Guam has been called by many different names—”Tånó I’ Man CHamoru (The Land of the CHamoru),” the “Hub of the Pacific,” and the “Island of Warriors,” among many others. If you’ve spent any time on Guam, you already have a sense of the island’s diverse roles and identities throughout its history—and the diverse peoples who call the island their home.
However, if you’re considering a move to Guam, you might be searching for a better understanding of exactly what the island is like. For example, you might be curious what the weather is like on Guam, as well as how big the island is and how it’s laid out. You might also want to discover more about the people who call Guam “home” and what they do for a living. Or, you might be interested in exploring what kinds of things you could do on your days off.
To give you a better understanding of Guam, we’ll give you a quick tour of the island through 43 numbers—an understanding that will only be further enriched if you visit or, even better, decide to make your home on Guam.
The People You’ll Meet on Guam
When you arrive on Guam, you’ll quickly discover that Guam is a melting pot, with a vibrant mix of different cultures. If you’re curious about the biggest ethnic groups on the island, check out these numbers:
- 40.3% – The percentage of people who identify as CHamoru on Guam. The CHamoru were the original inhabitants of Guam who are believed to have lived on the island for almost 4,000 years. The CHamoru created the foundation for the island’s culture today.
- 24.5% – The next-largest ethnic group on the island—those who identify as Filipino.
Guam also has a sizeable military population, so you might be interested to know that:
- ~12,000 military personnel and families make their home on Guam at any given time
Finally, if you’re curious where people live on Guam:
- 94.8% live in urban areas, while only
- 5.2% live in rural areas.
Languages on Guam
Given the ethnic diversity of the island, you might wonder what kind of languages you’ll hear around the island. English is spoken across the island, as you can see by the chart below. That said, when it comes to the languages residents speak in their households:
- 20% of the people on Guam speak other languages at home as often as English
- 21% speak other languages at home more frequently than English.
Languages Spoken by Guam Residents at Home
Given that many residents speak languages other than English at home, you might be curious what, exactly, those other languages are. The numbers below will reveal some of the diverse heritages you’ll see from the residents on Guam.
- 32% speak CHamoru
- 27% speak Philippine languages
- 10% speak Asian languages
- 6% speak Pacific Island languages
If you’re curious about the CHamoru language, here’s one more number for you:
- 1668 was the year that CHamoru first appeared in writing when a missionary priest, Father Diego Luis de San Vitores, began to create a spelling system for it using the Latin alphabet.
Where Is Guam, Exactly?
If you aren’t up on your Oceania geography, you might wonder exactly where Guam is located. You’ll find it:
- 1,600 miles east of Manila and
- 5,800 miles west of San Francisco.
In terms of its north/south orientation, Guam lies at:
- 13° north latitude, which means that it gets
- 12 hours, 53 minutes of sunshine during the summer solstice.
As a result of its position, Guam has been called the place “where America’s day begins,” since it’s the first place the sun touches U.S. soil. Guam operates on Chamorro Standard Time (ChST), which is:
- 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
How Big Is the Island of Guam? What’s the Terrain Like?
Those in the continental U.S. are used to living on a large body of land thousands of miles long and wide. If you’ve never lived on an island, you might wonder exactly how big Guam is. The island is:
- 30 miles long and
- 217 square miles in area.
That makes Guam about one-quarter the size of Rhode Island, which is 1,034 square miles in area.
And while the northern end of the island is a relatively flat plateau, the southern end is more mountainous, with the island’s highest point measuring in at:
- 1,334 above sea level. (That’s the top of Mount Lamlam!)
However, if you measure from the geographical base of the Marianas Trench, which is where the true base of the mountain lies, Mount Lamlam is technically:
Is Guam a U.S. Territory?
We get a lot of questions about whether Guam is a part of the United States. To clear up any confusion, Guam is:
- One of 14 U.S. territories, as established in
- 1950 by the Organic Act of Guam, which set up Guam’s government as it exists today and granted U.S. citizenship to island residents.
The island is divided up into:
- 19 Districts, known as “Villages” in Guam, each of which has its own mayor.
Ultimately, though, Guam is overseen by:
- 1 governor, currently Lou Leon Guerrero, who heads up the executive branch of the government.
What’s the Climate Like on Guam?
If you’re considering a move to Guam, you probably also want to know what the weather will be like. If you decide to relocate:
- 70° – 90° is the range of temperatures you’d live in year-round. And although these hold steady throughout the year, Guam does have…
- Two distinct seasons: You’ll experience a dry season from about December–June and a rainy season that lasts from about July–November.
Where Do People Work in Guam?
- Accommodation and food services
- Wholesale trade
- Finance and insurance
- Healthcare and social assistance
Notice anything about the top two entries on this list—retail and accommodation/food service? They’re both sectors that support tourism. In fact,
- 1.63 million visitors came to Guam in 2019.
- 45% were from Korea, and
- 41% were from Japan.
As a result, if you’re not moving to Guam with a job already lined up, you might have some luck finding work supporting Guam’s booming tourism industry.
What Kinds of Things Are There to Do on Guam?
Since you’re looking at staying on Guam longer than most tourists, you might also be wondering what there is to do on Guam. These numbers may give you some ideas!
- 130+ – That’s how many stores you’ll find in the Micronesia Mall, which is just one of Guam’s several shopping centers, which feature locally-owned stores, national names, and luxury brands.
- 24/7 – That’s when Kmart is open (around the clock!) so you can get whatever you need to fuel your adventures, whenever you need it.
- 40+ – That’s how many beaches you’ll find on the island. You could visit a different beach every day and go an entire month without having to visit the same beach twice.
- ~880 – That’s how many species of fish you might be able to spot if you decide to snorkel or dive off the coast of Guam. Compare that to Hawaii’s ~600, and you’ll get a sense of just how diverse Guam’s aquatic life can be.
- 75′ – That’s the height of Sigua Falls, one of dozens of waterfalls you can find on Guam, if you’re willing to do a little “boonie stomping” (what locals call hiking!).
- 16 – That’s how many cans of Spam per person, per year that people consume on Guam. Although we recommend getting out and trying as much new food as you can while you’re here, you’re bound to try at least a little of this staple product. (They even serve it at McDonald’s!)
If you have any questions about moving to Guam (or living on Guam!), our Tamuning-based team would be happy to talk with you. Just reach out to us, and we’ll get you all the answers you need to make a smooth transition to the island