This article is about the U.S. state of Hawaii. For the island of Hawaiʻi, see Hawaii (island). For other uses, see Hawaii (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Hawaiki.

Coordinates: 21°18′41″N 157°47′47″W / 21.31139°N 157.79639°W / 21.31139; -157.79639{{#coordinates:21|18|41|N|157|47|47|W|type:adm1st_scale:3000000_region:US-HI |primary |name= }}

State of Hawaii
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi'  (Hawaiian)
Flag of Hawaii State seal of Hawaii
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Aloha State (official), Paradise, The Islands of Aloha
Motto(s): Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
("The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness")[1]
State song(s): "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī
(Hawaiʻi's Own True Sons)[2]
Official language English, Hawaiian
Demonym Hawaiian[a]
(and largest city)
Largest metro Oahu metropolitan area
Area Ranked 43rd
 - Total 10,931 sq mi
(28,311 km2)
 - Width n/a miles (n/a km)
 - Length 1,522 miles (2,450 km)
 - % water 41.2
 - Latitude 18° 55′ N to 28° 27′ N
 - Longitude 154° 48′ W to 178° 22′ W
Population Ranked 40th
 - Total 1,419,561 (2014 est)[3]
 - Density 214/sq mi  (82.6/km2)
Ranked 13th
 - Median household income $63,746 (5th)
 - Highest point Mauna Kea[4][5][6][7]
13,796 ft (4205.0 m)
 - Mean 3,030 ft  (920 m)
 - Lowest point Pacific Ocean[5]
sea level
Before statehood Territory of Hawaii
Admission to Union August 21, 1959 (50th)
Governor David Ige (D)
Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui (D)
Legislature State Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D)
Mazie Hirono (D)
U.S. House delegation 1: Mark Takai (D)
2: Tulsi Gabbard (D) (list)
Time zone Hawaii: UTC −10
(no DST)
Abbreviations HI, US-HI

Template:Infobox U.S. state symbols

Hawaii (English pronunciation: Listeni/həˈwʲi/ hə-WY-(y)ee; locally, [həˈwɐ(ɪ)ʔi]; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [hɐˈvɐiʔi]) is the 50th and most recent U.S. state to join the United States, having joined on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas. The state does not observe daylight saving time.

The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over Script error: No such module "convert".. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii's culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.

Hawaii is the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the fifty U.S. states. It is the only state with an Asian plurality. The state's coastline is about Script error: No such module "convert". long, the fourth longest in the U.S. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida and California.


The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland".[8] Cognates of Hawaiʻi are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan (ʻAvaiki) and Samoan (Savaiʻi) . According to linguists Pukui and Elbert,[9] "[e]lsewhere in Polynesia, Hawaiʻi or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the ancestral home, but in Hawaii, the name has no meaning".[10]

Spelling of state name

A somewhat divisive political issue arose in 1978 when the Constitution of the State of Hawaii added Hawaiian as a second official state language.[11] The title of the state constitution is The Constitution of the State of Hawaii. Article XV, Section 1 of the Constitution uses The State of Hawaii.[12] Diacritics were not used because the document, drafted in 1949,[13] predates the use of the okina (ʻ) and the kahakō in modern Hawaiian orthography. The exact spelling of the state's name in the islands' language is Hawaiʻi.[b] In the Hawaii Admission Act that granted Hawaiian statehood, the federal government recognized Hawaii as the official state name. Official government publications, as well as department and office titles, use the traditional Hawaiian spelling with no symbols for glottal stops or vowel length.[14] In contrast, the National and State Parks Services, the University of Hawaiʻi and some private enterprises implement these symbols. A precedent for changes to U.S. state names was set in 1780 when the Massachusetts Bay State changed its name to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the 1820s when the Territory of Arkansaw changed the spelling of its name to the Territory of Arkansas.

Geography and environment

File:ISS-38 Hawaiian Island chain.jpg
Hawaii from space, January 26, 2014[15]

There are eight main Hawaiian islands, seven of which are permanently inhabited. The island of Niʻihau is privately managed by brothers Bruce and Keith Robinson; access is restricted to those who have permission from the island's owners.

Island Nickname Area Population
(as of 2010)
Density Highest point Elevation Age (Ma)[16] Location
Hawaiʻi[17] The Big Island 1 Script error: No such module "convert". 185,079 4 45.948/sq mi (17.7407/km2) Mauna Kea 1 Script error: No such module "convert". 0.4 34|N|155|30|W|type:isle name=Hawaii


Maui[18] The Valley Isle 2 Script error: No such module "convert". 144,444 2 198.630/sq mi (76.692/km2) Haleakalā 2 Script error: No such module "convert". 1.3–0.8 48|N|156|20|W|type:isle name=Maui


Oʻahu[19] The Gathering Place 3 Script error: No such module "convert". 953,207 1 1,597.46/sq mi (616.78/km2) Mount Kaʻala 5 Script error: No such module "convert". 3.7–2.6 28|N|157|59|W|type:isle name=Oahu


Kauaʻi[20] The Garden Isle 4 Script error: No such module "convert". 66,921 3 121.168/sq mi (46.783/km2) Kawaikini 3 Script error: No such module "convert". 5.1 05|N|159|30|W|type:isle name=Kauai


Molokaʻi[21] The Friendly Isle 5 Script error: No such module "convert". 7,345 5 28.250/sq mi (10.9074/km2) Kamakou 4 Script error: No such module "convert". 1.9–1.8 08|N|157|02|W|type:isle name=Molokai


Lānaʻi[22] The Pineapple Isle 6 Script error: No such module "convert". 3,135 6 22.313/sq mi (8.615/km2) Lānaʻihale 6 Script error: No such module "convert". 1.3 50|N|156|56|W|type:isle name=Lanai


Niʻihau[23] The Forbidden Isle 7 Script error: No such module "convert". 170 7 2.45/sq mi (0.944/km2) Mount Pānīʻau 8 Script error: No such module "convert". 4.9 54|N|160|10|W|type:isle name=Niihau


Kahoʻolawe[24] The Target Isle 8 Script error: No such module "convert". 0 8 0 Puʻu Moaulanui 7 Script error: No such module "convert". 1.0 33|N|156|36|W|type:isle name=Kahoolawe



File:Hawaii in Pacific Ocean.png
The Hawaiian Islands are located in the North Pacific Ocean

The Hawaiian archipelago is located Script error: No such module "convert". southwest of the continental United States.[25] Hawaii is the southernmost U.S. state and the second westernmost after Alaska. Hawaii, along with Alaska, does not border any other U.S. state. It is the only U.S. state that is not geographically located in North America, the only state completely surrounded by water and can be considered entirely an archipelago, and the only state in which coffee is cultivable.

Besides the state's eight main islands, there are many smaller islands and islets. Kaʻula is a small island near Niʻihau that is often overlooked. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands is a group of nine small, older islands to the northwest of Kauaʻi that extend from Nihoa to Kure Atoll; these are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. Across the archipelago are around 130 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, which are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin.[26]

Hawaii's tallest mountain Mauna Kea is Script error: No such module "convert". above mean sea level;[27] it is taller than Mount Everest if measured the base of the mountain, which lies on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and rises about Script error: No such module "convert"..[28]


File:Pāhoehoe lava meets Pacific.jpg
Pāhoehoe, or smooth lava, spills into the Pacific Ocean, forming new rock off the coast of the Island of Hawaii.

