The Pacific Islands contain 789 habitable islands and are divided into the three geographic areas: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are over a million Pacific Islanders in the United States, most of whom live in California, Hawaii, Washington, Utah, and Texas. Pacific Islander ethnicities in the United States include Carolinian, Fijian, Guamanian, Hawaiian, Kosraean, Melanesian, Micronesian, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Papua New Guinean, Ponapean, Polynesian, Samoan, Solomon Islander, Tahitian, Tarawa Islander, Tongan, Trukese (Chuukese), and Yapese. Prior to 1980, Pacific Islander Americans (except Hawaiians) were classified with Asian Americans under the classification of ’Asian and Pacific Islander American.’ Today, the U.S. Census Bureau includes Pacific Islander Americans under the classification of ’Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.’ Pacific Islanders are a racially and culturally diverse population group, and they follow a wide variety of religions and have an array of languages.
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