An earth-science-based classification of islands within the Pacific Basin resulted from the preparation of a database describing the location, area, and type of 1779 islands, where island type is determined as a function of the prevailing lithology and maximum elevation of each island, with an island defined as a discrete landmass composed of a contiguous land area ≥1 ha (0.01 km2) above mean high-water level. Reefs lacking islands and short-lived (<20 years) transient islands are not included. The principal aim of the classification is to assess the spatial diversity of the geologic and geomorphic attributes of Pacific islands. It is intended to be valid at a regional scale and based on two attributes: five types of lithology (volcanic, limestone, composite, continental, surficial) and a distinction between high and low islands. These attributes yielded eight island types: volcanic high and low islands; limestone high and low islands; composite high and low islands; reef (including all unconsolidated) islands; and continental islands. Most common are reef islands (36 %) and volcanic high islands (31 %), whereas the least common are composite low islands (1 %). Continental islands, 18 of the 1779 islands examined, are not included in maps showing the distribution of island attributes and types. Rationale for the spatial distributions of the various island attributes is drawn from the available literature and canvassed in the text. With exception of the few continental islands, the distribution of island types is broadly interpretable from the proximity of island-forming processes. It is anticipated the classification will become the basis for more focused investigation of spatial variability of the climate and ocean setting as well as the biological attributes of Pacific islands. It may also be used in spatial assessments of second-order phenomena associated with the islands, such as their vulnerability to various disasters, coastal erosion, or ocean pollution as well as human populations, built infrastructure and natural resources.