An insular area is a United States territory, that is neither a part of one of the fifty U.S. states nor the District of Columbia, the federal district of the United States. They are called "insular" from the Latin word insula ("island") because they were once administered by the War Department's Bureau of Insular Affairs, now the Office of Insular Affairs at the Interior Department. The term insular possession is also sometimes used.
Because those insular areas that are inhabited are unincorporated territories, their native-born inhabitants are not constitutionally entitled to United States citizenship, under the Citizenship Clause. However, Congress has extended citizenship rights to all inhabited territories and these citizens may vote and run for office in any U.S. jurisdiction in which they are residents. The sole exception is American Samoa, whose people are U.S. nationals, but not U.S. citizens; they are free to move around and seek employment within the whole United States without immigration restrictions, but cannot vote or hold office outside of American Samoa.
Residents of insular areas do not pay U.S. federal income taxes, but are required to pay U.S. federal taxes, import/export taxes, federal commodity taxes, social security taxes etc. Individuals working with the Federal Government pay federal income taxes while the rest of the residents are required to pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare).
The U.S. State Department uses the term insular area to refer not only to these 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, they are legally distinct from the United States and their inhabitants are not United States citizens or nationals.
List and status of insular areas
Incorporated (integral part of United States)
- Palmyra Atoll (uninhabited, mostly owned by The Nature Conservancy but administered by the Office of Insular Affairs; part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands)
Unincorporated (United States' possessions)
- American Samoa (officially unorganized, although self-governing under authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior)
- Guam (organized under Organic Act of 1950)
- Northern Mariana Islands (commonwealth, organized under 1977 Covenant)
- Puerto Rico (territory with commonwealth status, organized under terms of Puerto Rico-Federal Relations Act)
- United States Virgin Islands (organized under Revised Organic Act of 1954)
Along with Palmyra Atoll, these form the United States Minor Outlying Islands:
- Baker Island
- Howland Island
- Jarvis Island
- Johnston Atoll
- Kingman Reef
- Midway Atoll (administered as a National Wildlife Refuge)
- Navassa Island (disputed with Haiti)
- Wake Island (disputed with Marshall Islands)
- Serranilla Bank (disputed with Colombia)
- Bajo Nuevo Bank (disputed with Colombia)
From July 18, 1947 until October 1, 1994, the U.S. administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but later entered into a new political relationship with all four political units (one of which is the Northern Mariana Islands listed above, the others being the three freely associated states noted below).
Freely associated states
The freely associated states are the three sovereign states with which the United States has entered into a Compact of Free Association.
- Philippines, granted to U.S. through the Treaty of Paris in 1898, achieved independence on July 4, 1946.
- Cuba, granted to U.S. through the Treaty of Paris in 1898, achieved independence on May 20, 1902.
- Commonwealth (United States insular area)
- Dependent territory
- Guano Islands Act
- Guantanamo Bay
- Insular Cases
- Political divisions of the United States
- Territorial acquisitions of the United States
- Territories of the United States
- Unorganized territory
- ^ "Definitions of Insular Area Political Organizations". Office of Insular Affairs. U.S. Department of the Interior. 2007-01-11. http://www.doi.gov/oia/Islandpages/political_types.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
- ^ "Puerto Ricans pay import/export taxes". Stanford.wellsphere.com. http://stanford.wellsphere.com/healthcare-industry-policy-article/puerto-rico/267827. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- ^ "Puerto Ricans pay federal commodity taxes". Stanford.wellsphere.com. http://stanford.wellsphere.com/healthcare-industry-policy-article/puerto-rico/267827. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- ^ "Internal Revenue Service. ',Topic 903 – Federal Employment Tax in Puerto Rico',". Irs.gov. December 18, 2009. http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc903.html. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- Office of Insular Affairs
- Department of the Interior Definitions of Insular Area Political Types
- Rubin, Richard, "The Lost Islands", The Atlantic Monthly, February 2001
- Chapter 7: Puerto Rico and the Outlying Areas, U.S. Census Bureau, Geographic Areas Reference Manual
