WASHINGTON (AP) _ The populations of America's island territories are growing rapidly, led by St. Thomas and St. John in the Virgin Islands, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

Of the island territories, only Puerto Rico is not growing as fast as the nation as a whole - and that is largely due to migration of residents from that island to the mainland, the bureau reported.

Between 1980 and 1985 the population of St. Thomas and St. John in the Virgin Islands jumped 18.5 percent to 55,500, the bureau reported.

Close behind was Guam with a 16.8 percent increase to 123,700.

It was followed by the Northern Mariana Islands, up 14.0 percent to 19,100; American Samoa, up 12.4 percent to 36,300; St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, up 11.2 percent to 55,300, and Puerto Rico, up 2.7 percent to 3,282,200.

Migration from Puerto Rico had a major impact, with 157,000 people leaving the island during the five-year period. Had those people remained, the increase would have been 7.6 percent.

During the same period the population of the United States grew by 5.4 percent to 238,740,000.