnpei) or the Chuuk lagoon into what used to be called the District Centers and are now called the capitals.  They then make their next moves to Guam, CNMI, Hawaii, or the U.S. mainland.  As the atolls depopulate, of course, this step-wise progression will become de-emphasized.

 

By the 1980s, the U.S. was the preferred destination for migrating Pacific Islanders (Greenwood and Stuart 1986).  Micronesian migrants to the United States as a group have been little studied.  In this, the Micronesians share the fact that almost no one has studied any Pacific Islander migrant groups in the United States.  Ahlburg (2000) and Barringer, Gardner and Levin (1992), Levin (1984), and Small (2007) have described general Pacific Islander migration.  Ablon (1970, 1971), Franco (1985), Kotchek (1977), Lewthweite et al (1973), Rolfe (1978), and the Samoan project headed by Paul Baker, including Harbison (1986) and Janes (1990), have studied Samoans, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.  Shu and Satele (1977) made a particularly important study of Samoan migrants in the early 1970s.  Chapman (1972) and Small (1997) did similar studies of Tongans.  But even Chamorros have been little studied (e.g., Shimizu 1982, Munoz 1979).

 

That Pacific Islander ties with their sending countries are firm and continuing is in little doubt, and, as will be shown later, Micronesians provide considerable remittances.  This tradition, though, is not yet strong.  But they tend to follow the Polynesian and Fijian migrants in this, however.  And, as Small (2007:536) notes, “Ethnographic and economic evidence form all three cultures [Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga] indicate that migrants send money and goods to relatives back home at very high rates – high enough that many Pacific Islands economies stay afloat because of the remittances.”

 

As noted, ethnographic surveys, with very small samples, include Viterelli (1981) and Thompson (1981) for Hawaii. On Guam, Workman et al (1981) collected data from a fairly large survey of Micronesian students about 1980, and subsequent studies have included Rubenstein (1990, 1991, 1993), Rubenstein and Levin (1994), Shewman (1985), Quan-Bautista (1996), and Kyle Smith and his group (Coulter 1993, Smith 1994, Turk Smith 1993) for Guam.   Smith and his colleague’s work is particularly important because it looks at the migrant populations, the reactions of administrators in the sending populations, and the reactions of Guam’s residents to the migration.  Schwalberg (1984) took at early look at Micronesian migration to both Guam and Hawaii.  Pinhey (1997) looked at alcohol use among several ethnic groups on Guam, including Micronesians.

 

Even during Japanese times, censuses of the areas that became Palau, FSM, and RMI were taken, so very long term trends can be traced.  The Japanese took fully reported censuses in 1920, 1925, 1930, and 1935, and possibly one in 1940, the data from that one probably not having survived because of World War II.  Although the United States provided island counts annually from the late 1940s into the 1970s to the United Nations through the U.S. State Department, the only actual census enumerations took place in 1958 and 1973 under the auspices of the High Commissioner (the highest government official).  In 1970, the United States collected the Decennial Census, which was deficient, with whole enumerated areas not returned for processing.  Alan Kay (1974) summarized the results of the 1973 TTPI Census with projections for population growth at that time.  Palau had a full census, with an important subsistence skills element, in 1979 and 1980 (1985).

 

The 1980 round of Censuses for Guam and CNMI provided new data on people born in the Freely Associated States, but, except for Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands employees, few people from these islands were present in either place.   The Micronesians were consider “foreign” and could only come as students.  Some came and left. Some came and stayed, and were counted in the Census.  Many were certainly missed because of their status, and where they tended to live.  By 1990, the decennial collected more detailed information on the migrants; data from that census are included in here.  Hawaii, as part of the United States decennial operations, used mail-out mail-back and other procedures throughout the operations that made ascertaining the number and characteristics impossible, in both 1980 and 1990.  By 2000, however, data appeared for each of the sending countries, and by race for States, so that data from that census are included here (Chapter 16).  And, the 2000 Census of CNMI and Guam also provided useful data that assist in showing trends, and appear here as well.

 

The first legal document enumerating migration requirements for the Freely Associated States citizens was the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) began in late 1986 and with the Republic of Palau (ROP) in late 1994.  These three countries together make up the Freely Associated States (FAS).  In late 1986, the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia implemented a Compact of Free Association described the roles of each country over a 15 year period.  The United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands concluded their negotiations and implemented a similar Compact a short time later.  Formal reporting requirements appeared as parts of each Compact, but surveys of the migrants were not required as part of the reporting requirements. 

 

As noted earlier, historically these island groups were sovereign entities until they came under the control of Spain from the 1500s to 1898, Germany from 1899 to 1914, Japan from 1914 to 1945 and finally under an American Administration from about 1945 until implementation of the compacts of free association.  After World War II — and because of Japan’s successful bombing of Pearl Harbor from the Marshall Islands — the United States created and administered for the United Nations,  the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) as a ‘strategic’ trust territory.  This trusteeship lasted from 1947 until 1986. The TTPI consisted of what became the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

 

The three countries studied here include:

 

Marshall Islands.  The Republic of the Marshall Islands consists of two parallel chains of islands and has about 50,000 persons. The Marshall Islands implemented its Compact at the same time as the FSM, but the pace of out-migration from the RMI was initially slower than that from the FSM. Almost all of the Marshall Islands migration, in fact, has been to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland and not to Guam and the CNMI.  One of the reasons for this flow is that transportation is better and easier to Hawaii than to Guam.  Another reason is almost certainly economics. Based on the 1990 Census, at least 350 Marshallese were living in Hawaii while only 88 were living on Guam and 103 in the CNMI. The 1992 Office of Insular Affairs Survey of Micronesian migrants to Guam recorded 150 Marshallese. The 1993 Survey of Micronesian migrants to CNMI recorded 177 Marshallese, while the 1995 Census of the CNMI reported 130 individuals born in the Marshall Islands.  Thus, Marshall Islands emigration to Guam and the CNMI is relatively small (unfortunately, differences in reporting preclude stating that the 1995 data show a reverse trend).  Most of the Marshall Islands migration was to Hawaii with about 2,500 present there in 1997.  By 2003, the new surveys recorded 2,901 Marshalls “impact” migrants – those arriving from the Marshalls after 1986 or the children of migrants.  The 2000 U.S. Census reported 6,320 Marshalls born people in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, and 6,650 Marshallese by race.  These figures will be discussed more in the sections that follow.

Palau.  Palau is located southwest of Guam and has a population of about 20,000, with approximately 1/3rd foreign-born.  Unlike the Marshall Islands, significant numbers of Palauans have out-migrated to Guam, CNMI and Hawaii. Both Guam and CNMI have attracted Palauan migrants since the 1950s, during the earlier Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) administration. Many Palauans came to Guam to study at the University of Guam, some enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces (one was killed in Vietnam during the war) and returned to Guam to live and work, and others have simply migrated to work, even when doing so was illegal.  Many Palauans went to Saipan to work in the TTPI government, and many of these stayed in Saipan after formation of the Commonwealth in 1986.  Many Palauans now hold responsible positions in the CNMI government.  The 1990 Census recorded 1,233 Palau-born on Guam and 1,407 in the CNMI.  In 1995, the CNMI Census recorded 1,594 Palau-born, while the concurrent survey of Palauans on Guam reported 1,089; however, the latter figure is likely an undercount.  Of the three Freely Associated States groups, Palauans have had the longest history of residence in Hawaii and Guam.   The 2003 surveys reported 2,283 Impact migrants in the three areas.  The 2000 US Census reported 2,100 Palau born and 3,469 Palauans by race.  Again, these data will be discussed in more detail in the following sections.

 

Federated States of Micronesia.  Four states — Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap — constitute the Federated States of Micronesia. Kosrae is composed of a main island, a smaller island (Lelu), and a number of even smaller islands.  Pohnpei and Yap both have main islands and inhabited and uninhabited atolls, creating easy geographic differentiation.  Chuuk, because it is the most populated state, and because of its history, is divided into five geographic regions Northern and Southern Namoneas, Faichuuk, Mortlock Islands to the south, and Oksoritod to the north and west.  Oksoritod itself is made up of the Western Islands (Pulusuk, Puluwat, Pulap, and Tamatam), Namonuito, and the Hall Islands. In 2003, FSM migrant population in Guam, CNMI, and Hawaii increased. The 2003 survey recorded a total of 9,098 migrants in Guam, 5,091 Hawaii and 3,097 CNMI.  Historical census and survey data for the FSM appear in Chapter 13.  The 2003 surveys reported 15,514 FSM impact migrants.  The 2000 U.S. Census reported 11,888 FSM by race and 7,090 FSM born.

 

To summarize for all areas, no formal surveys were taken in the early years, just after the FSM and RMI compacts went into effect.  Hezel and McGrath (1989) took an early survey, in the late 1980s, of the FSM migrants to Guam.  The first surveys collected, processed, and analyzed using Census Bureau conventions took place in 1992 on Guam, and in 1993 in the CNMI; the Guam survey was collected through the Micronesian Research Center on the University of Guam campus, and the 1993 CNMI survey was collected through the newly developed Central Statistics Division (CSD) as part of the CNMI Department of Commerce.  These were followed by surveys of migrants in 1997 on Guam (Guam Department of Labor), 1997 in Hawaii (Pacific Basin Development Council – PBDC), 1998 in CNMI (CSD), and Hawaii in 1999 (PBDC).  The University of Guam’s Micronesian Language Institute also collected a 1995 survey of Palauans on Guam that was processed by the Bureau of Planning.

 

Administrative records have been collected to include Micronesians in all three receiving areas for since the 1950s, in some cases.  University of Guam, Department of Public Health and Social Service, Department of Education,

 

MICRONESIAN MIGRATION

 

Micronesian immigration is partially an unintended manifestation of traditional movements – a kind of wanderlust – part of the transition to adulthood, and much of the early Pacific Islander migration was of this type.  The ‘trip’ has been important in many Pacific Islands societies for generations.  Historically, young voyagers left in canoes or other boats or ships to explore and settle distant islands.  Historically, groups of people “moved readily between islands and valleys in search of new land, disease-free sites, wives, trading goods, etc” (Connell 1984:12).

