The people of the FSM are classified as Micronesians, although some inhabitants of Pohnpei State are of Polynesian origin. They are actually a heterogeneous mixture with different customs and traditions bound together by recent history and common aspiration.
The cultural diversity is typified by the existence of eight major indigenous languages, although English remains the official language of commerce. The cultural similarities are indicated by the importance of traditional extended family and clan systems found on each island.
Each of the State has developed unique cultural characteristics which are important to the potential outsiders especially those interested in visiting or investing in the islands. In Kosrae State, the Congregational Church plays an extremely important role in everyday life while in Chuuk, clan relationships remain an important factor. Yap continues as the most traditional society in the FSM with strong caste system.Over the last 15 years Pohnpei has rapidly developed as the most westernized state in the nation. This results in large part because the national government is located here. At the same time, traditional leadership continues to play an important role.
Over much of the last 40 years, the growth rate of population in the FSM has exceeded 3% per annum and the current rate of national increase remains high. However, since the Compact of Free Association was signed out-migration of about 2% of the population occurs each year, effectively lowering the growth rate to about 1%.
The population structure is heavily weighted in favor of the youth, and it is expected that the 15-24 age group will account for 50% of the population increase in this decade.