The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called the Hawaii hotspot. The process is continuing to build islands; the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean continually moves northwest and the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Because of the hotspot's location, all currently-active land volcanoes are located on the southern half of Hawaii Island. The newest volcano, ʻihi Seamount, is located south of the coast of Hawaii Island.

The last volcanic eruption outside Hawaii Island occurred at Haleakalā on Maui before the late 18th century, though it could have been hundreds of years earlier.[29] In 1790, Kīlauea exploded; it was the deadliest eruption known to have occurred in the modern era in what is now the United States.[30] Up to 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kīlauea were killed by the eruption.[31] Volcanic activity and subsequent erosion have created impressive geological features. Hawaii Island has the third-highest point among the world's islands.[32]

On the flanks of the volcanoes, slope instability has generated damaging earthquakes and related tsunamis, particularly in 1868 and 1975.[33] Steep cliffs have been created by catastrophic debris avalanches on the submerged flanks of ocean island volcanoes.[34][35]

Flora and fauna

File:Corvus hawaiiensis.jpg
Corvus hawaiiensis, the scientific name of the endemic Hawaiian crow (ʻalalā), is extinct in the wild.

Because the islands of Hawaii are distant from other land habitats, life is thought to have arrived there by wind, waves (i.e. by ocean currents) and wings (i.e. birds, insects, and any seeds they may have carried on their feathers). This isolation, in combination with the diverse environment (including extreme altitudes, tropical climates, and arid shorelines), produced an array of endemic flora and fauna. Hawaii has more endangered species and has lost a higher percentage of its endemic species than any other U.S. state.[36] One endemic plant, Brighamia, now requires hand-pollination because its natural pollinator is presumed to be extinct.[37] The two species of BrighamiaB. rockii and B. insignis—are represented in the wild by around 120 individual plants. To ensure these plants set seed, biologists rappel down Script error: No such module "convert". cliffs to brush pollen onto their stigmas.[38]

The extant main islands of the archipelago have been above the surface of the ocean for fewer than 10 million years; a fraction of the time biological colonization and evolution have occurred there. The islands are well known for the environmental diversity that occurs on high mountains within a trade winds field. On a single island, the climate around the coasts can range from dry tropical (less than Script error: No such module "convert". annual rainfall) to wet tropical; on the slopes, envionments range from tropical rainforest (more than Script error: No such module "convert". per year), through a temperate climate, to alpine conditions with a cold, dry climate. The rainy climate impacts soil development, which largely determines ground permeability, affecting the distribution of streams and wetlands.[citation needed]

Protected areas

Several areas in Hawaii are under the protection of the National Park Service.[39] Hawaii has two national parks: Haleakala National Park located near Kula on the island of Maui, which features the dormant volcano Haleakalā that formed east Maui, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the southeast region of the Hawaiʻi Island, which includes the active volcano Kīlauea and its rift zones.

There are three national historical parks; Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi, the site of a former leper colony; Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park in Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island; and Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, an ancient place of refuge on Hawaiʻi Island's west coast. Other areas under the control of the National Park Service include Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on Hawaiʻi Island and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on Oʻahu.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was proclaimed by President George W. Bush on June 15, 2006. The monument covers roughly Script error: No such module "convert". of reefs, atolls, and shallow and deep sea out to Script error: No such module "convert". offshore in the Pacific Ocean—an area larger than all of the national parks in the U.S. combined.[40]


A true-color satellite view of Hawaii shows that most of the vegetation on the islands grows on the northeast sides which face the wind. The silver glow around the southwest of the islands is the result of calmer waters.[41]

Hawaii's climate is typical for the tropics, although temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme because of near-constant trade winds from the east. Summer highs usually reach around Script error: No such module "convert". during the day and Script error: No such module "convert". at night. Winter day temperatures are usually around Script error: No such module "convert".; at low elevation they seldom dip below Script error: No such module "convert". at night. Snow, not usually associated with the tropics, falls at Script error: No such module "convert". on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Hawaii Island in some winter months. Snow rarely falls on Haleakalā. Mount Waiʻaleʻale on Kauaʻi has the second-highest average annual rainfall on Earth, about Script error: No such module "convert". per year. Most of Hawaii experiences only two seasons; the dry season runs from May to October and the wet season is from October to April.[42]

The warmest temperature recorded in the state, in Pahala on April 27, 1931, is Script error: No such module "convert"., making it tied with Alaska as the lowest high temperature recorded in a U.S. state[citation needed]. Hawaii's record low temperature is Script error: No such module "convert". observed in May 1979 on the summit of Mauna Kea. Hawaii is the only state to have never recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures.[citation needed]

Climates vary considerably on each island; they can be divided into windward and leeward (koʻolau and kona, respectively) areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face cloud cover.[citation needed]

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: National Climate Data Center
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: National Climate Data Center
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: National Climate Data Center
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: National Climate Data Center
Lanaʻi City
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: National Climate Data Center


Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is antipodal to inhabited land. Most of the state lies opposite Botswana, though Niʻihau's antipode aligns with Namibia and Kauaʻi's straddles the Botswana–Namibia border. This area of Africa near Maun and Ghanzi includes nature reserves and small settlements near the Okavango Delta.[43][44]


Main article: History of Hawaii

Hawaii is one of four U.S. states—apart from the original thirteen—the Vermont Republic (1791), the Republic of Texas (1845), and the California Republic (1846)—that were independent prior to statehood. Along with Texas, Hawaii had formal, international diplomatic recognition.[45]

The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi was sovereign from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American and European capitalists and landholders in a coup d'état. Hawaii was an independent republic from 1894 until August 12, 1898, when it officially became a territory of the United States. Hawaii was declared a U.S. state on August 21, 1959.[46]

First human settlement – Ancient Hawaiʻi (800–1778)

Main article: Ancient Hawaii

The earliest habitation of the Hawaiian Islands supported by archaeological evidence dates to around 300 CE, probably by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas Islands, followed by a second wave of migration from Raiatea and Bora Bora in the 11th century. The actual date of the human discovery and habitation of the Hawaiian Islands is the subject of academic debate.[47] Some archaeologists and historians believe an early settlement from the Marquesas and a later wave of immigrants from Tahiti around 1000 CE introduced a new line of high chiefs, the kapu system, the practice of human sacrifice and the building of heiau.[citation needed] This later immigration is detailed in Hawaiian mythology (moʻolelo) about Paʻao. Other authors say there is no archaeological or linguistic evidence for a later influx of Tahitian settlers and that Paʻao must be regarded as a myth.[citation needed]

The history of the islands is marked by a slow, steady growth in population and the size of the chiefdoms, which grew to encompass whole islands. Local chiefs, called aliʻi, ruled their settlements, and launched wars to extend their influence and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Ancient Hawaii was a caste-based society, much like that of Hindus in India.[48]

European arrival and the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi

It is possible that Spanish explorers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the 16th century—200 years before Captain James Cook's first documented visit in 1778. Ruy López de Villalobos commanded a fleet of six ships that left Acapulco in 1542 bound for the Philippines with a Spanish sailor named Juan Gaetano aboard as pilot. Depending on the interpretation, Gaetano's reports describe an encounter with either Hawaiʻi or the Marshall Islands.[49] If de Villalobos' crew had spotted Hawaiʻi, Gaetano would be the first European to see the islands. Some scholars have dismissed these claims due to a lack of credibility.[50][51]

Spanish archives contain a chart that depicts islands at the same the latitude as Hawaiʻi but with a longitude ten degrees east of the islands. In this manuscript, the island of Maui is named La Desgraciada (The Unfortunate Island), and what appears to be Hawaiʻi Island is named La Mesa (The Table). Islands resembling Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokai are named Los Monjes (The Monks).[52] For two-and-a-half centuries, Spanish galleons crossed the Pacific along a route that passed south of Hawaiʻi on their way to Manila. The exact route was kept secret to protect the Spanish trade monopoly against competing powers.