 

Frequently in the past, young men (at least in Micronesia) would hail a passing fishing boat to request to sail away from the island for several months or years.  They got experience and maturity (and stories to last a lifetime, many of them true).  They then returned to the island to marry, have children, and settle down (Leinwald 1977:85, Levin 1976:187).  This pattern continues, but transformed by newer forms of travel.  For example, “just as their great-grandfathers signed aboard trading and whaling vessels a century ago to ‘see the world’, so Namoluk young persons today (especially young men) set off to ‘see the world’ on a Boeing 727” (Marshall 1979:7; Hezel 1978:26).  Of course, now the planes have been upgraded, too.

 

In the early years of the American Administration, the Navy controlled the administration of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and very few people – Micronesian or anyone else – went in or out.  The Department of the Interior took over administration in 1951, and that Administration continued until the Compacts of Free Association went into effect.  Very few people traveled during the 1950s and 1960s.  By 1970, however, many of the Districts in the TTPI built high schools, and students began to graduate.  Peace Corps workers poured into Micronesia, to a point where penetration was among the densest in the world.  Although the U.S. funding build-up did not start for a few more years, a few students began to go to what was then the College of Guam, and a few others were to the University of Hawaii and Chaminade College in Honolulu.  And, few students also went to mainland colleges, but most of those were in places where Peace Corps sent them, or brought them.

 

During the 1970s and 1980s, most Micronesian migration was for education.  The United States government actually encouraged this kind of travel with universal education as the goal through high school and then an expectation of going right on to college.  During this period many Micronesian students left their islands to come to the United States for schooling, using what was called the Basic Education Opportunity Grant (or Pell Grant, named after the Senator who sponsored the legislation).  The BEOG paid about $2,000 over the school year based on parental income, and at that time, seemed like a princely sum for many students, and especially to their parents.  Since many Micronesian families had very low incomes from copra (coconut) collecting, most of the students received the full grants.  Although $2,000 did not cover all expenses for a year at school, students could usually scrape together airfare to the United States to claim the grant.  Costs of books, food, and housing only caused financial problems later when the presumptive students settled in at their schools.

 

And many Micronesians had real cultural problems adjusting to this brave new world:

 

When Micronesians of today leave their islands for higher education abroad they also leave behind this sense of place and belonging and enter a social context that not only fails to give definition, but also encourages the expression of one’s own needs and desires, one’s individual … In the social context of the islands control is clear, enforced, and external; in the new context control is unclear, sporadic, and expected to be much more internal than external.  The result, no infrequently, is a sense of lost security and realization that a strange, if not confusing world must be confronted (Workman et al 1981:5)

 

Although almost all intended to finish and return to the islands after graduation, many were not prepared for the colleges and universities they were attending, and so dropped out.  Many were either too ashamed to return without their degrees, or got jobs, got married, and settled in for the long term.  Small communities, usually in semi-rural areas around junior colleges, developed as bases for various groups of Micronesian migrants.      

 

In the early years of the great education explosion, researchers already began to worry about a brain drain (Balledorf 1977, Hezel and Levin 1989), even before the time when the job crunch came.  In the early years of the education migrations, all returning graduates and many less-than-graduates were absorbed into a greatly expanding labor force.

 

In the years before the Compacts took effect, that is, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. was pouring so much money into Micronesia, that most workers could get jobs in the public sector.  (The private sector was anemic in the early years, anemic in the middle years, and remains anemic today.)  The movement from a basically subsistence economy to a more wage-oriented economy helped to pay for the students’ expenses and other worldly goods, also resulted in the first massive migration movements. 

 

As noted above, many individuals and whole families moved from what were called outer islands and outer areas of main islands into the urbanizing centers where the government offices were and where a supportive private sector, mostly mom-and-pop stores, were located.  Much of the migration was for education, as well as for jobs, since most of the districts in Micronesia only had junior high schools and high schools in the centers, so students moved to take classes.  These movements started the out-migration and emigration that continues today. 

 

The migration from the outer areas into the centers also had one other effect: as people moved, they grew less and less of their own food.  One other aspect of the migration was the move from collecting and processing dried copra for export to growing no food products for export; periodically a fishing industry pops up and then declines, but none of the areas export very much.  However, they do import manufactured products, both food and non-food items.

 

In the late 1980s, as noted, the Compacts of Free Association were implemented in FSM and the Marshall Islands, and United States funding remained relatively strong.  Students continued to stream out to Hawaii and the mainland for schooling, even though the BEOG paid much less of their way than before.  Many began to have problems finding sufficient funding to cover their education expenses because the scholarship pie began to get sliced thinner and thinner; parents and students alike were convinced that education was the way – and the only way – to a good government job.  And so they left Micronesia in large numbers.

 

After the first 5 years, in 1991, the first “step-down” in Compact funding occurred, and while the amount of funding from the U.S. Compact funding decreased, funds to support public officials remained reasonably plentiful because of various soft-money U.S. Federal programs.  Migration picked up because some people were laid off from jobs, although not very many, but many more were graduating from the high schools and returning from colleges to find few jobs available.  However, in 1996, when the second step-down occurred, that is for what was to be years 11 through 15 in the FSM and RMI Compact periods, “all hell broke loose”.  People were laid off, and what was a trickle of migrants became a veritable flood.  

 

Not everyone who returned to Micronesia was jobless.  For example, Randall Akee (2005) used the 1994 FSM Census and the 1997 Surveys of Micronesian migrants to Hawaii and Guam to look at self-selection among the migrants – what caused them to leave Micronesia, and in many cases, why some of them came back.  He found that highly skilled workers left because of differential wage structures within their occupation group.   But many others could not return and had to look elsewhere – on Guam, in the CNMI, in Hawaii, or on the U.S. Mainland.

 

However, in the general the outlook for economic development – in Micronesia as well as elsewhere in most of the small islands – continues to be very dismal.  Palau may be an exception because of its small population, reasonable amount of land, environmental diversity, and access to tourism.  The other two areas may continue to be “basket cases”, following along the lines of the Pacific Paradox, with the need for very large influxes of funding, and very little development (Friberg et al 2006, Bertram 1993, Lodewijks 1997).   Friberg et al (2006:124) note that “In 1998, US funding accounted for 54 and 68% of FSM and RMI total government revenues, respectively, according to our analysis (GAO 2000b).  This assistance has maintained standards of living that are artificially higher than what could be achieved in the absence of US support.”

 

These fairly large amounts of U.S. funding are still decreases from the levels of the late 1980s and 1990s.  While more than $2 billion was put into the economies of the two areas by the United States, very little development has occurred, and the outflow of people is large and likely only to diminish when the supply of possible migrants is used up.  As Grieco (2003) notes, under the reduced funding, some areas are seeing reverse migration, that is, families and individuals returning to their home islands.  However, the outflow to Guam, and particularly the U.S. mainland, is much greater.  “Given the limited development potential of the FSM, emigration at relatively high levels will likely continue into the foreseeable.  Continued loss of many of its most productive citizens to overseas destinations may prove to be the greatest development challenge for the FSM” (Grieco 2003).  Grieco studied the emigrants from Micronesia to Guam and Hawaii, based on the 1997 surveys, and has written extensively about remittance behavior; as she notes, remittances will not be the saving grace for the Micronesian economy.

 

And, as this study will show, the migrants have many education, social, and economic problems in their new environments.   Small (2007:538) noted, for example, that “David Dixon argues that economic indicators by age group suggest that PIs have decidedly less upward mobility than Americans at large do.” 

 

And, while the pull of CNMI, Guam and Hawaii is very strong, many migrants, when they do move cannot escape family obligations.  Like the Samoans, with the matai system that magically reforms among immigrant groups when they land in the United States or one of its territories, the Micronesians tend to follow in these footsteps, seeking their own matai that binds.  As Hezel and Samuel (2006) note in their recent travelogue, island groups tend to form and re-form soon after arrival in Guam, CNMI, Hawaii, or the mainland.

 

 …And “culture” as many PI youth are quick to see, has its costs as well as its benefits.  Fulfilling obligations to extended kin for numerous life-cycle events, which are sometimes more opulent than those on the home island, may be onerous, requiring significant cash outlays, travel costs, and missed work time.  These events, coupled with church or temple donations and remitted cash and goods sent home by the “rich” Americans to their island villages and relatives, require a huge investment of time and resources that places a constant demand on PI families.  It can be a particular drain for wealthier families, who may bear the brunt of family requests, and for poorer families, whose contributions take away from already meager resources (Small 2007:539).

 

 

The next sections will cover various aspects of the Micronesian migration, mostly based on the 2003 Surveys of Guam, CNMI, and Hawaii.  Chapter 2 covers the methodology used for the 3 surveys, and Chapter 3 defines impact migrants, based on the Office of Insular Affairs criteria.  Chapters 4 through 6 provide population trends for Micronesian migrants in Guam, CNMI, and Hawaii, respectively.  Chapters 7 through 9 provide housing trends for the migrants to Guam, CNMI, and Hawaii, respectively.  Chapter 10 covers health issues.  Chapter 11 discusses regular and daily expenditures and Chapter 12 looks at the relationship between income and expenditures.  Chapter 13 looks specifically at changes in the Micronesians in the Federated States of Micronesia and migrants from that area, and Chapter 14 looks at similar data for Palau.  Chapter 15 provides some rough estimates and projections, and Chapter 16 looks at the 2000 United States Census results and Chapter 17 is a short conclusion.  Appendices provide information on the snowball method and on the legal terminology in the Compacts themselves.

 


CHAPTER 2

 

METHODOLOGY

 

 

 

The latest survey[1] round took place simultaneously in all three areas during the summer of 2003.  Benjamin Graham, then coordinator of the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), Department of the Interior’s Statistical Enhancement Program (SEP)[2], provided direction for general development of the questionnaires, forms, manuals and general procedures, using U.S. Census Bureau standards and conventions.  Coordinating agencies in the Insular Areas were Guam’s Department of Labor (although the actual enumeration took place out of the University of Guam’s Extension Service), CNMI’s Central Statistics Division, and Hawaii’s Pacific Basin Development Council (PBDC). Enumerators were selected by application and test – and, except in CNMI, all were Micronesian – and all office workers were Micronesians. 

