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Rollins College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


The current literature on perceptions of wealth and poverty is lacking. There is a growing need to understand the current state of wealth and poverty in Samoa. Globalization has brought foreign values that are in stark contrast to those of traditional Samoan culture and issues surrounding wealth and poverty which are creating new challenges. This research is looking at the traditional concepts of wealth and poverty in Samoa from traditional and contemporary perspectives, while also providing new insights to the current state of wealth and poverty in Samoa. Research was conducted using interviews with ten informants from various backgrounds. Along with these interviews a twelve question bilingual survey was conducted in the greater Apia area. Eighty five surveys were collected from both males and females ranging in age from eighteen to eighty three years. Along with these primary sources a number of secondary sources were used in order to provide further statistical and general information. The research found that Samoa is at a crossroads, where ideas, values, and concepts are changing. Modern values are mixing and assimilating with traditional values in a way that is promoting poverty. The main concern in terms of poverty is that of opportunity and access to resources. The basic needs are expanding and this is creating issues that are new to Samoa. Samoa currently is operating under both traditional concepts and contemporary concepts of wealth and poverty. Traditional concepts have become monetized and are now causing strains on families. Samoa must focus on providing opportunities for the people that will enable the population to access necessities and eliminate poverty.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification