Insular area

An insular area of the United States is a U.S. territory that is neither a part of one of the 50 states nor of a Federal district. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to United States Congress the responsibility of overseeing these territories,[a] of which there are currently 14—three in the Caribbean Sea and 11 in the Pacific Ocean.[1] These territories are classified by whether they are incorporated (by Congress extending the full body of the Constitution to the territory as it applies to the several states) and whether they have an organized territorial government established by the U.S. Congress through an Organic Act.[2] All territories but one are unincorporated, and all but four are considered to be unorganized. Five U.S. territories have a permanent, nonmilitary population. Each of them has a civilian government, a constitution, and enjoys some degree of local political autonomy.

US insular areas-B
Locations of the insular areas of the United States


Congress has extended citizenship rights by birth to all inhabited territories except American Samoa, and these citizens may vote and run for office in any U.S. jurisdiction in which they are residents. The people of American Samoa are U.S. nationals by place of birth, or they are U.S. citizens by parentage, or naturalization after residing in a State for three months.[3] Nationals are free to move around and seek employment within the United States without immigration restrictions, but cannot vote or hold office outside American Samoa.[4]


Residents of the five major populated insular areas do not pay U.S. federal income taxes but are required to pay other U.S. federal taxes such as import and export taxes,[5][6] federal commodity taxes,[7] social security taxes, etc. Individuals working for the federal government pay federal income taxes while all residents are required to pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security[8] and Medicare). According to IRS Publication 570, income from other U.S. Pacific Ocean insular areas (Howland, Baker, Jarvis, Johnston, Midway, Palmyra, and Wake Islands, and Kingman Reef) is fully taxable as income of United States residents.[9]

Associated States

The U.S. State Department also uses the term insular area to refer not only to territories under the sovereignty of the United States, but also those independent nations that have signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States. While these nations participate in many otherwise domestic programs, and full responsibility for their military defense rests with the United States, they are legally distinct from the United States and their inhabitants are neither U.S. citizens nor nationals.[1]

Current U.S. Insular Areas by Status

The following islands, or island groups, are considered insular areas:

Organized incorporated territories


Unorganized incorporated territories

One (uninhabited)

Organized unincorporated territories

Four (inhabited)

Unorganized unincorporated territories

One (inhabited)

Ten (uninhabited)

Freely associated states

Three (inhabited)

Former Territories

See also


  1. ^ Although an archaism, some older federal statutes and regulations still in force refer to insular areas as possessions.
  2. ^ The Panama Canal itself was under joint U.S.–Panamanian control from 1979 until it was fully turned over to Panama on December 31, 1999.


  1. ^ a b "Definitions of Insular Area Political Organizations". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Definitions of Insular Area Political Organizations". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  3. ^ PBS Newshour, "American Samoans don't have right to U.S. citizenship", Associated Press, June 5, 2015, viewed August 13, 2015.
  4. ^ US Department of Interior. "Insular Area Summary for American Samoa" Archived 2015-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. viewed August 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Puerto Ricans pay import/export taxes". Archived from the original on April 1, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  6. ^ U.S. State Dept. "Foreign Relations of the United States". Retrieved May 18, 2016. The people of Puerto Rico will continue to be exempt from Federal income taxes on the income they derive from sources within Puerto Rico, and into their treasury, for appropriation and expenditure as their legislature may decide, will be deposited the proceeds of United States internal revenue taxes collected on articles produced in Puerto Rico and the proceeds of United States tariffs and customs collected on foreign merchandise entering Puerto Rico.
  7. ^ "Puerto Ricans pay federal commodity taxes". Archived from the original on 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  8. ^ "'Topic Number 903 - U.S. Employment Tax in Puerto Rico'". December 18, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Publication 570 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Internal Revenue Service. 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2018.

External links

Commonwealth (U.S. insular area)

In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory. There are currently two United States insular areas with the status of commonwealth, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.

The definition of "Commonwealth" according to current U.S. State Department policy (as codified in the department's Foreign Affairs Manual) reads: "The term 'Commonwealth' does not describe or provide for any specific political status or relationship. It has, for example, been applied to both states and territories. When used in connection with areas under U.S. sovereignty that are not states, the term broadly describes an area that is self-governing under a constitution of its adoption and whose right of self-government will not be unilaterally withdrawn by Congress."

Department of transportation

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the most common name for a government agency in Canada or the United States devoted to transportation. The largest is the United States Department of Transportation, which oversees interstate travel and is a federal agency. All U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and many local agencies also have similar organizations and provide enforcement through DOT officers within their respective jurisdictions.

The DOT's mission statement claims that an "efficient and modern transportation system " to "improve the quality of life for all Americans" is their goal.

Hinohara, Tokyo

Hinohara (檜原村 or 桧原村, Hinohara-mura) is a village located in the western portion of Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. As of 1 February 2016, the village had an estimated population of 2,194, and a population density of 20.8 persons per km². Its total area is 105.41 square kilometres (40.70 sq mi). It is the only administrative unit left in the non-insular area of Tokyo that is still classified as a village.

Insular cortex

In each hemisphere of the mammalian brain the insular cortex (also insula and insular lobe) is a portion of the cerebral cortex folded deep within the lateral sulcus (the fissure separating the temporal lobe from the parietal and frontal lobes).

The insulae are believed to be involved in consciousness and play a role in diverse functions usually linked to emotion or the regulation of the body's homeostasis. These functions include compassion and empathy, perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience. In relation to these, it is involved in psychopathology.

The insular cortex is divided into two parts: the larger anterior insula and the smaller posterior insula in which more than a dozen field areas have been identified. The cortical area overlying the insula toward the lateral surface of the brain is the operculum (meaning lid). The opercula are formed from parts of the enclosing frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes.


KNUT, (101.1 FM) operated as Star 101 FM is a radio station broadcasting as a Top 40 format, and it is now located in Tamuning, Guam area. The station is currently owned by Choice Broadcasting Company.


KPRG (89.3 FM) is Guam's only public radio station. The station is owned and operated by the Guam Educational Radio Foundation and is licensed to Hagåtña. The station signed on the air on January 28, 1994 and is a member of NPR, APM, PRI and BBC. Its studio is located on the campus of the University of Guam in Mangilao, Guam.


KVOG (1530 AM) is a radio station. Licensed to Agana, Guam, United States, serving the island of Guam. The station is currently owned by Guam Power II.


KZGU, (99.5 FM), branded as 99.5 The Shark is a radio station broadcasting a Caribbean music format with local Reggae content. Licensed to Mangilao, Guam, the station is currently owned by Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Inc.

The station was assigned the KPXP call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on July 12, 1991. The station changed to its current KZGU call sign on April 21, 2014, coinciding with its move to Guam from the Northern Mariana Islands. At the same time, the former KRSI became KPXP, retaining the Power 99 name and format despite being on 97.9 MHz.


KZGZ (97.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting from the village of Hagåtña in the United States territory of Guam. Owned by Sorensen Media Group, it broadcasts a rhythmic top 40 format branded as Power 98.

Political party strength in American Samoa

The following table indicates the party of elected officials in the United States insular area of American Samoa:


Lieutenant GovernorThe table also indicates the historical party composition in the:

Territorial Senate

Territorial House of Representatives

Territory delegation to the U.S. House of RepresentativesThe parties are as follows: Democratic (D), Nonpartisan (NP), and Republican (R).

For a particular year, the noted partisan composition is that which either took office during that year or which maintained the office throughout the entire year. Only changes made outside regularly scheduled elections are noted as affecting the partisan composition during a particular year. Shading is determined by the final result of any mid-cycle changes in partisan affiliation.

Political party strength in the Northern Mariana Islands

The following table indicates the party of elected officials in the United States insular area of the Northern Mariana Islands:


Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General (first elected in 2014).

Resident Representative in Washington, D.C. (through 2008); non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives (beginning 2009)The table also indicates the historical party composition in the:

Territorial Senate

Territorial House of RepresentativesThe parties are as follows: Covenant (C), Democratic (D), Independent (I), Republican (R), and a tie or coalition within a group of elected officials.

Unincorporated territories of the United States

Under United States law, an unincorporated territory is an area controlled by the United States government that is not part of (i.e., "incorporated" in) the United States. In unincorporated territories, the U.S. Constitution applies only partially. In the absence of an organic law, a territory is classified as unorganized. In unincorporated territories, "fundamental rights apply as a matter of law, but other constitutional rights are not available". Selected constitutional provisions apply, depending on congressional acts and judicial rulings according to U.S. constitutional practice, local tradition, and law.There are currently thirteen unincorporated territories, comprising a land area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 square miles) containing a population of approximately four million people; Puerto Rico alone comprises the vast majority of both the total area and total population.Of the thirteen territories, five are inhabited. These are either organized or self-governing but unincorporated. These are Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. There are also nine uninhabited U.S. possessions, of which only Palmyra Atoll is incorporated. (See Territories of the United States, Unorganized territory and insular area.)


WAXJ (103.5 FM) is a radio station licensed to serve Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands. The station is owned by Reef Broadcasting, Inc. It airs an Urban AC and Reggae format.The station has been assigned these call letters by the Federal Communications Commission since January 23, 1998.


WRRA (1290 AM) was a radio station formerly licensed to serve Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands. The station was owned by Reef Broadcasting, Inc. It aired a Gospel music format.The station was assigned the WRRA call letters by the Federal Communications Commission during its entire time.On February 4, 2011, the station's license was cancelled and the call sign deleted from its database by the Federal Communications Commission.


WSKX (90.7 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a non-commercial Religious teaching format. Licensed to Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands, the station is currently owned by Better Communication Group.


WVIE (107.3 FM) is a radio station in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands. The station is licensed to Virgin Islands Radio Entertainment Detroit, LLC, which is wholly owned by R.J. Watkins Group.


WZIN (104.3 FM) is a radio station licensed to serve Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands. The station is owned by Pan Caribbean Broadcasting de P.R., Inc. It airs an alternative rock format. The station also serves San Juan, Puerto Rico and the entire metropolitan area.

The Federal Communications Commission assigned the call letters WSTT to this station on May 23, 1983 until they requested a switch to WCWI on March 15, 1987. This call sign was short-lived as the station would switch calls again on September 13, 1987 to become WIYC. Almost a decade would elapse before the station changed, this time becoming WVPI on February 3, 1997. The station used this legal identifier for more than five years until switching to the current call sign, WZIN, on December 10, 2002.

Federal district
Insular areas
Outlying islands
Indian reservations
United States articles
Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.