 

Michael Levin trained all first-round enumerators, although replacement enumerators were trained by office staff in the respective areas.  Training sessions took place in sequence in Hawaii, CNMI, and Guam, and then, in Hawaii, Levin trained enumerators on the Big Islands (separately in Hilo and Kona) and Maui.  Levin did enumeration of Kauai using the same methods.  The initial budget for Hawaii was only large enough to cover an enumeration of Oahu.  At the request of Congressman Case from Hawaii’s Second District, the neighbor islands were added, but with a very short questionnaire to save time in training, enumeration, and processing.  Also, the best methods of obtaining all migrants on the neighbor islands could not be used because of the late start and lack supervision during enumeration.  Supervisors did continuous quality control and follow up activities in all areas.

 

Micronesian office staff in each area received and checked in the questionnaires as they were completed, and then coded and keyed the questionnaires in each of the three central offices.  Keying was done using the Census and Survey Processing System (CSPro) developed by the Census Bureau for use on developing countries’ censuses and surveys.  On completion of the keying, the questionnaires and keyed data were sent to the International Programs Center (IPC) at the U.S. Census Bureau.  There, we used the older processing system (IMPS) to edit and tabulate the data to keep comparability with earlier survey rounds.  The last data came in from Guam in early November, 2003, and by the end of December, results were available.  OIA used totals of Post-Compact migrants and their children were used to distribute $30 million annually in funds to the three receiving areas, as required by the second Compact of Free Association.   A small amount also went to American Samoa.  Guam received approximately $15 million, Hawaii about $10 million, and CNMI about $5 million under the initial distribution.  The next round of surveys is scheduled for 2008 to follow the 5 year law described in Compact II.     


 

This report focuses on the numbers and demographic, social, economic, housing and expenditure characteristics of Micronesian migrants to Hawaii, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) based on concurrent censuses in these three areas[3].  As with the previous studies (Levin 1998), the report will not look specifically at the financial impact that the Compact of Free Association has had on any of the receiving areas.  This impact can be either positive (e.g., increasing tax revenues) or negative (e.g. increasing demand on public services).  But, this report will not assess financial impact — positive, negative or net impact — of Compact implementation.

 

The 1997 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii and Guam, and 1998 Census of Micronesian Migrants to Saipan were developed to measure both (1) the negative impact of the Micronesian Migrants (as noted in the parts of the Compact shown earlier), and also (2) the positive impact of the migrants in terms of salaries earned, purchases made, and taxes paid.   However, at the request of the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior, we developed the 2003 surveys to measure only negative impact; hence, we collected little housing data and no expenditures data, so we will not update those chapters in this report.

 


 

CHAPTER 3

 

WHO IS A POST-COMPACT MIGRANT

 

One of the problems in studying the impact of the Compacts of Free Association on Guam, the CNMI, and the State of Hawaii — the receiving areas — is defining who, exactly, is a “Compact migrant”.  Many Micronesians[4] came to these receiving areas before implementation of the Compacts, either on visas or through other arrangements, legal or not.  During the early years of the TTPI Administration, very few migrants could afford to emigrate. The first migrants were students, who used a combination of TTPI scholarship and U.S. Federal scholarships and grants (particularly the Pell Grant, when it was implemented) to attend schools, first in Guam and Hawaii, and later on the U.S. mainland.

 

During the Carter Administration, in the late 1970s, the TTPI experienced a flood of emigrants to the United States and its territories for schooling.  The Pell Grant’s $2,000 funding at that time was enough to get the potential student to a school, even if the migrant was more “potential” than “student”.  In fact, the many students or ex-students living in the States at the time of the 1980 TTPI Census artificially skewed the data.  In the early 1980s, at a time when jobs were still plentiful, many of these migrants returned to the TTPI after having had their adventures (see, for example, Levin 1976, Marshall 1975, 1979), taking over the government jobs that were being vacated throughout the TTPI by expatriate contract workers and Peace Corps volunteers.

 

Some of these students remained in Guam, Hawaii and the U.S mainland whether they finished their studies or not.  They married and started families, got entry-level jobs which eventually led to higher positions, and generally acted like the typical U.S. immigrants.  They enrolled their children in schools, rented or bought houses or apartments, and paid taxes.  These immigrants were born in the TTPI and migrated before implementation of the Compacts of Free Association; the Office of Insular Affairs considers them “pre-Compact” migrants.  As discussed below, it is not clear whether the U.S. Federal Government must act “sympathetically” to whatever impact these individuals have on social and educational services. Further, many of these early migrants now have families, with either  Micronesian  or non-Micronesian spouses, and it is not clear whether the children of these migrants, many of whom have never been in Micronesia, are to be considered part of the impact of the Compacts of Free Association. 

 

Also, before the Compacts of Free Association implementation, a few Micronesians joined the U.S. military as a means of entry into the United States, sometimes with a wink from the recruiters, sometimes with their collusion. This means of entry to the United States went from a trickle to a minor cascade after Compact implementation. Like the American Samoans before them, the modern military is attractive because of the minor chance of death or injury (at least before the war in Iraq – several islanders have been killed and others injured in that conflict).  The military also offers the opportunity to have free room and board and medical attention, to learn a skill, and to earn many times the money that would be available for a similar job in the sending country.  Those who become career military can get U.S. citizenship and can retire to the United States.  If they initially came before Compact implementation, they are considered “pre-Compact” migrants and, if they came after implementation, they are considered “post-Compact” migrants for this report, by Office of Insular Affairs definition. 

 


The TTPI itself ended up contributing a type of migrant. As the TTPI wound down in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many Micronesians from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands who were working in Saipan for the TTPI government returned to their home areas to work.  The population of Kosrae, for example, went from about 3,000 to over 5,000 between 1973 and 1980; while fertility was high, return migration contributed in a large way to the population increase. Other TTPI employees, though, had either married Saipanese or chose to remain in Saipan, where they were relatively welcomed (particularly compared to the reception of Micronesian government workers on Guam, where, for the most part, they were not welcomed).  In Saipan, these employees had houses, better schools, and better health facilities than in the Freely Associated States. OIA considers these people as “pre-Compact” migrants because they came long before Compact implementation, and either never returned to their home areas, or only returned for short times before returning to Saipan to live and work.  The children of these persons, also, might never have lived in the TTPI areas, so it is not clear, even with both parents having been born in the TTPI, whether or not these persons are Impact persons. 

 

Many other persons originally went to Guam, the CNMI or the United States, either as students or as tourists, and overstayed their visas, and hence, were residing illegally in their respective receiving areas.  The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization officials caught and deported some of these people, but, because of their very small numbers, government officials usually ignored them. When the governments implemented the Compacts of Free Association, these people suddenly became “legal.” Because the governments regularized their immigration status, they no longer had to accept low-wage jobs from employers willing to risk legal sanctions by hiring illegal aliens.

 

Until implementation of the Palau Compact in 1994, many Palauan students paid out-of-state tuition at the University of Guam, the University of Hawaii, and mainland universities, long after the FSM and Marshall Islands students began paying in-state tuition.  These students were now able to reduce their hours working (often at quasi-legal jobs), go to school full-time, finish their schooling and either return to Palau or continue working in the United States. The government would probably consider these people as “pre-Compact” migrants. Once again, it is not clear whether the children of these migrants, many of whom have a non-Micronesian mother or father and have never been outside of the Guam, the CNMI or the United States, should be considered “Compact” persons or not.          

 

Defining “pre-Compact” and “post-Compact” Migrants.  In order to assess the impact of the Compacts of Free Association, it is first necessary to define who is a “pre-Compact” versus “post-Compact” migrant. It is possible, as the Government of Guam does in its impact reporting, to define any person born in Palau, the FSM or the Marshall Islands — whether pre- or post-Compact — as having an impact on social and educational services. It is also possible to adopt the Compact reporting requirements and to look solely at the burden caused by Compact implementation, which means considering only post-Compact migrants. As discussed earlier, this report does not assess the impact of Compact implementation. However, in order to facilitate the use of the information provided in this report, both pre- and post-Compact migrants are included in the analysis. In addition, because the 1997/8 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants enumerated households with at least one Micronesian migrant, the data includes the children of Micronesian migrants as well as their non-Micronesian relatives. For the purposes of this report, and following requirements of the OIA, the surveys classify the members of households into one of the four categories:

 

1.     Post-Compact Migrants are those who migrated after implementation of the Compacts of Free Association (after 1986 for persons born in the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands and after 1994 for persons born in the Republic of Palau).

 

2.     Children of Micronesian Migrants are those children who were not born in one of the Freely Associated States and who have at least one Micronesian-born parent. All children of Micronesian migrants are included in this category, whether or not their parent(s) came before or after the implementation of the Compacts of Free Association, because it is often difficult to determine their pre- and post-Compact “status.”  For example, if a child has at least one Micronesian parent present in the household, the link permits determination of Impact migrant status. However, if a child has two Micronesian parents present who migrated at different times, or if neither parent was present, ambiguities occurred. This study includes all U.S. or territory-born children of Freely Associated States migrants in the category of children of Micronesian migrants


 

3.     Pre-Compact migrants are those who migrated to Guam, the CNMI, or Hawaii before implementation of the Compacts of Free Association (before 1987 for persons born in the FSM or the Marshall Islands or before 1995 for persons born in Palau).

 

4.     Other persons are all non-Micronesian persons living in a household with at least one Micronesian migrant. In most cases, these were non-Micronesian spouses and persons related to those spouses.  In some cases, particularly in the CNMI, maids or other household workers might also be included.

 

Clear definitions of these migrant categories are essential in determining the impact of the population on the receiving areas because the number of “Compact” persons depends on how they are classified. Looking at all persons in households with at least one Micronesian migrant, provides greater total “impact populations” and their characteristics would be different than looking only at the migrants themselves. The same is true if we looked only at the post-Compact migrants; we would have a different population with a different impact. This exercise’s purpose is not to state which set of persons is the “true” impact population.  The wording of the Compact law is sufficiently obscure that different researchers can select different populations for analysis, depending on the actual criteria selected.

 

Because of the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior’s reading of the Compact law, this report will focus on two groups:

 

1) Pre-Compact migrants, and

2) Post-Compact migrants and all children born to Freely Associated States immigrants not born in Micronesia.

 

In order to assess the maximum impact that immigration initiated by Compact implementation is having on Guam, the CNMI and Hawaii, all non-migrant children are included in the post-Compact category, regardless of when their parents actually arrived in the receiving areas.

