Northern Mariana Islands

islands in the United States

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, usually shortened to the Northern Mariana Islands, is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that are a political division controlled by the United States. Its capital is Saipan.

Northern Mariana Islands
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas  (Chamorro)
Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas  (Carolinian)
Anthem: "Gi Talo Gi Halom Tasi" (Chamorro)
"Satil Matawal Pacifiko" (Carolinian)
("In the Middle of the Sea")
Location of the Northern Mariana Islands
Location of the Northern Mariana Islands
(circled in red)
Sovereign state United States[a]
Before belonging to the United StatesTrust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Commonwealth StatusJanuary 9, 1978
End of U.N. TrusteeshipNovember 4, 1986
and largest city
15°11′N 145°44′E / 15.19°N 145.74°E / 15.19; 145.74
Official languages
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s)Northern Mariana Islander (formal)
Northern Marianan (other)
Marianan (diminutive form)
Chamorro (colloquial)[3]
GovernmentDevolved presidential constitutional dependency
• Governor
Arnold Palacios (I)
David Apatang (I)
LegislatureCommonwealth Legislature
House of Representatives
United States Congress
Gregorio Sablan (D)
• Total
464[4][5] km2 (179 sq mi)
• Water (%)
Highest elevation965 m (3,166 ft)
• 2022 estimate
55,650[6] (209th)
• 2020 census
• Density
113/km2 (292.7/sq mi) (97th)
GDP (PPP)2016 estimate
• Total
$1.24 billion[6]
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
• Per capita
CurrencyUnited States dollar (US$) (USD)
Time zoneUTC+10:00 (ChST)
Date formatmm/dd/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+1-670
USPS abbreviation
Trad. abbreviation
ISO 3166 code

Spain owned the islands until 1899 and sold them to the German Empire. Germany lost them to Japan in World War I and the United States took them in World War II.



The Northern Mariana Islands, together with Guam to the south, compose the Mariana Islands. The southern islands are limestone, with level terraces and fringing coral reefs. The northern islands are volcanic, with active volcanos on Anatahan, Pagan and Agrihan. The volcano on Agrihan has the highest elevation at 3,166 feet (965 m). Anatahan Volcano is a small volcanic island 80 miles (130 km) north of Saipan. It is about 6 miles (10 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide. Anatahan began erupting suddenly from its east crater on May 10, 2003, at about 6 p.m. (0800 UTC). It has since alternated between eruptive and calm periods. On April 6, 2005, approximately 1,800,000 cubic feet (50,970 m3) of ash and rock were ejected, causing a large, black cloud to drift south over Saipan and Tinian.


Historical population
Census Pop.

In 2020, 47,329 people lived on the Northern Mariana Islands. This was down from 69,221 in 2000.[7]

The official languages on the Northern Mariana Islands are English, Chamorro, and Carolinian. Only a few people speak the Tanapag language. Many people also speak Philippine languages, Chinese, and other Pacific island languages. Many people still have Spanish family names, but the people do not often speak Spanish, as they did in the past.[9]

Most people in the Northern Mariana Islands are Roman Catholic. There are also communities of Buddhist and Protestant people. Many people have traditional beliefs, also referred to as folk religion. According to the Pew Research Center, 2010:[10]

  • Roman Catholic 64.1%
  • Protestants 16%
  • Buddhists 10.6%
  • Folk religions 5.3%
  • Other Christians 1.2%
  • Other religions 1.1%
  • Unaffiliated 1.0%
  • Eastern Orthodox <1%
  • Hindu <1%
  • Muslim <1%
  • Jews <1%

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 865 members in the Northern Mariana Islands.[11]

  1. The Northern Mariana Islands belongs to, but is not a part of, the United States. See the page for the Insular Cases for more information.


  1. Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder – Results". Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  2. "Northern Mariana Islands". Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  3. "AAPI – Asian American and Pacific Islander – Primer". Environmental Protection Agency. June 28, 2006. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  4. "Northern Mariana Islands". CIA World Factbook. November 10, 2021. Area:total: 464 sq km land: 464 sq km water: 0 sq km note: consists of 14 islands including Saipan, Rota, and Tinian
  5. "Our District". Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan Representing the Northern Mariana Islands. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the total land area of all islands as 179 square miles.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Australia-Oceania :: Northern Mariana Islands (Territory of the US)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 2020 Census Population of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Municipality and Village, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. "Northern Mariana Islands | Data". Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  9. Solenberger, Robert R. (1962). "The Social Meaning of Language Choice in the Marianas". Anthropological Linguistics. 4 (1): 59–64. JSTOR 30022346.
  10. "Religions in Northern Mariana Islands – PEW-GRF". Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2022-09-20.
  11. "Facts and Statistics: Statistics by Country: Northern Mariana Islands", Newsroom, LDS Church, retrieved January 15, 2021

Other websites


  Media related to Northern Mariana Islands at Wikimedia Commons