The 1778 arrival of British explorer James Cook was Hawaii's first documented contact with European explorers. Cook named the islands the Sandwich Islands in honor of his sponsor John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Cook published the islands' location and rendered the native name as Owyhee. This spelling lives on in Owyhee County, Idaho, after three Hawaiian members of a trapping party went missing in that area.[citation needed]

Cook visited the Hawaiian Islands twice. Upon his departure during his second visit in 1779, a quarrel ensued after Cook took temple idols and fencing as "firewood",[53] and a minor chief and his men took a ship's boat. Cook then abducted the King of Hawaiʻi Island, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, and held him for ransom aboard his ship for the return of Cook's boat, a tactic which had worked for Cook in Tahiti and other islands.[54] Kalaniʻōpuʻu's supporters fought back, killing Cook and four marines as Cook's party retreated to their ship on the beach.

After Cook's visit and the publication of several books relating his voyages, the Hawaiian islands received many European visitors—explorers, traders, and eventually whalers, who found the islands to be a convenient harbor and source of supplies. Early British influence can be seen in the design of the flag of Hawaiʻi, which bears the Union Jack in the top-left corner. These visitors introduced diseases to the once-isolated islands, causing the Hawaiian population to drop precipitously.[55] Native Hawaiians had no resistance to Eurasian diseases, such as influenza, smallpox and measles. By 1820, disease, famine and wars between the chiefs killed more than half of the Native Hawaiian population.[56] During the 1850s, measles killed a fifth of Hawaii's people.[57]

Historical records indicated the earliest Chinese immigrants to Hawaii originated from Guangdong Province; a few sailors arrived in 1778 with Captain Cook's journey and more arrived in 1789 with an American trader, who settled in Hawaii in the late 18th century.[citation needed]

House of Kamehameha

File:Kamehameha I.png
King Kamehameha I conquered the Hawaiian Islands and established a unified monarchy across the archipelago.

During the 1780s and 1790s, chiefs often fought for power. After a series of battles that ended in 1795, all inhabited islands were subjugated under a single ruler, who became known as King Kamehameha the Great. He established the House of Kamehameha, a dynasty that ruled the kingdom until 1872.[citation needed]

After Kamehameha II inherited the throne in 1819, American Protestant missionaries to Hawaii converted many Hawaiians to Christianity, the influence of which ended many ancient practices.[which?] The islands' first Christan king was Kamehameha III.[when?][citation needed] Hiram Bingham I, a prominent Protestant missionary, was a trusted adviser to the monarchy during this period. Other missionaries and their descendants became active in commercial and political affairs, leading to conflicts between the monarchy and its restive American subjects.[citation needed] Missionaries from other Christian denominations, including were active in the kingdom, but these only converted a minority of the Native Hawaiian population.[citation needed]

The death of the bachelor King Kamehameha V—who did not name an heir—resulted in the popular election of Lunalilo over Kalākaua. Lunalilo died the next year, also without naming an heir. In 1874, the election was contested within the legislature between Kalākaua and Emma, Queen Consort of Kamehameha IV. This led to riots and the landing of U.S. and British troops, and governance passed to the House of Kalākaua.[clarification needed]

1887 Constitution and overthrow preparations

In 1887, Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Drafted by white businessmen and lawyers, the document stripped the king of much of his authority. There was a property qualification for voting, disenfranchising most Hawaiians and immigrant laborers and favoring the wealthier, white elite. Resident whites were allowed to vote but resident Asians were not. Because the 1887 Constitution was signed under threat of violence, it is known as the Bayonet Constitution. King Kalākaua, reduced to a figurehead, reigned until his death in 1891. His sister, Queen Liliʻuokalani, succeeded him; she was the last monarch of Hawaiʻi.[citation needed]

In 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani announced plans for a new constitution. On January 14, 1893, a group of mostly Euro-American business leaders and residents formed the Committee of Safety to stage a coup d'état against the kingdom and seek annexation by the United States. United States Government Minister John L. Stevens, responding to a request from the Committee of Safety, summoned a company of U.S. marines. According to historian William Russ, the presence of these troops effectively rendered the monarchy unable to protect itself.[58]

Overthrow of 1893—the Republic of Hawaii (1894–1898)

File:Liliuokalani in 1891.jpg
Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
File:NORTHEAST FACADE - Iolani Palace, King and Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI HABS HI,2-HONLU,8-7.tif
The ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu, formerly the residence of the Hawaiian monarch, was the capitol of the Republic of Hawaii.

In January 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown and replaced by a provisional government composed of members of the American Committee of Safety. American lawyer Sanford B. Dole became President of the Republic when the Provisional Government of Hawaii ended on July 4, 1894. Controversy ensued in the following years as the Queen tried to regain her throne. The administration of President Grover Cleveland commissioned the Blount Report, which concluded the removal of Liliʻuokalani was illegal. The U.S. government first demanded that Queen Liliʻuokalani be reinstated but the Provisional Government refused. Congress followed with another investigation, and on February 26, 1894, submitted the Morgan Report, which found all parties, including Minister Stevens—with the exception of the Queen—"not guilty" and not responsible for the coup.[59] Partisans on both sides of the debate questioned the accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports over the events of 1893.[58][60][61][62]

In 1993, a joint Apology Resolution regarding the overthrow was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. The resolution apologized for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and said the United States had annexed Hawaii unlawfully.[62]

Annexation—the Territory of Hawaii (1898–1959)

File:USS SHAW exploding Pearl Harbor Nara 80-G-16871 2.jpg
The attack on Pearl Harbor was the primary event that galvanized the United States to enter World War II.

After William McKinley won the 1896 U.S. presidential election, Hawaii's annexation was again discussed. The previous president, Grover Cleveland, was a friend of Queen Liliʻuokalani. McKinley was open to persuasion by U.S. expansionists and by annexationists from Hawaiʻi. He met with three annexationists: Lorrin A. Thurston, Francis March Hatch and William Ansel Kinney. After negotiations in June 1897, Secretary of State John Sherman agreed to a treaty of annexation with these representatives of the Republic of Hawaii.[63] The U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty. Despite the opposition of most native Hawaiians,[64] the Newlands Resolution was used to annex the Republic to the U.S.; it became the Territory of Hawaii. The Newlands Resolution was passed by the House on June 15, 1898 by 209 votes in favor to 91 against, and by the Senate on July 6, 1898 by a vote of 42 to 21.[citation needed]

In 1900, Hawaii was granted self-governance and retained ʻIolani Palace as the territorial capitol building. Despite several attempts to become a state, Hawaii remained a territory for sixty years. Plantation owners and capitalists, who maintained control through financial institutions such as the Big Five, found territorial status convenient because they remained able to import cheap, foreign labor. Such immigration and labor practices were prohibited in many states.[citation needed]

Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii began in 1899 when Puerto Rico's sugar industry was devastated by two hurricanes, causing a worldwide shortage of sugar and a huge demand for sugar from Hawaii. Hawaiian sugar plantation owners began to recruit experienced, unemployed laborers in Puerto Rico. Two waves of Korean immigration to Hawaii occurred in the 20th century. The first wave arrived between 1903 and 1924; the second wave began in 1965 after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 into law.[citation needed]

Oʻahu was the target of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan on December 7, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor and other military and naval installations, carried out by aircraft and by midget submarines, brought the United States into World War II.