 

One caveat is that when households had members of more than one Freely Associated States, the household was placed in one or the other group, usually by the enumerator who got to the house first (but finally determined by the Census coordinator).  This situation did not happen very often and should not have appreciably affected the results. Hence, in a few cases, when a Chuukese married a Palauan, for example, the individuals would appear in their appropriate country statistics, but the household characteristics would only appear for one or the other.

 

Table 3.1 shows the almost 25,000 persons collected in the 2003 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Guam, Hawaii, and Saipan.  As will be discussed later, data were only collected on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands because of the small numbers of Micronesian migrants on Rota and Tinian; and, for Hawaii, funding did not permit an enumeration of all characteristics of migrants living on the neighbor islands (all Hawaiian islands except Oahu.)

 

Table 3.1. Population by Freely Associated State, all Receiving Places: 2003

 

Number

Percent

Population

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

    Total

24,607

17,286

3,304

3,768

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Impact population

20,698

15,514

2,901

2,283

84.1

89.7

87.8

60.6

  Impact adult

14,992

11,427

2,378

1,187

60.9

66.1

72.0

31.5

  Impact child

5,706

4,087

523

1,096

23.2

23.6

15.8

29.1

Other FAS

1,681

873

117

691

6.8

5.1

3.5

18.3

Others

2,228

899

286

794

9.1

5.2

8.7

21.1

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

The numbers in Table 3.1 do not sum to the total because 290 persons could not be assigned as FSM, Marshalls or Palau migrants.  These persons were living in households containing Micronesian migrants and were either undefined in-laws of the Migrants, or were not related at all (particularly roommates of single, unmarried Micronesians.)  They constituted about one percent of the enumerated populations.

In cases where the Freely Associated State population could not be immediately defined because persons from different FAS were living together, either as a married couple, as unmarried partners, or as single unmarried persons of more than one FAS, a computer program used certain criteria for placement within an FAS group.  If the householder was born in Palau, had a parent born in Palau, or was “associated” with a Palau State through any other characteristics, that person, and therefore, the household, became a Palau household.  If not, if the householder was born in the Marshall Islands, had a parent born in the Marshall Islands, or was “associated” with the Marshall Islands through any other criteria, that person, and therefore, the household, became a Marshalls household.  If no one was Palauan or Marshallese, if the householder was born in FSM, had a parent born in FSM, or was “associated” with an FSM State through any other criteria, that person, and therefore, the household, became an FSM household.  Very few ambiguous situations occurred.  After these procedures, the 209 persons remained.

 

Of the 24,067 persons, 17,286 (about 70.2 percent) were FSM associated, 3,304 (13.4 percent) were from the Marshalls, and 3,768 (15.3 percent) were Palau associated.  As defined by the law determining the distribution of funds based on these censuses, a computer program also determined the “impact population.”   The impact population results from the sum of persons born in an FAS and migrating in 1987 or later AND any children less than 18 years old of anyone migrating from an FAS (whether or not that person came before or after the implementation of the FSM and RMI first Compacts).  Table 3.1 shows each of the categories separately, as well as the sum of the two.  Also, the table shows a third category containing pre-Compact migrants – that is, those born in a Freely Associated State, but migrating to Guam, CNMI, or Hawaii before 1987 AND any children aged 18 years and over of migrants.  A fourth category shows persons who were neither migrants nor the children of migrants – these are persons from other places either married into a migrant family, or were living with migrants.  When an association with an FAS migrant could be determined, they were “associated” with the sending population; when no association was determined, they became part of the 290 “others” and are not shown elsewhere in the tables in this report.

 

The FSM had the largest number of impact migrants (15,514 or almost 90 percent of their total enumerated populations in the 3 receiving areas), followed by the Marshalls (at 88 percent) and Palau (at about 61 percent).  Palauan migration, particularly to Guam and the CNMI, has been going on for a long time.  This continued migration is reflected in the 18 percent of its population having migrated before 1987 or being older children of migrants.  Although the Compact implementation between Palau and the U.S. occurred in 1994, the earlier date – 1987 – keeps consistency among the three areas in all 2003 tabulations.

 

Palau had the largest percentage of children of migrants (at almost 30 percent), nearly the same as its post-Compact migrants.  However, while 66 percent of the FSM impact migrants were actual post-Compact migrants (and 24 percent were children), the Marshalls had an even higher percentage being post-Compact migrants (72 percent) and the lowest percentage of children (16 percent). 

 

Table 3.2 shows the distribution of migrants by FAS to the CNMI.  Of the 5,287 people enumerated in the census, 3,570 (more than 2/3rd) were impact migrants – 2,312 were FSM, 1,163 were Palauans, and 95 were Marshallese. About 39 percent were adult migrants who came to the CNMI in 1987 or later, and about 29 percent were non-migrant children less than 18 years old.  The figures for Marshallese in both the CNMI and Guam were very small, compared to those for Hawaii, and, for a census of the migrants to the U.S. mainland, for them as well.  Because of the small number of RMI migrants to CNMI and Guam, the percentages varied considerably, so analysts should use both numbers and percents with considerable caution.

 

Table 3.2. Population by Freely Associated State, CNMI: 2003

CNMI

Number

Percent

Population

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

    Total

5,287

3,097

158

2,002

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Impact population

3,570

2,312

95

1,163

67.5

74.7

60.1

58.1

  Impact adult

2,051

1,462

46

543

38.8

47.2

29.1

27.1

  Impact child

1,519

850

49

620

28.7

27.4

31.0

31.0

Other FAS

674

308

22

344

12.7

9.9

13.9

17.2

Others

1,043

477

41

495

19.7

15.4

25.9

24.7

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

For Palauans, in fact, the CNMI was the favored destination.  Of the 2,283 Palauan impact migrants in the three receiving places, more than half were in the CNMI, compared to about 4 in 10 in Guam, and the remaining 1 in 10 in Hawaii.  Part of this has to do with the long history of Palauans in Saipan – first in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) government, followed by the openness of succeeding CNMI governments to employ non-CNMI Micronesians, particularly Palauans.  Hence, the movement of Palauans to CNMI continued after implementation of the Compact.

 

Table 3.3. Population by Freely Associated State, Guam: 2003

Guam

Number

Percent

Population

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

    Total

10,963

9,098

215

1,432

100

100

100

100

Impact population

9,831

8,709

208

914

89.7

95.7

96.7

63.8

  Impact adult

6,862

6,257

143

462

62.6

68.8

66.5

32.3

  Impact child

2,969

2,452

65

452

27.1

27

30.2

31.6

Other FAS

599

305

7

287

5.5

3.4

3.3

20

Others

533

84

        -  

231

4.9

0.9

0

16.1

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

Table 3.3 shows the distribution of migrants for Guam.  The 2003 Guam Census enumerated 10,963 people, and of that total, 9,831 were impact migrants; 8,709 of the enumerated population were FSM impact migrants.   More than 6,000 people migrated from the FSM to Guam after implementation of the Compact in 1987, and another 2,452 were impact children.  As in CNMI, for Palauans, about half were impact-migrant Palauans and about half were children of migrants.

 

Table 3.4 shows the results of the 2003 Hawaii Census.  Of the 8,357 people enumerated in that census, about 87 percent were impact migrants, with most of them being migrants – 73 percent of the enumerated population migrated to Hawaii in 1987 or later, while about 15 percent were impact children.  Of that 7,297 impact migrants, 4,493 (62 percent) were FSM impact migrants, 2,598 (36 percent) RMI, and 206 (3 percent) Palau.

 

Table 3.4. Population by Freely Associated State, Hawaii: 2003

Hawaii

Number

Percent

Population

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

    Total

8,357

5,091

2,931

334

100

100

100

100

Impact population

7,297

4,493

2,598

206

87.3

88.3

88.6

61.7

  Impact adult

6,079

3,708

2,189

182

72.7

72.8

74.7

54.5

  Impact child

1,218

785

409

24

14.6

15.4

14

7.2

Other FAS

408

260

88

60

4.9

5.1

3

18

Others

652

338

245

68

7.8

6.6

8.4

20.4

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

Table 3.5 shows the distribution of the various FAS enumerated populations by place of association and receiving area.  As noted above, more than 70 percent of all enumerated persons were FSM associated, compared to 13 percent for Marshallese, and 15 percent for Palauans.  The percentage of FSM associated people was largest in Guam (at 83 percent), but similar for CNMI (59 percent) and Hawaii (61 percent).  While 3 percent or less of the FAS associated populations in Guam and CNMI were Marshallese, this group made up more than 35 percent of the FAS associated population in Hawaii, showing a strong Eastward trend for Marshallese migrants.  This trend is not surprising since Hawaii is much closer to the Marshalls than Guam and CNMI are – and offers more social and economic opportunity.

 

 

 

Table 3.5. Migrant Populations by Receiving Place, Sending FAS, and Type: 2003

Place

 

 Impact population

 Other

 

 

 Impact population

 Other

 

FAS

     Total

 Total

 Migrants

 Children

 FAS

 Others

     Total

 Total

 Migrants

 Children

 FAS

 Others

     Total

24,607

20,698

14,992

5,706

1,681

2,228

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  FSM

17,286

15,514

11,427

4,087

873

899

70.2

75.0

76.2

71.6

51.9

40.4

  RMI

3,304

2,901

2,378

523

117

286

13.4

14.0

15.9

9.2

7.0

12.8

  Palau

3,768

2,283

1,187

1,096

691

794

15.3

11.0

7.9

19.2

41.1

35.6

CNMI

5,287

3,570

2,051

1,519

674

1,043

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  FSM

3,097

2,312

1,462

850

308

477

58.6

64.8

71.3

56.0

45.7

45.7

  RMI

158

95

46

49

22

41

3.0

2.7

2.2

3.2

3.3

3.9

  Palau

2,002

1,163

543

620

344

495

37.9

32.6

26.5

40.8

51.0

47.5

Guam

10,963

9,831

6,862

2,969

599

533

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  FSM

9,098

8,709

6,257

2,452

305

84

83.0

88.6

91.2

82.6

50.9

15.8

  RMI

215

208

143

65

7

       -  

2.0

2.1

2.1

2.2

1.2

0.0

  Palau

1,432

914

462

452

287

231

13.1

9.3

6.7

15.2

47.9

43.3

Hawaii

8,357

7,297

6,079

1,218

408

652

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  FSM

5,091

4,493

3,708

785

260

338

60.9

61.6

61.0

64.4

63.7

51.8

  RMI

2,931

2,598

2,189

409

88

245

35.1

35.6

36.0

33.6

21.6

37.6

  Palau

334

206

182

24

60

68

4.0

2.8

3.0

2.0

14.7

10.4

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

While about 38 percent of the CNMI FAS enumerated population was Palauan, this group made up only 13 percent of the Guam migrants, and only 4 percent of those in Hawaii. 

