WASHINGTON (STL.News) – Friday, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) released an analysis on the economic impact of grants and payments provided to the territories and freely associated states. Grants and payments from OIA totaling $710 million are estimated to have created an economic impact of $888 million on insular Gross Domestic Product in 2018, supporting 26,652 jobs. Across the insular areas, the impact on government employment ranged from three to 17 percent in the territories and close to 45 percent in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“Interior is proud of the role that we play in supporting fellow Americans in the territories and our friends in the freely associated states,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “I am pleased to see that the assistance provided through Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has a notable, positive impact on people’s lives and well-being in these island areas.”
“I am happy to see the positive impact of OIA funding in the United States insular areas,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Doug Domenech. “Funds provided by Congress through OIA support a variety of critical areas, including health care, education, government operations, natural resources, and infrastructure,” Domenech continued. “This report illustrates the significant impact that our federal dollars have on insular economies, however, the gross domestic product per capita in the insular areas, ranging from $3,000 to $36,000, are still significantly low and emphasize ongoing needs and challenges in these areas.”
Overall, the analysis provides key insight into the impact of OIA grant payments and funding transfers on employment, employee compensation, and gross domestic product in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau.
The final economic analysis of 2018 funding was prepared for the Department of the Interior by RTI International. The 2018 report, and prior year reports, are available on the OIA website at: https://www.doi.gov/oia/reports/OIAeconomicreports.