Political changes of 1954—the State of Hawaii (1959–present)

File:Food-Hawaii-Canning. Native girls packing pineapple into cans. - NARA - 522863.tif
Prior to the postwar labor movement, Hawaii was governed by U.S. agricultural elites and entrepreneurs. Here, three young women pack pineapples into cans in 1928.

In the 1950s, the power of the plantation owners was broken by the descendants of immigrant laborers, who were born in the incorporated U.S. territory and were U.S. citizens. The Hawaii Republican Party, strongly supported by plantation owners, was voted out of office. The Democratic Party of Hawaii dominated territorial and state politics for over 40 years. Eager to gain full voting rights, Hawaii's residents actively campaigned for statehood.[citation needed]

In March 1959, Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act, which U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law.[65] The act excluded Palmyra Atoll, which had been part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaii, from statehood. On June 27, 1959, a referendum asked residents of Hawaii to vote on the statehood bill; 94.3% voted in favor of statehood and 5.7% opposed it.[66] The referendum asked voters to choose between accepting the Act and remaining a U.S. territory; there was no option of independence.[67][68] The United Nations' Special Committee on Decolonization later removed Hawaii from its list of self-governing territories.

After attaining statehood, Hawaii quickly modernized through construction and a rapidly growing tourism economy. Later, state programs promoted Hawaiian culture.[which?] The Hawaii State Constitutional Convention of 1978 created institutions such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote indigenous language and culture.[citation needed]



File:Hawaii population map.png
Population density map of the Hawaiian islands.

After the arrival of Europeans and Americans, the population of Hawaii fell dramatically until an influx of primarily Asian settlers arrived as migrant laborers at the end of the 19th century.[69]

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Hawaii was 1,419,561 on July 1, 2014; an increase of 4.36% since the 2010 United States Census.[3] As of 2014, Hawaii had an estimated population of 1,419,561; an increase of 15,507 from the previous year and an increase of 59,260 (4.36%) since 2010. This includes a natural increase of 48,111 (96,028 births minus 47,917 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 16,956 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 30,068; migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,112 people. The center of population of Hawaii is located between the two islands of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi. Large numbers of Native Hawaiians have moved to Las Vegas, which has been the "ninth island" of Hawaii.[70][71]

Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.4 million, due in part to a large number of military settlers and tourist residents. Oʻahu is the most populous island; it has the highest population density with a resident population of just under one million in Script error: No such module "convert"., about 1,650 people per square mile.[c][citation needed] Hawaii's 1.4 million residents, spread across Script error: No such module "convert". of land, results in an average population density of 188.6 persons per square mile.[72] The state has a lower population density than Ohio and Illinois.[73]

The average projected lifespan of people born in Hawaii in 2000 is 79.8 years; 77.1 years if male, 82.5 if female—longer than the average lifespan of any other U.S. state.[74] As of 2011 the U.S. military reported it had 42,371 personnel on the islands.[75]

Historical population
Year Population Notes
1778 400,000
1805 264,160
1831 130,313 Census
1850 82,000
1853 73,134 2,119 foreigners
1872 56,897
1876 53,900
1884 80,000 The native population continues to decline.
1890 40,000 native Hawaiians
1900 154,001 About 25% Hawaiian/part-Hawaiian; 40% Japanese; 16% Chinese; 12% Portuguese; and about 5% other Caucasian
1910 191,874 people 26,041 Hawaiians and 12,056 part-Hawaiians
1920 255,881 42.7% of the population is of Japanese descent.
1930 368,336
1940 420,770
1950 499,794
1960 632,772
1970 769,913
1980 964,691
1990 1,108,228
2000 1,211,537 239,655 native Hawaiians; Japanese: 21%; Filipino: 17.7%; Chinese: 8.3%; German: 5.8%

Race and ethnicity

Further information: Europeans in Oceania and Africans in Hawaii
File:Hermann A. Widemann and family, ca. 1860s.jpg
Mixed Hawaiian/white family in Honolulu, 1860s
Historical population
Census Pop.

<tr><td style="text-align:center">1900</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">154,001</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">—</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1910</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">191,874</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1920</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">255,881</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1930</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">368,300</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1940</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">422,770</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1950</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">499,794</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1960</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">632,772</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1970</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">769,913</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1980</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">964,691</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">1990</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">1,108,229</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">2000</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">1,211,537</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">2010</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">1,360,301</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td style="text-align:center">Est. 2014</td><td style="padding-left:8px; ">1,419,561</td><td style="font-size:85%"></td><td style="padding-left:8px; text-align: center;">Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).%</td></tr><tr><td colspan=4 style="border-top:1px solid black; font-size:85%; text-align:center">Source: 1910–2010[76]
2014 estimate[3]</td></tr>

According to the 2010 United States Census, Hawaii had a population of 1,360,301. The state's population was 38.6% Asian; 24.7% White (22.7% Non-Hispanic White Alone); 23.6% from two or more races; 10.0% Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; 8.9% Hispanics and Latinos of any race; 1.6% Black or African American; 1.2% from some other race; and 0.3% Native American and Alaska Native.[77]

Hawaii Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1970[78] 1990[78] 2000[79] 2010[80]
White 38.8% 33.4% 24.3% 24.7%
Asian 57.7%[81] 61.8%[81] 41.6% 38.6%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
9.4% 10.0%
Black 1.0% 2.5% 1.8% 1.6%
Native 0.1% 0.5% 0.3% 0.3%
Other race 2.4% 1.9% 1.2% 1.2%
Two or more races 21.4% 23.6%

Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans and Multi-racial Americans, and the lowest percentage of White Americans of any state. In 2011, 14.5% of births were to white, non-Hispanic parents.[82] Hawaii's Asian population consists mainly of 198,000 (14.6%) Filipino Americans, 185,000 (13.6%) Japanese Americans, roughly 55,000 (4.0%) Chinese Americans and 24,000 (1.8%) Korean Americans.[citation needed] There are over 80,000 Indigenous Hawaiians—5.9% of the population.[83] Including those with partial ancestry, Samoan Americans comprise 2.8% of Hawaii's population and Tongan Americans comprise 0.6% of the state population.[84]

Over 120,000 (8.8%) of Hispanic and Latino Americans live in Hawaii. Mexican Americans number over 35,000 (2.6%); Puerto Ricans exceed 44,000 (3.2%). Multiracial Americans comprise almost 25% of Hawaii's population, exceeding 320,000 people. Eurasian Americans are a prominent, mixed-race group, numbering about 66,000 (4.9%). The Non-Hispanic White population numbers around 310,000—just over 20% of the population. The multi-racial population outnumbers the non-Hispanic white population by about 10,000 people.[83] In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Hawaii's population was 38.8% white and 57.7% Asian and Pacific Islander.[85]