 

The impact migrants were even more FSM associated.  Fully 3 of every 4 impact migrants in the censuses were FSM associated, compared to about 1 in every 7 being Marshallese, and slightly more than 1 in 10 being Palau associated.  More than 9 in every 10 of the FAS associated post-Compact migrants on Guam were FSM, compared to about 7 in 10 in CNMI and 6 in 10 in Hawaii.

 

Finally, Table 3.6 shows the same numbers arranged by sending population rather than receiving area.  Here about 22 percent of the FAS associated people in the censuses were in the CNMI, compared to 45 percent for Guam, and 34 percent of Hawaii.  The percentage for the impact migrants only was higher for Guam (almost 48 percent), and Hawaii but somewhat lower for the CNMI, with CNMI having a larger proportion of pre-Compact migrants than the other two receiving areas.


 

Table 3.6. Migrant Populations by Sending FAS, Receiving Place, and Type: 2003

FAS

 

 Impact population

 Other

 

 

 Impact population

 Other

 

Place

     Total

 Total

 Migrants

 Children

 FAS

 Others

     Total

 Total

 Migrants

 Children

 FAS

 Others

     Total

24,607

20,698

14,992

5,706

1,681

2,228

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  CNMI

5,287

3,570

2,051

1,519

674

1,043

21.5

17.2

13.7

26.6

40.1

46.8

  Guam

10,963

9,831

6,862

2,969

599

533

44.6

47.5

45.8

52.0

35.6

23.9

  Hawaii

8,357

7,297

6,079

1,218

408

652

34.0

35.3

40.5

21.3

24.3

29.3

FSM

17,286

15,514

11,427

4,087

873

899

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  CNMI

3,097

2,312

1,462

850

308

477

17.9

14.9

12.8

20.8

35.3

53.1

  Guam

9,098

8,709

6,257

2,452

305

84

52.6

56.1

54.8

60.0

34.9

9.3

  Hawaii

5,091

4,493

3,708

785

260

338

29.5

29.0

32.4

19.2

29.8

37.6

RMI

3,304

2,901

2,378

523

117

286

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  CNMI

158

95

46

49

22

41

4.8

3.3

1.9

9.4

18.8

14.3

  Guam

215

208

143

65

7

       -  

6.5

7.2

6.0

12.4

6.0

0.0

  Hawaii

2,931

2,598

2,189

409

88

245

88.7

89.6

92.1

78.2

75.2

85.7

Palau

3,768

2,283

1,187

1,096

691

794

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

  CNMI

2,002

1,163

543

620

344

495

53.1

50.9

45.7

56.6

49.8

62.3

  Guam

1,432

914

462

452

287

231

38.0

40.0

38.9

41.2

41.5

29.1

  Hawaii

334

206

182

24

60

68

8.9

9.0

15.3

2.2

8.7

8.6

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

As noted previously, the 2003 censuses continued a series of surveys and censuses funded by the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior.  These surveys assist in measuring the impact of the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and the Freely Associated States of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.  These surveys started in the early 1990s in Guam (1992) and the CNMI (1993), and have continued, while being un-mandated until recently.  While later chapters look at the longer-term changes in numbers of percentages of migrants, here looking at the change during the period from 1997/1998, as in the first extensive report.

 

In making comparisons between 1997/1998 and 2003, it is important to remember that the criteria for inclusion as an impact migrant changes slightly between the two enumerations.  As noted, in 2003, children of migrants were included only if they were less than 18 years old.  However, for the 1997/1998 enumerations, all children of migrants, no matter what their age, were included.  However, in 1997 and 1998, almost no people were children of migrants 18 years and over, since the migration had only been going for about 10 years.  In both censuses, children of migrants were included no matter when their parents migrated.  We had to use this procedure because many children could be identified directly only if their parent was in the household (for example, child of householder); otherwise we could not make a direct match.

 

As noted for 2003, for the 1997/1998 period, the distribution of migrants among the pre-migrant, post-migrant, children of migrants and “other person” categories varied among both receiving states and among the Palauan, FSM and RMI migrant communities.  Table 3.7 shows the number of persons enumerated by the census of Micronesian migrants in Hawaii in 1997 and 2003. As can be seen, the census collected information on 6,744 persons in 1997 but 8,357 in 2003, an increase of 24 percent during the 6 years.  In 1997, almost 5,000 were post-Compact migrants, 700 were children of migrants, and 600 were pre-Compact migrants.  The survey enumerated about 3,800 persons as FSM migrants and their families, 2,500 Marshallese, and about 500 Palauans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3.7.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to Hawaii: 1997 and 2003

 

 

 

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

6,744

3,786

2,472

486

8,357

5,091

2,931

334

Post-Compact migrants and children

5,509

3,312

2,070

127

7,297

4,493

2,598

206

Pre-Compact migrants

610

232

185

193

408

260

88

60

Other persons in the households

625

242

217

166

652

338

245

68

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 


Table 3.7 shows that the number of enumerated FAS associated persons increased considerably from 1997 to 2003, except for the Palauans.  The FSM migrants increased from about 3,800 to 5,100, the RMI population by about 500 people, but the Palauan population decreased by about 150.  On the other hand, the population of Palau impact migrants increased, along with the others.

 

Table 3.8 shows that of the 6,744 persons enumerated in Hawaii in 1997, 82 percent were post-Compact migrants or their children (71 percent were post-Compact migrants only and 10 percent were their non-Micronesian born children), 9 percent were pre-Compact migrants and 9 percent were other persons. About 486 (7 percent) were Palauan, 3,786 (56 percent) were associated with the Federated States of Micronesia, and 2,472 (37 percent) were associated with the Marshall Islands.  Nonetheless, all of the groups showed a larger percentage of impact migrants in 2003 from 1997.

 

Table 3.8.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to Hawaii: 1997 and 2003

 

 

 

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

6,744

3,786

2,472

486

8,357

5,091

2,931

334

Post-Compact migrants and children

81.7

87.5

83.7

26.1

87.3

88.3

88.6

61.7

Pre-Compact migrants

9.0

6.1

7.5

39.7

4.9

5.1

3.0

18.0

Other persons in the households

9.3

6.4

8.8

34.2

7.8

6.6

8.4

20.4

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

Table 3.9 shows the number of persons enumerated by the census of Micronesian migrants in Guam in 1997 and 2003. The 1997 census collected information on 8,338 persons compared to 10,963 in 2003.   The number of impact migrants increased from 6,550 to 9,831 during the period, a 50 percent increase.  On the other hand, the number of pre-Compact migrants actually decreased, either because they returned to the FAS, or moved on, to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.  The FSM migrants were the overwhelming majority, with very few enumerated from the Marshall Islands.

 

Table 3.9.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to Guam: 1997 and 2003.

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

8,338

6,949

132

1,257

10,963

9,098

215

1,432

Post-Compact migrants and children

6,550

6,325

123

102

9,831

8,709

208

914

Pre-Compact migrants

730

270

2

458

599

305

7

287

Other persons in the households

1,058

354

7

697

533

84

0

231

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3.10 shows that of the 8,338 persons in 1997, 79 percent were post-Compact migrants or their children, 9 percent were pre-Compact migrants and 13 percent were other persons. By 2003, almost 90 percent were impact migrants, and about 5 percent each were pre-Compact migrants or “others.”  Because of the change in definition between the 1997 and 2003 enumerations, the percent of Palauan impact migrants increased from 8 percent to 64 percent during the 6 year period.  However, as noted above, since 1994 was used as the dividing line for Palauans in 1997, and with the traditional delay between changing a law and its impact on the population, the earlier number, while valid, doesn’t tell us as much as it might about trends.

 

Table 3.10.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to Guam: 1997 and 2003.

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

8,338

6,949

132

1,257

10,963

9,098

215

1,432

Post-Compact migrants and children

78.6

91.0

93.2

8.1

89.7

95.7

96.7

63.8

Pre-Compact migrants

8.8

3.9

1.5

36.4

5.5

3.4

3.3

20.0

Other persons in the households

12.7

5.1

5.3

55.4

4.9

0.9

0.0

16.1

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 


Table 3.11 shows the number of persons enumerated by the censuses of Micronesian migrants in the CNMI in 1998 and 2003. The 1998 census collected information on 4,469 persons, while the 2003 enumerated 5,287 people.  In 1998, about 1,200 were post-Compact migrants, 600 were children of migrants, and another 1,200 were pre-Compact migrants.  The other persons were not migrants or their children, but could have been third or later generation persons of Micronesian migrant ethnicities.  For example, the children of children of Palauan migrants would not be included because neither they nor their parents were born outside of the CNMI.  The number of post-Compact migrants doubled between 1998 and 2003 – from 1,755 in 1998 to 3,570 in 2003.  The FSM migrants increased by about 50 percent, the Marshallese by about 20 people, but the Palauans by almost 1,000 people.

 

Table 3.11.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to CNMI: 1998 and 2003

 

1998

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

4,469

2,199

116

2,154

5,287

3,097

158

2,002

Post-Compact migrants and children

1,755

1,503

7 4

178

3,570

2,312

95

1,163

Pre-Compact migrants

1,192

289

18

885

674

308

22

344

Other persons in the households

1,522

407

24

1,091

1,043

477

41

495

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

Of the 4,500 migrants to the CNMI in 1998, 39 percent were post-Compact migrants or their children, 27 percent were pre-Compact migrants and 34 percent were other persons (Table 3.12).   About 2/3rd of the 2003 migrants were post-Compact, including 3/4th of the FSM associated people, The percentages of both pre-Compact people and “others” decreased during the 5-year period.

