Saipan is the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Commonwealth's centre of government is located in the village of Capital Hill on the island. Saipan is often referred to as the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. Tourism has long been a vital source of the island's revenue. In years past, the main economic driving force in Saipan was garment manufacturing, however there are no garment manufacturers left on the island. The Northern Mariana Islands are in Oceania. They consist of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. Tropical marine; moderated by northeast trade winds, little seasonal temperature variation; dry season December to June, rainy season July to October. Southern islands are limestone with level terraces and fringing coral reefs; northern islands are volcanic. The official language is English. Carolinian, Chamorro and Japanese are also widely spoken. The main religion is Christianity. The economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands benefits from substantial subsidies and development assistance from the United States. The economy also relies on tourism, especially from Japan, and up until recently on the garment manufacturing sector. The population in Saipan is 0.048 Mil (2014 est.), while the inflation rate is -0.8% (2014 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in Saipan as at 1 October 2014 is average in comparison to other places in the world. In Saipan, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average in USD, is categorized follows: 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: High 2) Clothing: Low 3) Communication: Average 4) Education: Very Low 5) Furniture & Appliances: High 6) Groceries: Average 7) Healthcare: Low 8) Household Accommodation: High 9) Miscellaneous: Average 10) Personal Care: Average 11) Recreation & Culture: Average 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Average 13) Transport: Low Saipan is for example 7.9% more expensive than Montevideo for groceries, 14.5% more expensive for household costs than Durban, and -13.9% cheaper for transport costs than Athens. Saipan is ranked as a extreme hardship location. Hardship (also know as quality of living) refers to the degree of hardship an expatriate and their family are likely to experience in the host location. Hardship pay is compensation to encourage people to move, in particular to less desirable locations. In determining the amount of hardship premium payable, factors such as economic, political, religious, infrastructure, environment/climate, personal safety, health, education, and transportation factors are considered. The hardship premium for Saipan for an expat from Zurich is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Saipan) premium of 40% minus home (Zurich) location premium of 10%. Xpatulator.com has been created to assist subscribers calculate expatriate pay using the online calculators and extensive database of cost of living and hardship indexes, for 780 international locations. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship or expat pay in Saipan? Register subscribe to your home location and Saipan and run your personalised reports.