The five largest European ancestries in Hawaii are German (7.4%), Irish (5.2%), English (4.6%), Portuguese (4.3%) and Italian (2.7%). About 82.2% of the state's residents were born in the United States. Roughly 75% of foreign-born residents originate in Asia. Hawaii is a majority-minority state and is expected to be one of three states that will not have a non-Hispanic white plurality in 2014; the other two are California and New Mexico.[86]

Ancestry groups

File:Early Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.jpg
Japanese immigration to Hawaii was largely fueled by the high demand for plantation labor in Hawaii post-annexation.
File:Portuguese immigrant family in Hawaii during the 19th century.jpg
Many Portuguese immigrants were Azorean or Madeiran. They brought with them Roman Catholicism and insular Portuguese language and cuisine.
Population of Hawaii[87]
Ancestry Percentage Main article:
Filipino 13.6% See Filipinos in Hawaii
Japanese 12.6% See Japanese American
Polynesian 9.0% See Native Hawaiians
German 7.4% See German American
Irish 5.2% See Irish American
English 4.6% See English American
Portuguese 4.3% See Portuguese American
Chinese 4.1% See Chinese American
Korean 3.1% See Korean American
Mexican 2.9% See Mexican American
Puerto Rican 2.8% See Puerto Rican
Italian 2.7% See Italian American
African 2.4% See African American
French 1.7% See French American
Samoan 1.3% See Samoan American
Scottish 1.2% See Scottish American

The third group of foreigners to arrive in Hawaii were from China. Chinese workers on Western trading ships settled in Hawaii starting in 1789. In 1820, the first American missionaries arrived to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians Western ways.[88] As of 2015, a large proportion of Hawaii's population have Asian ancestry—especially Filipino, Japanese and Chinese. Many are descendants of immigrants brought to work on the sugar plantations in the md-to-late 19th century. The first 153 Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii on June 19, 1868. They were not "legally" approved by the Japanese government because the contract was between a broker and the Tokugawa shogunate—by then replaced by the Meiji Restoration. The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived on February 9, 1885, after Kalākaua's petition to Emperor Meiji when Kalākaua visited Japan in 1881.[89][90]

Almost 13,000 Portuguese migrants had arrived by 1899; they also worked on the sugar plantations.[91] By 1901, over 5,000 Puerto Ricans were living in Hawaii.[92]


English (General American) and Hawaiian are listed as Hawaii's "official languages" in the state's 1978 constitution. Article XV, Section 4 specifies that "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law". Hawaiʻi Creole English, locally referred to as "Pidgin", is the native language of many native residents and is a second language for many others.[citation needed]

As of the 2000 Census, 73.44% of Hawaii residents aged five and older exclusively speak English at home.[93] According to the 2008 American Community Survey, 74.6% of Hawaii's residents over the age of five speak only English at home.[87] In their homes, 21.0% of state residents speak an additional Asian language, 2.6% speak Spanish, 1.6% speak other Indo-European languages and 0.2% speak an other language.[87]

After English, other languages popularly spoken in the state are Tagalog, Japanese and Ilokano. Significant numbers of European immigrants and their descendants also speak their native languages; the most numerous are German, Portuguese, Italian and French.[citation needed] 5.37% of resifdents speak Tagalog—which includes non-native speakers of Filipino language, the national, co-official, Tagalog-based language; 4.96% speak Japanese and 4.05% speak Ilokano; 1.2% speak Chinese, 1.68% speak Hawaiian; 1.66% speak Spanish; 1.61% speak Korean; and 1.01% speak Samoan.[93]


Main article: Hawaiian language

The Hawaiian language has about 2,000 native speakers, less than 0.1% of the total population.[94] According to the United States Census, there were over 24,000 total speakers of the language in Hawaii in 2006-2008.[95] Hawaiian is a Polynesian member of the Austronesian language family.[94] It is closely related to other Polynesian languages, such as Marquesan, Tahitian, Māori, Rapa Nui (the language of Easter Island), and less closely to Samoan and Tongan.[citation needed]

According to Schütz, the Marquesans colonized the archipelago in roughly 300 CE[96] and were later followed by waves of seafarers from the Society Islands, Samoa and Tonga.[citation needed]

These Polynesians remained in the islands; they eventually became the Hawaiian people and their languages evolved into the Hawaiian language.[97] Kimura and Wilson say, "[l]inguists agree that Hawaiian is closely related to Eastern Polynesian, with a particularly strong link in the Southern Marquesas, and a secondary link in Tahiti, which may be explained by voyaging between the Hawaiian and Society Islands".[98] Before the arrival of Captain James Cook, the Hawaiian language had no written form. That form was developed mainly by American Protestant |missionaries between 1820 and 1826. They assigned to the Hawaiian phonemes letters from the Latin alphabet.[citation needed]

Interest in Hawaiian increased significantly in the late 20th century. With the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, specially designated immersion schools in which all subjects would be taught in Hawaiian were established. The University of Hawaii developed a Hawaiian language graduate studies program. Municipal codes were altered to favor Hawaiian place and street names for new civic developments.[citation needed] Hawaiian-language newspapers (nūpepa) published from 1834 to 1948 and traditional native speakers of Hawaiian generally omit the marks in their own writing. The ʻokina and kahakō are intended to help non-native speakers.[citation needed] A sign language for the deaf, based on the Hawaiian language, has been in use in the islands since the early 1800s. Hawaiʻi Sign Language is now nearly extinct.[citation needed]

Hawaiian distinguishes between long and short vowel sounds. In modern practice, vowel length is indicated with a macron (kahakō). The Hawaiian language uses the glottal stop (ʻokina) as a consonant. It is written as a symbol similar to the apostrophe or left-hanging (opening) single quotation mark.[citation needed]

Hawaiian Pidgin

Main article: Hawaiian Pidgin

Some residents of Hawaii speak Hawaiʻi Creole English (HCE), endonymically called pidgin or pidgin English. The lexicon of HCE derives mainly from English but also uses words that have derived from Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Ilocano and Tagalog. During the 19th century, the increase in immigration—mainly from China, Japan, Portugal—especially from the Azores and Madeira, and Spain—catalyzed the development of a hybrid variant of English known to its speakers as pidgin. By the early 20th century, pidgin speakers had children who acquired it as their first language. HCE speakers use some Hawaiian words without those words being considered archaic.[clarification needed] Most place names are retained from Hawaiian, as are some names for plants and animals. For example, tuna fish is often called by its Hawaiian name, ahi.[citation needed]

HCE speakers have modified the meanings of some English words. For example, "aunty" and "uncle" may either refer to any adult who is a friend or be used to show respect to an elder. Syntax and grammar follow distinctive rules different from those of General American English. For example, instead of "it is hot today, isn't it?", an HCE speaker would say simply "stay hot, eh?"[d] The term da kine is used as a filler; a substitute for virtually any word or phrase. During the surfing boom in Hawaii, HCE was influenced by surfer slang. Some HCE expressions, such as brah and da kine, have found their ways elsewhere through surfing communities.[citation needed]


