A “Snapshot” of the CNMI’s Population And Income Levels In 1995 And The Growth In “Selected” Economic Indicators Since 1990
The 1995 mid decade census will soon provide interesting and valuable data on the population of the Commonwealth. While all the data has not yet been processed for publication and public distribution, some early preliminary information indicates the following. In 1994, Capitol Hill recorded the highest median family income at $42,622. The term “median” represents the middle value when each person’s income in an area of Saipan is ranked from the smallest income figure to the highest. In other words, that number which would fall midway in the ranking where there are as many figures below that amount as above it. It is the position where half the income earners earn $42,622 or more and half earn $42,622 or less.
The year 1994 is used in the ‘95 census because the government wanted each individual with an income – to record their total annual income for an entire year. Since the census enumeration was undertaken in mid and late 1995 before that year ended, the income earned in the previous year was recorded. With respect to the use of the term “family income”, a family is defined as consisting of all related members as opposed to a “household” which is made up of family and unrelated people or a unit consisting entirely of unrelated members. Saipan’s 1995 population was 52,698. The average family size on Capitol Hill was 4.37 persons. I have been looking for that four tenths of a “rounded” person, but I haven’t found him, (assuming “it” is a male). The per capita income at that location was $9,753. – and some change. Capitol Hill is followed by Navy Hill with a median family income of $34,848 with Garapan registering the lowest at $14,888. The median income for Saipan as a whole was $22,774. While I don’t have comparable data on Guam’s median “family” income, that island’s median household income is $30,000. Saipan wide per capita income was $4,845 with an island wide average of 4.7 persons per family with 10,848 occupied housing units and 184 group quarters, (barracks, the jail,etc.). The median age for Saipan was 28.1 years, (or 28 years and 36 &1/2 days if anybody cares). Median family income for other areas of Saipan are as follows: Gualo Rai – $31,222; San Vicente – $26,878; Dan Dan – $24,170; Koblerville – $22,860; San Roque $22,770; Tanapag – $22,478; Kagman – $20,232; San Jose – $20,194; San Antonio – $19,805; Chalan Kanoa – $19,616 and Susupe – $17,899. Unfortunately, if one wants to increase one’s income it is a little more difficult that simply moving to a village on the list with a higher median level. I tried it once in my home town – it doesn’t work. Tinian data are as follows: median income – $32,293; per capita income – $5,980; persons per family – 5.4; median age – 25.9 years; occupied housing units – 522; group quarters – 10 and a population of 2,631. Rota came in with a median income of $26,715; per capita income – $5,137; persons per family – 5.2; median age – 27.7 years; occupied housing units – 689; group quarters – 18 and a population of 3,509. Less than two percent of the CNMI’s population is of an age 65 years or above as compared with 12 percent in the United States. About 85 percent of the CNMI’s adult population is in the labor force. I’m not exactly sure what the other 15 percent does.The government is now planning for the census in the year 2000, maybe I’ll find out then. Sometimes a census reveals strange, inexplicable things. Here we are – situated in the greatest body of water in the entire solar system. The Marianas are the farthest stars out in the American galaxy and only 3 percent of the population over 16 years of age in the employed labor force are engaged in fishing, farming & forestry. In terms of “selected” economic indicators for the economy and the growth experienced since 1990, the most recent data available show impressive gains.
Business gross revenue increased 27.8 percent over 1990 to an estimated $1.5 billion for an annual growth rate over the period of 5.6 percent. Other indicators experienced the following increases: business licenses issued – 9.9%, (average annual growth 2%); total wages and salaries paid – 56.2%, (average annual growth, 14.1%); value of garment exports – 102%, (20.5% annually); imports – 50%, (10% annually); visitor entries – 46.9%, (9.4% annually); estimated visitor expenditures – 24.5% (4.9% annually); number of hotel rooms – 31.6%, (6.3% annually); the Commonwealth’s internally generated revenues – 67.6%, (13.5% annually); population – 35.8%, (7.1% annually); school enrollment – 38%, (7.6% annually). Also there have been 26,427 recorded land transactions since 1990 but not all have involved leased land. The CNMI as a whole ranks fifty third (53 rd ) among the fifty four (54) states and territories (1) in its 1995 average per capita income level of $6,984. This is a decline from the $7,199 per capita income recorded in the CNMI's 1990 census of population and lower than that of the Virgin Islands ($11,052 -'94); Guam ($7,116 – '94) and exceeds Puerto Rico's per capita income of $6,360 ('94) by only $624. The decline in the overall average per capita income in the Commonwealth is a result of a larger number of nonresident workers than that which existed in 1990 many of whom are employed at minimum wage levels. This tends to lower the average figure. The converse is also true as fewer minimum wage workers will raise the average per capita income level – it’s a “statistical thing.”
For those that may be tempted to use the above percentage trends to make projections and future forecasts there is an interesting, but unrelated, story that is told of a prophet in Tokyo. In 1936, the prophet was asked to predict what would be happening to the people of his city in five, ten and twenty years time. He began: “I prophetize that in 5 years time, in 1941, Japan’s influence will extend from the Aleutian Islands Islands in the north around the globe to Thailand.” His audience said: “Ah, then you think that Japan will be in very good shape in ten years time.” “No”, replied the prophet, ” my guess is that in ten years time the nation will be confined solely to the home islands, there will be no overseas colonies and most of our cities will have to be rebuilt and money will be so tight that few Japanese will be able to afford an automobile.” “So you think we face a very difficult and harsh future in 20 years time.” “No , by the 1970’s I prophetize that most Japanese families will own a car, real income will be ten times greater than it is now and that several years before that year 90 percent of all Japanese will sit looking at a box in the corner of their room which will show live pictures of a man walking on the moon.” He was locked up as a madman, of course.