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Political Status

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until Palau, the last member of the TTPI to choose its own political future, became an independent country 1994. The Federal law (the Covenant) making the CNMI a U.S. territory passed in 1975. The CNMI adopted its constitution in 1977, and its first constitutional government took office in 1978. The CNMI came under Federal minimum wage regulations in 2007 and immigration law in 2008. In June 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security takes over the CNMI's immigration and border controls.

Population & Demography

Population: 52,300 (2015)
Pacific Islanders: 34.9% (2010 census)
Chamorro: 23.9%
Carolinian: 4.6%
Asian: 49.9%
Filipino: 35.3%
White: 2.1%
Median age: 32.5 years
U.S. median age: 36.7 years

Labor Force & Employment

Total civilian labor force: 27,949 (2010 census)
Total employment: 24,826
Unemployed: 3,123
Private sector wage & salary workers: 19,092,
Government workers: 5,313
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Self-employed: 421
Private sector employment as a % of total: 76.9
Government employment as a % of total: 21.4
Self-employed as a % of total: 1.7
Unemployment rate: 8.1%

Economy & Income Sources

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GDP: $922 million (BEA 2015)
Per capita GDP: $17,629
Total population: 52,300 (2015)

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530,671 tourists in 2016
506,846 tourists in 2005
528,608 tourists in 2000
Japanese tourists: 11.7 percent of total (FY 2016)
Korean tourists: 37.9 percent of total

Wholesale and retail trade
Hotels and restaurants
Tourist and recreational services
Government services

Government Finances

Total revenues: $274.2 million (FY 2015)
Total spending: $288.1 million
Federal grants: $72.0 million


Located just north of Guam, the CNMI is a three-hundred mile archipelago consisting of 14 islands, with a total land area of 183.5 square miles. The principal inhabited islands are Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The northern, largely uninhabited islands are Farallon de Medinilla, Anatahan, Sariguan, Gudgeon, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion, Maug Islands, and Farallon de Pajaro. Saipan is 3,300 miles from Honolulu; 5,625 from San Francisco; 1,272 miles from Tokyo; and 3,090 miles from Sydney.

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The Mariana Islands are on the edge of the Philippine Plate. They were formed by underwater volcanoes along the Marianas Trench. The northern islands are high volcanic islands and the southern islands are raised limestone.

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Click here to visit the Anatahan Volcano home page.


The U.S. citizen population of the Northern Marianas is predominantly of Chamorro cultural extraction, although a number of Carolinians (Chuukese, Kosraeans, Pohnpeians and Yapese) and immigrants from other areas of East Asia and Micronesia have also settled in the islands. English is the official language of the CNMI, but Chamorro and Carolinian are the spoken native tongues. The Spanish culture, which influenced the Chamorro culture for nearly four centuries, is still present today. Japanese is also spoken in many of the hotels and shops, reflecting the heavy tourism industry. The non-citizen population is made up primarily of Filipino and Chinese, with some representation from several other Asian countries.

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Francisco Taitano
Desk Officer for the Northern Mariana Islands
Office of Insular Affairs
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-7722

CNMI Leadership

Ralph DLG Torres
Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands

Office of the Governor
Caller Box 10007
Capital Hill
Saipan, MP  96950

1 (670) 664-2280
1 (670) 664-2211 Fax

Gregorio Camacho Sablan
U.S. Representative

U.S. House of Representatives
2411 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Telephone (202) 225-2646
Fax (202) 226-4249

Former Resident Representatives

Former Governors