Vailoa attained the status of Pule (traditional political authority) sometime in the 19th century. The village is associated with the chiefly title of Lilomaiava. It is referred to as Vailoa i Palauli (Vailoa in Palau district).
Like most villages in Samoa, the local economy is based on subsistence living. The people live off their land from crops grown in plantations behind the village or fishing.
In recent years, village chiefs have been involved in a legal claim for customary land lost during the German era of Samoan colonialism. The dispute dates back to 1886 when customary land was sold to the family of Olaf Frederick Nelson. The village claims that the land is custom held and was never lawfully alienated and couldn't therefore become freehold. In 2008, the Samoa Court of Appeal turned down the claim for the second time.
The disputed land includes an area known in modern times as the Nelson Plantation where extensive prehistoric settlement remains and monuments have been surveyed and studied, including Pulemelei Mound.