 

Table 3.12.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to CNMI: 1998 and 2003

 

 

 

 

1998

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

4,469

2,199

116

2,154

5,287

3,097

158

2,002

Post-Compact migrants and children

39.3

68.3

63.8

8.3

67.5

74.7

60.1

58.1

Pre-Compact migrants

26.7

13.1

15.5

41.1

12.7

9.9

13.9

17.2

Other persons in the households

34.1

18.5

20.7

50.6

19.7

15.4

25.9

24.7

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

For 1997, the percentage of post-Compact migrants in the CNMI is smaller than either Guam or Hawaii, which can be partially explained by the later implementation of the Compact in Palau.  About 2,154 (48 percent) were from Palau, 2,199 (49 percent) were associated with the Federated States of Micronesia, and 116 (3 percent) were associated with the Marshall Islands.  Clearly, Marshallese migrants were much more likely to go to Hawaii than either Guam or the CNMI, probably because Hawaii is closer to the Marshalls and has more affordable housing, food and other amenities.

 

Table 3.13 shows the number of persons enumerated by all three censuses for these years.  In total, the 1997/1998 censuses collected information on 19,551 persons compared to 24,607 for 2003---an increase of 5,056 people (and 26 percent) during the 6 year period.  Of 1997 total, more than 13,800 were post-Compact migrants (and children), about 2,500 were pre-Compact migrants, and, about 3,200 other persons lived in these households.  By 2003, the figures for post-Compact migrants increased, as would be expected, while the numbers for pre-Compact migrants and “others” decreased: 20,700 post-compact migrants (and the children), 1,700 pre-Compact migrants, and 2,200 others.  The FSM enumerated population was about 2/3rd of the total for the three areas. RMI also contributed substantially to the post-Compact component, while most of the Palauans, partly because of the later Compact implementation date, were mostly pre-Compact migrants.

 

Table 3.13.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to All Areas: 1997, 1998 and 2003

 

 

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

19,551

12,934

2,720

3,897

24,607

17,286

3,304

3,768

Post-Compact migrants and children

13,814

11,140

2,267

407

20,698

15,514

2,901

2,283

Pre-Compact migrants

2,532

791

205

1,536

1,681

873

117

691

Other persons in the households

3,205

1,003

248

1,954

2,228

899

286

794

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

Of the 20,000 persons in the three censuses in 1997, 71 percent were post-Compact migrants or their children, 13 percent were pre-Compact migrants and 16 percent were other persons compared to the 2003 census totals of 84 percent for impact migrants, 7 percent for pre-Compact migrants, and 9 percent “others.” (Table 3.14).  In 1997/1998, approximately 10 percent of Palau born were post-Compact migrants or the children of migrants, compared to 86 percent for FSM and 83 percent for the Marshall Islands.  By 2003, Palau post-Compact impact migrants increased to more than 61 percent, while the other two percentages also increased as well.  Undoubtedly, reporting problems which were present in both 1997/1998 and 2003 for Palauans accounted for much of the increase.

 

Table 3.14.  Pre- and Post-Compact Migrants to All Areas: 1997, 1998 and 2003

 

 

 

1997/1998

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

     Total

19,551

12,934

2,720

3,897

24,607

17,286

3,304

3,768

Post-Compact migrants and children

70.7

86.1

83.3

10.4

84.1

89.7

87.8

60.6

Pre-Compact migrants

13.0

6.1

7.5

39.4

6.8

5.1

3.5

18.3

Other persons in the households

16.4

7.8

9.1

50.1

9.1

5.2

8.7

21.1

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

We will look at just two variables using the various selection criteria to get a better idea of how the migrant categories might influence the extent of the impact of the immigration resulting for the implementation of the Compacts of Free Association. 

 

Table 3.15 shows the labor force participation (LFP) rates of the people 16 years and older in the labor force for Freely Associated States in Hawaii in 1997 and 2003.  In 1997, the total LFP rate was 47 percent, meaning that less than half of the population 16 years and over was in the labor force (whether employed or unemployed); in 2003, only 45 percent were in the labor force. The percentage of impact migrants remained about the same, at under 45 percent.  The percentage of impact children in the labor force, however, decreased considerably, perhaps due to these children staying in school longer.  In 1997, 58 percent of the Palauan adults were in the labor force (vs. 60 percent in 2003), compared to 54 percent of the FSM associated persons (and 50 percent in 2003) but only 33 percent of the Marshallese (which stayed about the same in 2003).

 

Table 3.15.  Labor Force Participation of Migrants to Hawaii: 1997 and 2003

 

1997

2003

Group

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

    Total

47.1

53.5

32.5

58.2

45.4

50.0

33.8

60.4

Impact adult

44.7

52.6

29.7

48.6

44.1

49.0

33.0

60.7

Impact child

41.9

42.9

42.9

0.0

21.7

18.2

14.3

40.0

Other FAS

58.1

65.8

45.8

59.7

58.8

63.1

45.5

60.0

Others

54.9

50.9

48.7

65.7

50.2

49.6

40.4

61.8

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

In 1997, more than 58 percent of the pre-Compact migrants were in the labor force (60 percent of the Palauans, 66 percent of the FSM migrants, and 46 percent of the Marshallese), compared to only 45 percent of the post-Compact migrants.  This latter figure is not completely surprising since many of the migrants arrived in Hawaii only shortly before the census.  These persons may not have had time to get a job, or, like many persons just joining the work force, may have been moving in and out of entry-level jobs until they established themselves as workers.  About 48 percent of the Palauans, 53 percent of the FSM migrants, and 30 percent of the Marshallese post-Compact migrants were in the labor force.

 

For 1997, it is also important to note that about 55 percent of the “others” in Freely Associated States households were in the labor force, significantly higher than the Freely Associated States migrants themselves, indicating that marriage with an outsider boosts labor force participation within the household.  Almost 2/3rds of the “others” in Palau associated households were in the labor force compared to about half of those in FSM and Marshall Islands households.

 

Therefore, the rates of labor force participation for the Freely Associated States migrants differ depending on the inclusion criteria in the "impact” population.

 

A second variable — per capita income — further illustrates the differences, depending on selection criteria. We calculated per capita income by dividing all of the income obtained by a population in a year by the number of people in that population. Income from all sources — earnings, own business income, interest and dividends, welfare, etc — is usually included in the per capita income determination, as it is here.  The per capita income for 1996 for the post-Compact Impact migrants in the 1997 Hawaii Census of Micronesian Migrant was  $3,759 (Table 3.16). The per capita income for post-Compact Palau associated migrants was $4,688, more than that of either FSM ($4,213) or the Marshall Islands ($2,977).  Pre-Compact migrants presented a much more positive impact.  They had per capita incomes of about $13,622 -- $15,372 for Palauans, $17,629 for FSM, but only $6,770 for RMI.

 

Table 3.16 Per Capita Income in the year before the Census of Migrants in Hawaii: 1997 and 2003

 

 

1997

2003

 Group

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Total

 FSM

 RMI

 Palau

 Impact migrants

$3,759

$4,213

$2,977

$4,688

$5,691

$6,278

$4,537

$7,454

 Impact adult

$4,278

$4,859

$3,338

$4,840

$6,813

$7,588

$5,374

$8,344

 Impact child

$163

$194

$103

 

$91

$88

$60

$700

 Other FAS

$13,622

$17,629

$6,770

$15,372

$13,461

$12,747

$13,512

$16,485

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

The Marshallese had the lowest per capita incomes across the board, but even here, the pre-Compact per capita income of almost $7,000 was more than double that of the post-Compact migrants showing that length of residence has a positive impact on income levels (as represented by the per capita numbers). Once again, the per capita income levels changed rather dramatically depending on what criteria were used to determine the "impact” population.

 


We can summarize the distribution of pre-Compact and post-Compact Impact migrants for the three sending areas and three receiving areas, as in Table 3.11.  As noted before, of the 16,346 migrants and children, 7,280 were in Guam in 1997, 6,119 were in Hawaii in 1997, and 2,947 were in the CNMI in 1998(Table 3.17). Almost 12,000 of the migrants were from the FSM, while about 2,500 came from the Marshall Islands, and less than 2,000 from Palau (which was still about 1/6th of the Palau-born population in Palau itself.)

 

Of the 16,000 migrants and children, almost 14,000 (85 percent) were post-Compact Impact migrants, and about 2,500 (15 percent) were pre-Compact migrants.  This last group was heavily influenced by the late implementation of the Palau Compact — 1,500 (more than 60 percent) of the 2,500 were Palau born.

 

These tables show that the numbers of migrants are small in international terms, and even compared to the size of the receiving populations of Guam, Hawaii, and the CNMI.  However, the migrant populations are very large as a segment of the sending populations.

 

Finally, Table 3.17 shows another aspect of the difficulties in determining exactly who should and who should not be included in an analysis of the impact of the Micronesian migrants.  We included only Impact migrants, and so excluded non-FAS spouses and other relatives.  Of the 16,346 first and second-generation migrants in the three areas in 1997, more than 2,000 were actually born in the receiving areas.  Most of these children, of course, had parents born in the FSM, but about 300 had parents born in the Marshalls and about 50 had parents born in Palau.  Hence, 87 percent of the migrants and children were born outside the receiving area — 85 percent of the FSM migrants were born outside of the receiving areas compared to 89 percent of the Marshallese and 97 percent of the Palauans.