The largest denominations by number of adherents were the Catholic Church with 249,619 adherents in 2010[99] and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 68,128 adherents in 2009.[100] The third-largest religious group includes all non-denominational churches, with 128 congregations and 32,000 members. The third-largest denominational group is the United Church of Christ, with 115 congregations and 20,000 members. The Southern Baptist Convention has 108 congregations and 18,000 members in Hawaii.[101]

According to data provided by religious establishments, religion in Hawaii in 2000 was distributed as follows:[102][103]

  • Christianity: 351,000 (29%)
  • Buddhism: 110,000 (9%)
  • Judaism: 10,000 (0.8%)
  • Other: 100,000 (10%)[α]
  • Unaffiliated: 650,000 (51%)[β]

A Pew poll found that the religious composition was as follows:[104]

A 2010 Glenmary Research Center study also places the Roman Catholic population as greater than 22%.[105]

Religion notes

  1. ^ "Other" refers to religions other than Christianity, Buddhism, or Judaism; this group includes Bahá'í Faith, Confucianism, Daoism, the Hawaiian religion, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, and other religions.
  2. ^ "Unaffiliated" refers to people who do not belong to a congregation; this group includes agnostics, atheists, humanists, deists and the irreligious.


Hawaii has a rich history of queer identities. Māhū people, who often traversed gender as defined by western standards, were a respected group of pre-colonization people who were widely known in society as healers. Another Hawaiian word, aikāne, referred to same-sex relationships. According to journals written by Captain Cook's crew, it is widely believed that many aliʻi engaged in aikāne relationships. Hawaiian scholar Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa said, "If you didn’t sleep with a man, how could you trust him when you went into battle? How would you know if he was going to be the warrior that would protect you at all costs, if he wasn’t your lover?"[106]

A 2012 poll by Gallup found that Hawaii had the largest proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults in the U.S., at 5.1%, comprising an estimated adult LGBT population of 53,966 individuals. The number of same-sex couple households in 2010 was 3,239; a 35.45% increase of figures from a decade earlier.[107][108] In 2013, Hawaii became the fifteenth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage; a University of Hawaii researcher said the law may boost tourism by $217 million.[109]


File:Pineapple field near Honolulu, Hawaii, 1907 (CHS-418).jpg
Post-annexation, Hawaii's economy and demographic changes were fueled by American agricultural interests.
File:'Two Surfer Girls' by William Fulton Soare, oil on canvas, c. 1935.JPG
Especially from postwar United States onward, depictions and photographs of Hawaii as a tropical leisurely paradise such as this encouraged the growth of tourism in Hawaii into becoming one of the largest industries of the islands today.
File:Bronco Rumble 130509-A-CJ175-048.jpg
The U.S. military is Hawaii's largest industry.

The history of Hawaii's economy can be traced through a succession of dominant industries; sandalwood,[110] whaling,[111] sugarcane, pineapple, military, tourism and education. Since statehood in 1959, tourism has been the largest industry, contributing 24.3% of the gross state product (GSP) in 1997, despite efforts to diversify. The state's gross output for 2003 was US$47 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents was US$30,441.[citation needed] Hawaiian exports include food and clothing. These industries play a small role in the Hawaiian economy, due to the shipping distance to viable markets, such as the West Coast of the continental U.S. The state's food exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugarcane and honey.[112]

By weight, honey bees may be the state's most valuable export.[113] According to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, agricultural sales were US$370.9 million from diversified agriculture, US$100.6 million from pineapple, and US$64.3 million from sugarcane. Hawaii's relatively consistent climate has attracted the seed industry, which is able to test three generations of crops per year on the islands, compared with one or two on the mainland.[114] Seeds yielded US$264 million in 2012, supporting 1,400 workers.[115]

As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 6.9%.[116]

In 2009, the United States military spent US$12.2 billion in Hawaii, accounting for 18% of spending in the state for that year. 75,000 United States Department of Defense personnel live in Hawaii.[117]

According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, Hawaii had the fourth-largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 7.18%.[118]


Hawaii has a relatively high state tax burden. Millions of tourists contribute to the tax take by paying the general excise tax and hotel room tax. Business leaders consider the state's tax burden too high, contributing to higher prices and the perception of an unfriendly business climate.[119]

Cost of living

The cost of living in Hawaii, specifically Honolulu, is high compared to that of most major U.S. cities. However, the cost of living in Honolulu is 6.7% lower than in New York City and 3.6% lower than in San Francisco.[120] These numbers may not take some costs, such as increased travel costs for lights, additional shipping fees, and the loss of promotional participation opportunities for customers outside the continental U.S., into account. While some online stores offer free shipping on orders to Hawaii,[121] many merchants exclude Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and certain other U.S. territories.[citation needed]

Hawaiian Electric Industries, a privately-owned company, provides 95% of the state's population with electricity, mostly from fossil-fuel power stations. Average electricity prices in October 2014 (Script error: No such module "convert".) were nearly three times the national average (Script error: No such module "convert".) and 80% higher than the second-highest state, Connecticut.[122]

The median home value in Hawaii in the 2000 U.S. Census was US$272,700, while the national median home value was US$119,600. Hawaii home values were the highest of all states, including California with a median home value of US$211,500.[123] Research from the National Association of Realtors places the 2010 median sale price of a single family home in Honolulu, Hawaii, at US$607,600 and the U.S. median sales price at US$173,200. The sale price of single family homes in Hawaii was the highest of any U.S. city in 2010, just above that of the Silicon Valley area of California (US$602,000).[124]

One of the most significant contributors to the high cost of living in Hawaii is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (also known as the Jones Act), which prevents foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargo between two American ports—a practice known as cabotage. Most U.S. consumer goods are manufactured in East Asia; because of the Jones Act, foreign ships inbound with those goods cannot stop in Honolulu, offload Hawaii-bound goods, load mainland-bound Hawaii-manufactured goods, and continue to West Coast ports. Instead, they must proceed directly to the West Coast, where distributors break bulk and ship Hawaiian-bound, Asian-manufactured goods back across the ocean by U.S.-flagged ships.[125][126]

Hawaiian consumers ultimately bear the expense of transporting goods imposed by the Jones Act. This law makes Hawaii less competitive than West Coast ports as a shopping destination for tourists from countries with much higher taxes like Japan, even though prices for Asian-manufactured goods should be cheaper because Hawaii is much closer that mainland states to Asia.[127][128]


The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is Polynesian. Hawaii represents the northernmost extension of the vast Polynesian Triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean. While traditional Hawaiian culture remains as vestiges in modern Hawaiian society, there are re-enactments of the ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of ʻau and hula, are strong enough to affect the wider United States.[citation needed]


File:Man with a Yoke Carrying Taro by Joseph Strong, oil on canvas board, 1880, Honolulu Museum of Art, accession 12692.1.JPG
Taro, or in Hawaiian kalo, was one of the primary staples in Ancient Hawaii and remains a central ingredient in Hawaiian gastronomy today.