Types of administrative country subdivisionsSmallcaps indicate a type used by ten or more countries. Current English terms
Alpine resort · Area (Insular area · Local government area · Special area · Urban (urbanized) area) · Bailiwick · Banner (Autonomous banner) · Block · Borough (County borough · Metropolitan borough) · Canton · Capital (Federal capital) · Circle · Circuit · City (Autonomous city · Chartered city · Independent city · Rural city) · Colony · Commune · Community (Autonomous community · Residential community) · Condominium · Constituency · County (Administrative county · Autonomous county · Metropolitan county) · Department · District (Autonomous district · Capital district · City district · Federal district · Metropolitan district · Municipal district · Subdistrict · Regional district) · Division (Cadastral division) · Duchy · Eldership · Federal dependency · Governorate · Hamlet · Municipality (Direct-controlled municipality · District municipality · Regional municipality · Regional county municipality · Rural municipality · Specialized municipality) · Neighbourhood · Parish (Civil parish) · Periphery · Prefecture (Autonomous prefecture · Subprefecture · Super-prefecture) · Principality (Co-principality) · Protectorate · Province (Autonomous province) · Quarter · Regency · Region (Autonomous region · Capital region · Special administrative region) · Republic (Autonomous republic) · Reservation (Reserve) · Riding · Sector · Shire · State · Suzerainty · Territory (Capital territory · Dependent territory · National territory · Union Territory) · Unit (Autonomous territorial unit · Local administrative unit) · Town · Townland · Township (Civil township) · Village (Summer village) · Ward
and loanword terms
Amt · Arrondissement · Bairro · Bakhsh · Baladiyah · Barangay · Bezirk / Regierungsbezirk · Comarca · Comune · Daïra · Deme · Frazione · Freguesia · Gmina · Gemeinde · İl · Județ · Kelurahan · Kommun · Kunta · Località · Mahalle · Megye · Muban · Nome · Oblast · Okrug (Autonomous okrug) · Ostān · Poblacion · Powiat · Purok · Raion · Ranchería · Shabiyah · Shahr · Shahrestān · Sitio · Sýsla · Taluka · Tehsil · Vingtaine · Voivodeship · Wilayah · Woreda
Defunct and historical
Defunct and historical
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
insular area — the cortex of the insula … Medical dictionary
Insular area (disambiguation) — Insular Area may refer to:*Insular area, a commonwealth, freely associated state, possession or territory controlled by the U.S. government * Insular area (biology), the region within an animal brain, containing the Insular cortex … Wikipedia
Commonwealth (U.S. insular area) — This article is about a type of U.S. insular area. For U.S. states that designate themselves as Commonwealths , see Commonwealth (U.S. state). For other uses, see Commonwealth. Administrative divisions of the United States First level States… … Wikipedia
Commonwealth (United States insular area) — This article is about U.S. insular areas. For U.S. States that designate themselves as Commonwealths , see Commonwealth (United States). For other uses of the term, see Commonwealth. In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a… … Wikipedia
Insular — may be: *adjective describing an island, and by extension those who are inward looking and parochial. *Insular area of the United States. *Insular (bus company), bus company in Santa Catarina. *Insular period, historical term … Wikipedia
Insular Cases — The Insular Cases are several U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning the status of territories acquired by the U.S. in the Spanish American War (1898). The name insular derives from the fact that these territories are islands and were administered… … Wikipedia
Area (subnational entity) — In addition to its other uses (see area), the word area may refer to any of the following types of subnational entities:*Local Government Area *Insular area *Urban planning areas in Singapore **Central Area *Census Metropolitan Area *National… … Wikipedia
Insular Italy — refers to the macro region composed of the country s two largest islands and their respective regions, Sicily and Sardinia. The two islands are both autonomous regions with special statute due to unique historical, cultural, and linguistic… … Wikipedia
Área insular de Estados Unidos — Un área insular es un término genérico utilizado por la administración de los Estados Unidos para referirse a los territorios que no forman parte del centro de los estados federados. En general, los habitantes de las áreas insulares tienen… … Wikipedia Español
Insular Mountains — Geobox | Range name=Insular Mountains image caption=Golden Hinde, south aspect, August 2006. country=Canada region type=Province region=British Columbia parent=Pacific Cordillera highest=Golden Hinde highest elevation=2195 highest lat… … Wikipedia