 

Table 3.17. Migrants and Children by FAS, Receiving Place, and Period of Migration: 1997/1998 and 2003

 

2003

1997/1998

Place

Born in this Area

Migrants

Born in this Area

Migrants

FAS

Total

Number

Percent

Total

Post

Percent

Pre

Total

Number

Percent

Total

Post

Percent

Pre

    Total

24,358

6,859

28.2

17,499

15,735

89.9

1,764

16,346

2,112

12.9

14,234

12,419

87.2

1,815

  Palau

3,768

1,659

44.0

2,109

1,365

64.7

744

1,943

54

2.8

1,889

1,060

56.1

829

  FSM

17,286

4,479

25.9

12,807

11,907

93.0

900

11,931

1,784

15.0

10,147

9,364

92.3

783

  RMI

3,304

721

21.8

2,583

2,463

95.4

120

2,472

274

11.1

2,198

1,995

90.8

203

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             -  

Hawaii

8,356

1,443

17.3

6,913

6,478

93.7

435

6,119

640

10.5

5,479

4,939

90.1

540

  Palau

334

45

13.5

289

220

76.1

69

320

4

1.3

316

187

59.2

129

  FSM

5,091

825

16.2

4,266

3,990

93.5

276

3,544

408

11.5

3,136

2,908

92.7

228

  RMI

2,931

573

19.5

2,358

2,268

96.2

90

2,255

228

10.1

2,027

1,844

91.0

183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             -  

Guam

10,745

3,054

28.4

7,691

7,066

91.9

625

7,280

1,016

14.0

6,264

5,694

90.9

570

  Palau

1,432

592

41.3

840

531

63.2

309

560

15

2.7

545

245

45.0

300

  FSM

9,098

2,401

26.4

6,697

6,388

95.4

309

6,595

988

15.0

5,607

5,338

95.2

269

  RMI

215

61

28.4

154

147

95.5

7

125

13

10.4

112

111

99.1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             -  

CNMI

5,257

2,362

44.9

2,895

2,191

75.7

704

2,947

456

15.5

2,491

1,786

71.7

705

  Palau

2,002

1,022

51.0

980

614

62.7

366

1,063

35

3.3

1,028

628

61.1

400

  FSM

3,097

1,253

40.5

1,844

1,529

82.9

315

1,792

388

21.7

1,404

1,118

79.6

286

  RMI

158

87

55.1

71

48

67.6

23

92

33

35.9

59

40

67.8

19

Source: Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam and CNMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 2003, as would be expected, many more persons were post-Compact migrants.  The percentage of Receiving Place-born people also increased considerably.  For example, while 13 percent of the 1997/1998 population was born in the Area, that figure more than doubled to 28 percent in 2003.   About 44 percent of the Palau population were born in Area, compared to 26 percent of the FSM associated and 22 percent of the Marshalls associated.  The relationship between pre- and post-Compact migrants showed less change.

The data show a snapshot of the population at the time of enumeration in each of the two censuses.  The migration flows show generally continued migration in 1990s.  Of course, we show only net migration.  It is important to remember in assessing flows that some return migration also occurs over time, so it is dangerous to use estimates from continuing sources.  Tax data, for example, will include persons who were in an area some time during the year — some people might be in the area at the beginning of the year and leave, others might come to the area partway through.  Depending on when the census is taken, we might count both of these individuals, only one of them, or neither.  The snapshot approach is not perfect, but it does allow us to see a kind of change over time by taking a series of snapshots, and then assessing what we have.

 

In this paper we use additional sources besides the series of Office of Insular Affairs Surveys: The United States collected the 1990 Decennial Census on Guam and in the CNMI.  These data sets are used here, in both published and unpublished form, to provide insight into the numbers and characteristics of pre- and post-Compact Micronesian migrants.  During the early 1990s, the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior, funded two surveys: the first, a 1992 census of Micronesians residing on Guam, was supervised by Donald Rubinstein, an anthropologist at the University of Guam.  The second funded survey was a 1993 survey of Micronesians (from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau) residing in the CNMI.  Data from the 1995 Census of the Northern Mariana Islands are also being used, with the approval of the Central Statistics Division, Department of Commerce, CNMI.  The University of Guam collected a survey of Palauans on Guam in 1995.  Some data from that survey are used here.  Finally, in 1997, the Office of Insular Affairs funded censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam, and the CNMI.

 

In the following three chapters we will look only at the Impact migrants.  Again, Impact migrants are people (2) who were born in a Freely Associated State but who migrated to Guam, CNMI, or Hawaii in 1987 or later or (2) were children less than 18 years old of migrants of any year.  In this chapter we look at migrants to Guam.  We already described how the different sets of migrants were identified.  The International Programs Center developed a computer package in the Census Bureau’s Integrated Microcomputer Processing System (IMPS) Consistency and Correction (CONCOR) edit package.  We used CONCOR to add a variable to each person and housing record for the 1997 and 2003 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii and Guam and the 1998 and 2003 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to the CNMI to indicate migration group for that person. 

 

For the CNMI, in addition to the 1998 Census of Micronesian Migrants to Saipan, we used the 1995 CNMI Census results to obtain more information about Freely Associated States migrant trends to the Commonwealth.  Also, in order to see changes in the post-Compact migrant populations, we also used data from the 1990 Censuses of the CNMI and Guam.  As noted elsewhere in this paper, the 1990 Census of Hawaii could not provide useful comparative data, so the data presented here use data only from the 1997/8 Censuses of Micronesian migrants.

 

In order to use the 1990 Census data for Guam and CNMI and the 1995 CNMI data, Michael T. Stroot and Michael J. Levin of the Census Bureau’s International Programs Center developed a research subset from the censuses.  The subset contained only those households containing at least one person born in one of the Freely Associated States areas — Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Marshall Islands.  These new data sets were comparable to the data sets collected in the 1997/8 Censuses of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii, Guam, and the CNMI, since in 1997/8, we collected data only from households having at least one Micronesian migrant.  So, the analysis uses the following data sets: the 1990 Guam Census subset and data from the 1997 Census of Micronesian Migrants to Guam; the 1990 and 1995 CNMI Censuses, and the 1998 Saipan Census of Micronesian migrants; and, the 1997 Census of Micronesian Migrants to Hawaii.

 


CHAPTER 4

 

NUMBERS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF MICRONESIAN MIGRANTS IN GUAM

This chapter looks at the changing numbers and characteristics of the Micronesian migrants to Guam.

 

4.1          Demography

 

The earliest Micronesian migrants to Guam — like the earliest migrants in most migration streams — were predominantly young males in search of jobs.  Many of the original households were inherently unstable, composed as they were of several young men in their twenties or thirties working at low-paying jobs and pooling their income to cover rent and other expenditures (Hezel and McGrath 1989:58-60).  In the absence of a more viable authority structure and generational depth, such "peer-group households," as Rubinstein terms them, were continually "dissolving and reforming, with new arrivals coming in, others moving out" (Rubinstein 1993:260).  Rubinstein went on to note the gradual evolution of this fragile type of household into more typically Micronesian forms. 

 

Table 4.1 shows the age distribution of earliest migrants – the Micronesians on Guam at about the time of the implementation of the Compacts.  Unfortunately, the government of Guam chose not to make an accounting of all Micronesians at the time of the implementation, so we use these data collected using other than Census Bureau methods to obtain a base population.  According to this survey, the 3,240 migrants were about 2/3rds Chuukese, with the rest of the FSM States and others (possibly Marshallese and Palauans) making up the rest.   The median age – the age with half the population being older and half being younger – was about 23.

 

Table 4.1. FSM Migrants of Guam by Age and State: 1988

Age Group

Total

Yap

Chuuk

Pohnpei

Kosrae

Others

Total

3,240

318

2,143

377

135

267

Less than 5 years

485

32

243

28

16

166

5 to 9 years

228

18

147

24

8

31

10 to 14 years

181

9

130

26

2

14

15 to 19 years

344

42

230

50

13

9

20 to 24 years

621

86

423

78

23

11

25 to 29 years

552

57

398

58

26

13

30 to 34 years

350

34

240

46

21

9

35 to 39 years

189

15

121

28

21

4

40 to 44 years

121

16

81

19

3

2

45 to 49 years

66

1

53

6

1

5

50 to 54 years

42

3

32

5

1

1

55 to 59 years

27

1

23

3

-

-

60 to 64 years

14

1

9

4

-

-

65 to 69 years

11

1

9

-

-

1

70 to 74 years

5

-

3

2

-

-

75 years and over

4

2

1

-

-

1

Median

23.1

23.4

23.8

23.9

26.1

NA

Source: 1988 Census of FSM Migrants to Guam

 

 

 

 

As noted, single male migrants tend to arrive as the beachhead, followed by young married males and young females, and then other family members.  In 1988, the population was skewed male, with about 1800 males and 1400 females.  Females made up about 44 percent of the migrant population, but more than half of the Pohnpeians (Table 4.2).

 

Table 4.2. FSM Migrants of Guam by Sex and State: 1988

 

 

Age Group

Total

Yap

Chuuk

Pohnpei

Kosrae

Others

    Total

3,240

318

2,143

377

135

267

Males

1,824

207

1,214

185

80

138

Females

1,416

111

929

192

55

129

    Percent

43.7

34.9

43.4

50.9

40.7

48.3

Source: 1988 Census of FSM Migrants to Guam

 

 

Since the 1988 data were collected by priests, it is not surprising that religion was one of the variables.  In the sample they collected, slightly more than half the population of migrants was Catholic.  Since the history of missionization in Micronesia saw the Catholics move from West to East and the Protestants from East to West, the figures in table 4.3 are expected: about 92 percent of Yapese migrants were Catholic compared to only 5 percent of Kosrae’s (although Kosrae’s total numbers were small).

 

 

Table 4.3. FSM Migrants of Guam by Religion and State: 1988

Age Group

Total

Yap

Chuuk

Pohnpei

Kosrae

Others

    Total

3,240

318

2,143

377

135

267

Catholics

1,660

293

1,063

139

7

158

     Percent

51.2

92.1

49.6

36.9

5.2

59.2

Protestants

1,453

16

1,012

213

126

86

Others

127

5

47

56

93

32

Source: 1988 Census of FSM Migrants to Guam 

 

And, as in most migration flows, in the second stage of the pattern Rubinstein identified on Guam, two-generation households emerged around a nuclear family, but they contained a potpourri of loosely related kin and friends.  Later on, household membership followed kinship principles similar to those back home, with grandparents and other older people being added, giving households important generational depth (Rubinstein 1993:260-261).

 

Guam has had a broad range of migrant household types, extending from "peer-group households" to the much more stable types that mirror social organization in the migrant's home islands.  Data on gender and age distribution of migrants in Guam show how far households in each place have advanced along Rubinstein's spectrum.

 

Most of the tables in the following chapters concentrate on Impact migrants, as described earlier.  Impact migrants include all people born in the Freely Associated States of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, and any children under 18 not born in a Freely Associated State, but having at least one FAS-born parent.

 

1995 SURVEY OF MICRONESIAN MIGRANTS TO GUAM

 

In the first part of the 1990s, the Office of Insular Affairs funded the University of Guam’s Micronesian Language Institute (MLI) to enumerate all Palauans on Guam.  While the complete survey methodology was not published, the enumerators were Palauan, and results were compiled by Guam’s Bureau of Planning.  Some of the results are shown in the accompanying tables. 