The cuisine of Hawaii is a fusion of many foods brought by immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, including the earliest Polynesians and Native Hawaiian cuisine, and American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins. Plant and animal food sources are imported from around the world for agricultural use in Hawaii. Poi, a starch made by pounding taro, is one of the traditional foods of the islands. Many local restaurants serve the ubiquitous plate lunch, which features two scoops of rice, a simplified version of American macaroni salad and a variety of toppings including hamburger patties, a fried egg, and gravy of a loco moco, Japanese style tonkatsu or the traditional lūʻau favorites, including kālua pork and laulau. Spam musubi is an example of the fusion of ethnic cuisine that developed on the islands among the mix of immigrant groups and military personnel. In the 1990s, a group of chefs developed Hawaii regional cuisine as a contemporary fusion cuisine.[citation needed]

Customs and etiquette

Some key customs and etiquette in Hawaii are as follows: when visiting a home, it is considered good manners to bring a small gift for one's host (for example, a dessert). Thus, parties are usually in the form of potlucks. Most locals take their shoes off before entering a home. It is customary for Hawaiian families, regardless of ethnicity, to hold a luau to celebrate a child's first birthday. It is also customary at Hawaiian weddings, especially at Filipino weddings, for the bride and groom to do a money dance (also called the pandango). Print media and local residents recommend that one refer to non-Hawaiians as "locals of Hawaii" or "people of Hawaii".

Hawaiian mythology

File:Ethnologisches Museum Dahlem Berlin Mai 2006 009.jpg
A stone carving of a Hawaiian deity, housed at a German museum.
Main article: Hawaiian mythology

Hawaiian mythology comprises the legends, historical tales, and sayings of the ancient Hawaiian people. It is considered a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology that developed a unique character for several centuries before about 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion, which was officially suppressed in the 19th century but was kept alive by some practitioners to the modern day.[citation needed] Prominent figures and terms include Aumakua, the spirit of an ancestor or family god and Kāne, the highest of the four major Hawaiian deities.[citation needed]

Polynesian mythology

Main article: Polynesian mythology
A sacred god figure wrapping for the war god 'Oro, made of woven dried coconut fibre (sennit), which would have protected a Polynesian god effigy (to'o), made of wood.

Polynesian mythology is the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia, a grouping of Central and South Pacific Ocean island archipelagos in the Polynesian triangle together with the scattered cultures known as the Polynesian outliers. Polynesians speak languages that descend from a language reconstructed as Proto-Polynesian that was probably spoken in the area around Tonga and Samoa in around 1000 BCE.[citation needed]

Prior to the 15th century, Polynesian people migrated east to the Cook Islands, and from there to other island groups such as Tahiti and the Marquesas. Their descendants later discovered the islands Tahiti, Rapa Nui and later the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand.[citation needed]

The Polynesian languages are part of the Austronesian language family. Many are close enough in terms of vocabulary and grammar to be mutually intelligible. There are also substantial cultural similarities between the various groups, especially in terms of social organization, childrearing, horticulture, building and textile technologies. Their mythologies in particular demonstrate local reworkings of commonly shared tales. The Polynesian cultures each have distinct but related oral traditions; legends or myths are traditionally considered to recount ancient history (the time of "pō") and the adventures of gods ("atua") and deified ancestors.[citation needed]

List of state parks

There are many Hawaiian state parks.


Main article: Literature in Hawaii

The literature of Hawaii is diverse and includes authors Kiana Davenport, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Kaui Hart Hemmings. Hawaiian magazines include Hana Hou!, Hawaii Business Magazine and Honolulu, among others.


Main article: Music of Hawaii
File:Bonnaroo08 jackjohnson2 lg.jpg
Jack Johnson, folk rock musician, was born and raised on Oahu's North Shore.
File:Chã das Caldeiras-Musicien.jpg
A young Cape Verdean man plays the Portuguese cavaquinho, a four-stringed instrument from which the ʻukulele is descended.

The music of Hawaii includes traditional and popular styles, ranging from native Hawaiian folk music to modern rock and hip hop. Hawaii's musical contributions to the music of the United States are out of proportion to the state's small size. Styles like slack-key guitar are well-known worldwide, while Hawaiian-tinged music is a frequent part of Hollywood soundtracks. Hawaii also made a major contribution to country music with the introduction of the steel guitar.[129]

Traditional Hawaiian folk music is a major part of the state's musical heritage. The Hawaiian people have inhabited the islands for centuries and have retained much of their traditional musical knowledge. Their music is largely religious in nature, and includes chanting and dance music. Hawaiian music has had an enormous impact on the music of other Polynesian islands; according to Peter Manuel, the influence of Hawaiian music a "unifying factor in the development of modern Pacific musics".[130]


Main article: Tourism in Hawaii

Tourism is an important part of the Hawaiian economy. In 2003, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors, with expenditures of over $10 billion, to the Hawaiian Islands.[131] Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. The major holidays are the most popular times for outsiders to visit, especially in the winter months. Large numbers of Japanese tourists also visit the islands.[citation needed]

Hawaii hosts numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition.[132] The Hawaii International Film Festival is the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema.[133] Honolulu hosts the state's long-running LGBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.[134][135]


As of 2009, Hawaii's health care system insures 92% of residents. Under the state's plan, businesses are required to provide insurance to employees who work more than twenty hours per week. Heavy regulation of insurance companies helps reduce the cost to employers. Due in part to heavy emphasis on preventive care, Hawaiians require hospital treatment less frequently than the rest of the United States, while total health care expenses measured as a percentage of state GDP are substantially lower.[citation needed] Proponents of universal health care elsewhere in the U.S. sometimes use Hawaii as a model for proposed federal and state health care plans.[citation needed]


Public schools

File:Waianae High School (5888481033).jpg
Waianae High School, located in Waiʻanae, houses an educational community media center.

Hawaii has the only school system within the U.S. that is unified statewide. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education, which sets policy and hires the superintendent of schools, who oversees the state Department of Education. The Department of Education is divided into seven districts; four on Oʻahu and one for each of the other three counties. The main rationale for centralization is to combat inequalities between highly populated Oʻahu and the more rural Neighbor Islands, and between lower-income and more affluent areas. In most of the U.S., schools are funded from local property taxes. Educators struggle with children of non-native-English-speaking immigrants, whose cultures are different from those of the mainland, where most course materials and testing standards originate.[citation needed]

Public elementary, middle and high school test scores in Hawaii are below national averages on tests mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act. The Hawaii Board of Education requires all eligible students to take these tests and report all student test scores; some other states—Texas and Michigan, for example—do not. This may have unbalanced the results that reported in August 2005 that of 282 schools across the state, 185 failed to reach federal minimum performance standards in mathematics and reading.[136] The ACT college placement tests show that in 2005, seniors scored slightly above the national average (21.9 compared with 20.9),[137] but in the widely accepted SAT examinations, Hawaii's college-bound seniors tend to score below the national average in all categories except mathematics.