 

According to the census results, 2,256 people were enumerated (Table 4.4).  Of those, 892 were born in Palau.  As with the other surveys in this series, problems come from interrupting who is a “Palauan” for Impact purposes.   Other variables provide estimates of the numbers of Palauans. For example, the table shows that 1,489 people spoke Palauan at home – some of theses, of course, could be non-Palauans who either married Palauans or lived in Palau or lived on Guam in Palauan households and learned the language.  On the other hand, of the 869 people 5 years and over who were in Palau, only 832 spoke Palauan at home, so some “Palauans” presumably were not speaking Palauan. 

 

 

As will be shown, the “regular” OIA funded surveys on Guam, those funded as part of what became the Impact reporting, tended to have great difficulty collecting data on Palauans on Guam.  Most of the problems came from hiring enough Palauan enumerators at the going price of enumeration.  The 1995 Survey of Palauans paid $36 per household enumerated, a good incentive to continue collecting information; the regular surveys paid, and continue to pay about $15 an hour, the same as for the regular Guam Labor Force Surveys.  In any case, the regular surveys tend not to be able to get full enumerations of Palauans.  Since the 1995 Republic of Palau enumerated about 17,000 people, the population of Palau born on Guam was about 5 percent of the total for Palau itself.

 

For this survey, the median age of all people in the sample was 24.6 years, of Palau born was 33.0, so children of Palau born living on Guam influenced, in some way, the total median age.  The sex ratio (males per 100 females) for Palau born was 85 – so, considerably more females than males migrated than males – while the total for the survey was 96.

 

Palauans experienced the earliest emigration, starting in earnest at least in the 1970s (Table 4.5).  The series of Palau Censuses shows that the number of Palau-born living in Palau has remained relatively constant since the 1973 Trust Territory Census at about 12,000.  The natural increase (births less deaths) for many years was almost exactly offset by immigrants (Levin and Tellames, 2005).   The 2005 Census, however, showed a bump of about 1,000 extra Palau born, but some of these could be the children of resident Filipinos and other Asian migrants.  The migration stream of Palauans, particularly to Guam, has been studied somewhat more extensively that their numbers might warrant (see, for example, Shewman 1979, 1981, Johanek 1984, Hezel and Levin 1989, 1996, Smith 1996).  The population of Palauans on Guam remains small, at about 1,200, as seen in the table.  Also, the continuing stream is seen, with about one-third of the Palau born having arrived before 1985, as recorded in this survey.

 

 

As noted previously, most Palauans still spoke Palauan at home, but more than 1 in every 5 of the population 5 years and over spoke English at home; some of these people, of course, are households with a single Palauan living with non-Palauan speakers (Table 4.6).  Only 11 people in the sample spoke only Palauan.

 

 

About 3 in every 5 people 25 years and over in the Palauans survey were high school graduates, and 11 percent were college graduates; only 2 of 3 Palau born were high school graduates and 7 percent were college graduates.  But, females had roughly the same percentages as males in the sample, showing equality of education by gender.

 

Females did not do as well in the labor force, with only 57 percent of those 16 years and over being in the labor force, compared to 68 percent of the total survey adult population in the labor force (Table 4.7).  Also, females were somewhat more likely to be unemployed – 11.5 percent, compared to 9.0 percent for the total survey population.

 

 

Finally, the median household income in 1994 of Palauan households on Guam in 1995 was $23,800, more than $2,000 more than the Palau-born households.  However, recent immigrants usually have a time lag in attaining the same income levels as the receiving populations, so these figures are actually reassuring.  Because family incomes do not include single persons, the family median incomes were higher than the household incomes.  The per capita income of Palauans on Guam in 1995 was $7,727, with Palau born having even higher per capita incomes, presumably because they had smaller households and families.  At the other extreme, more than 1 in every 3 Palauans was living below U.S. defined poverty levels.  And, the Palau born were doing even worse – with almost 4 in 10 in this category.

 

These figures show the status of the Palauans at the mid-point of the decade, and the mid-point of the 1990s Micronesian surveys of Guam.

 

 

  

  

 

RESULTS OF THE 1997 AND 2003 SURVEYS

 

We use the 1990 Census of Guam and the 1997 Census of the Micronesian Migrants to show and compare 1990s to 2003 Census trends.  The 2000 Census data for Guam recently became available, as summary files, special tabulations, and public use microdata sample (PUMS), but too late for use here.  Some of the data are shown in Chapter 16 on the 2000 Census.

 

As noted in the methodology section, we are showing here only persons who migrated after the Compacts of Free Association were implemented — 1987 for migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and 1994 for migrants from the Republic of Palau – and children of migrants (no matter when they migrated.)  All children were included because they were either migrants themselves, and therefore in the first category if they migrated after compact implementation, or were children of householders who were not born in the Freely Associated States, but who had at least one parent born there.

 

Demographic characteristics.  Table 4.8 shows some demographic characteristics of the Micronesian Impact migrants in Guam. Because of the very small sample size, information about the pre-Compact Marshallese for this and the following tables in this Chapter will not be shown. The 2003 Census reported 9,831 Impact migrants, including 8,709 from the Federated States of Micronesia, 914 from Palau, and 208 from the Marshall Islands. The total Impact migrants increased from 6,550 in 1997, an increase of 50 percent during the 6 year period; between 1990 and 1997, the number of Impact migrants increased from 2,739 to 6,550 (or 140 percent) and an increase of 3,281 migrants from 1997 to 2003. In interpreting these figures, it is important to note that the Office of Insular Affairs is required to change the definition of an “Impact migrant” from time to time, so some caution needs to be used in interpreting the results.


 

Table 4.8. Demographic Characteristics, Impact Migrants, Guam: 1990, 1997 and 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demographic

Total

FSM

RMI

Palau

Characteristics

2003

1997

1990

2003

1997

1990

2003

1997

1990

2003

1997

    Total

9,831

6,550

2,739

8,709

6,325

2,658

208

123

76

914

102

Males

5,017

3,219

1,478

4,438

3,213

1,424

107

67

49

472

51

Females

4,814

3,583

1,261

4,271

3,112

1,234

101

56

27

442

51

   Males per 100 females

104.2

103.5

117.2

103.9

103.3

115.4

105.9

119.8

181.5

106.8

100.0

Median

19.6

21.7

20.7

20.1

21.7

20.9

18.9

17.5

15.4

15.4

24.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less than 15 years (%)

40.9

35.1

34.2

40.0

35.1

33.7

42.8

43.1

48.7

49.0

21.6

15 to 29 years (%)

29.6

38.9

44.8

30.4

38.9

45.0

29.8

35.0

42.1

22.2

48.0

30 to 44 years (%)

20.8

19.1

16.6

20.8

19.2

16.9

19.7

17.1

7.9

20.9

18.6

45 to 59 years (%)

7.0

5.4

3.2

7.1

5.4

3.3

6.3

4.9

1.3

6.0

6.9

60 years and over (%)

1.7

1.5

1.2

1.7

1.5

1.2

1.4

0.0

0.0

1.9

4.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males Never Married (%)

42.9

51.7

58.9

42.4

51.6

58.4

39.7

45.5

73.3

49.8

61.0

Females Never Married (%)

35.8

44.1

51.6

35.6

43.8

51.7

30.4

45.9

44.4

39.3

56.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Households

1,713

979

331

1,506

931

325

39

22

6

168

26

Persons per household

5.76

6.66

8.27

5.79

6.77

8.18

5.33

5.59

12.67

5.57

3.78

Persons per family

6.33

6.97

8.27

6.24

7.03

8.18

5.94

5.86

12.67

7.43

5.37

Sources: 1997 and 2003 Guam Micronesian Censuses and 1990 Decennial Census of Guam

 

 

 

 

 

The sex ratio for the Impact migrants in 2003 was 104, an increase of less than 1, from 1997.  These values indicate that the number of males was somewhat higher than the number of females in the population.  The sex ratios varied among the three Freely Associated States groups, with the sex ratio of FSM being 104, Palau’s being 107, and RMI being 120, showing about 6 males for every 5 females.

 

The median age of the Impact migrants was 19.6 years, a decrease of more than 2 years since 1997, but this decline is partially explained by partly by the change in definition of Impact migrants and partly by the settling in of migrants, and their starting families. Of the post-Compact migrants, the Palauans were the oldest (24.3 years), followed by the FSM  (21.7 years) and the Marshallese (17.5 years). Among the pre-Compact migrants, the Palauans were the oldest (41.1 years) followed by the migrants from FSM (34.9 years).

 

The percentage of the population less than 15 years old steadily increased during the period, from about 34 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2003.  Part of this increase was due to the fact that post-Compact migrants’ children as well as pre-Compact migrant children are included, whereas the pre-Compact migrants themselves are not included, thus skewing the ages downward.  The percentages being 15 to 29 decreased over time, perhaps indicating continued emigration to Hawaii and the mainland in search of better economic circumstances.  The older groups all increased somewhat, showing a general aging of the population.

 

The percentages never married of persons 15 years and over decreased for both males and females showing increased numbers of families migrating, and older people accompanying these families – these older people having previously been married. 

 

And, the household size has been decreasing over the period, from more than 8 people per household in 1990 to about 6 in 2003.

 

 

Citizenship.  Citizenship is collected in most censuses and population surveys, and, in the U.S. Areas, the focus is on U.S. citizenship.  Since persons born in Freely Associated States cannot be citizens by birth, they can only become U.S. citizens through Naturalization (or by having one U.S. born parent).   And clearly, the longer the residence is in a U.S. Area, the more likely a person would be to become a citizen.

 

Table 4.9 shows the citizenship status for the 1990 and 2000 Censuses, and the 1997 survey.  Unfortunately, the 2003 data became obscured, either in data collection or processing, and the numbers of permanent and temporary non-citizen residents cannot be obtained.  The percentage of reported U.S. citizens for all Freely Associated States migrants, as well as FSM migrants specifically decreased during the decade.  While about 1 in every 4 Micronesian migrants in 1990 were citizens, only about 1 in 12 were in this category in 2000.

 

Table 4.9. Citizenship for Impact Migrants, Guam: 1990 to 2000

 

2000

1997

1990

Citizenship

Total

FSM