Private schools

Collectively, independent educational institutions of primary and secondary education have one of the highest percentages of enrollment of any state. During the 2011-2012 school year, Hawaii public and charter schools had an enrollment of 181,213,[138] while private schools had 37,695.[139] Private schools educated over 17% of students in Hawaii that school year, nearly three times the approximate national average of 6%.[140] It has four of the largest independent schools; ʻIolani School, Kamehameha Schools, Mid-Pacific Institute and Punahou School. Pacific Buddhist Academy, the second Buddhist high school in the U.S. and first such school in Hawaii, was founded in 2003. The first native controlled public charter school was the Kanu O Ka Aina New Century Charter School.[citation needed]

Independent and charter schools can select their students, while the public schools are open to all students in their district. The Kamehameha Schools are the only schools in the U.S. that openly grant admission to students based on ancestry; they are the wealthiest schools in the United States, if not the world, having over nine billion US dollars in estate assets. In 2005, Kamehameha enrolled 5,398 students, 8.4% of the Native Hawaiian children in the state.[141]

Colleges and universities


Graduates of secondary schools in Hawaii often enter directly into the workforce. Some attend colleges and universities on the mainland or other countries, and the rest attend an institution of higher learning in Hawaii. The largest is the University of Hawaii System, which consists of: the research university at Mānoa, two comprehensive campuses at Hilo and West Oʻahu, and seven community colleges. Private universities include Brigham Young University–Hawaii, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University, and Wayland Baptist University. Saint Stephen Diocesan Center is a seminary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Kona hosts the University of the Nations, which is not an accredited university.


The Governor of Hawaii officially resides at Washington Place. 

The state government of Hawaii is modeled after the federal government with adaptations originating from the kingdom era of Hawaiian history. As codified in the Constitution of Hawaii, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is led by the Governor of Hawaii, who is assisted by the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, both of whom are elected on the same ticket. The governor is the only state public official elected statewide; all others are appointed by the governor. The lieutenant governor acts as the Secretary of State. The governor and lieutenant governor oversee twenty agencies and departments from offices in the State Capitol. The official residence of the governor is Washington Place.[citation needed]

The legislative branch consists of the bicameral Hawaii State Legislature, which is composed of the 51-member Hawaii House of Representatives led by the Speaker of the House, and the 25-member Hawaii Senate led by the President of the Senate. The Legislature meets at the State Capitol. The unified judicial branch of Hawaii is the Hawaii State Judiciary. The state's highest court is the Supreme Court of Hawaii, which uses Aliʻiōlani Hale as its chambers. Unique to Hawaii is the lack of municipal governments. All local governments are administered at the county level. The only incorporated area in the state is Honolulu County, a consolidated city–county that governs the entire island of Oahu. County executives are referred to as mayors; these are the Mayor of Hawaii County, Mayor of Honolulu, Mayor of Kauaʻi, and the Mayor of Maui. The mayors are all elected in nonpartisan elections.[citation needed]

Political subdivisions

Template:Unreferencedsection The movement of the Hawaiian royal family from Hawaiʻi Island to Maui, and subsequently to Oʻahu, explains the modern-day distribution of population centers. Kamehameha III chose the largest city, Honolulu, as his capital because of its natural harbor—the present-day Honolulu Harbor. Now the state capital, Honolulu is located along the southeast coast of Oʻahu. The previous capital was Lahaina, Maui, and before that Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi. Some major towns are Hilo; Kāneʻohe; Kailua; Pearl City; Waipahu; Kahului; Kailua-Kona. Kīhei; and Līhuʻe.

Hawaii comprises five counties: the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii County, Maui County, Kauai County, and Kalawao County.

Federal government

Hawaii's congressional delegation
Senator Brian Schatz 
Senator Mazie Hirono 
Representative Mark Takai (HI-1
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2
114th United States Congress

Hawaii is represented in the United States Congress by two senators and two representatives. As of 2015, all four are Democrats. Mark Takai represents the 1st congressional district in the House, representing southeastern Oahu, including central Honolulu. Tulsi Gabbard represents the 2nd congressional district, representing the rest of the state, which is largely rural and semi-rural.[citation needed]

Brian Schatz is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii. He was appointed to the office on December 26, 2012, by Governor Neil Abercrombie, following the death of former senator Daniel Inouye. The state's junior senator is Mazie Hirono, the former representative from the second congressional district. Hirono is the first female Asian American senator and the first Buddhist senator. Hawaii incurred the biggest seniority shift between the 112th and 113th Congresses. The state went from a delegation consisting of senators who were first and twenty-first in seniority[e] to their respective replacements, relative newcomers Schatz and Hirono.[142]

Federal officials in Hawaii are based at the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building near the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service maintain their offices there; the building is also the site of the federal District Court for the District of Hawaii and the United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii.

National politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2012 27.84% 121,015 70.55% 306,658
2008 26.58% 120,446 71.85% 325,588
2004 45.26% 194,191 54.01% 231,708
2000 37.46% 137,845 55.79% 205,286
1996 31.64% 113,943 56.93% 205,012
1992 36.70% 136,822 48.09% 179,310
1988 44.75% 158,625 54.27% 192,364
1984 55.10% 185,050 43.82% 147,154
1980 42.90% 130,112 44.80% 135,879
1976 48.06% 140,003 50.59% 147,375
1972 62.48% 168,865 37.52% 101,409
1968 38.70% 91,425 59.83% 141,324
1964 21.24% 44,022 78.76% 163,249
1960 49.97% 92,295 50.03% 92,410

Since gaining statehood and participating in its first election in 1960, Hawaii has supported Democrats in all but two presidential elections; 1972 and 1984, both of which were landslide victories for Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan respectively. In Hawaii's statehood tenure, only Minnesota has supported Republican candidates fewer times in presidential elections.[citation needed]

Hawaii hasn't elected a Republican to represent the state in the U.S. Senate since Hiram Fong in 1970; since 1977, both of the state's U.S. Senators have been Democrats.[143][144]

In 2004, John Kerry won the state's four electoral votes by a margin of nine percentage points with 54% of the vote. Every county supported the Democratic candidate. In 1964, favorite son candidate senator Hiram Fong of Hawaii sought the Republican presidential nomination, while Patsy Mink ran in the Oregon primary in 1972.[citation needed]

Honolulu-born Barack Obama, then serving as United States Senator from Illinois, was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008 and was re-elected for a second term on November 6, 2012. Obama had won the Hawaii Democratic caucus on February 19, 2008, with 76% of the vote. He was the third Hawaii-born candidate to seek the nomination of a major party and the first presidential nominee from Hawaii.[145][146]


The main welcome sign for Honolulu Airport.

A system of state highways encircles each main island. Only Oʻahu has federal highways, and is the only area outside the contiguous 48 states to have signed Interstate highways. Narrow, winding roads and congestion in populated places can slow traffic. Each major island has a public bus system.

Honolulu International Airport (IATA: HNL), which shares runways with the adjacent Hickam Field (IATA: HIK), is the major commercial aviation hub of Hawaii. The commercial aviation airport offers intercontinental service to North America, Asia, Australia and Oceania. Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and go! use jets to provide services between the large airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona and Hilo. Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight services between the islands.

Until air passenger services began in the 1920s,[147] private boats were the sole means of traveling between the islands. Seaflite operated hydrofoils between the major islands in the mid-1970s.[148]

The Hawaii Superferry operated between Oʻahu and Maui between December 2007 and March 2009, with additional routes planned for other islands. Protests and legal problems over environmental impact statements ended the service, though the company operating Superferry has expressed a wish to recommence ferry services in the future.[149] Currently there are passenger ferry services in Maui County between Molokaʻi and Maui,[150] and between Lanaʻi and Maui,[151] though neither of these take vehicles. Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises provide passenger cruise ship services between the larger islands.[152][153]


At one time Hawaii had a network of railroads on each of the larger islands that transported farm commodities and passengers. Most were 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge systems but there were some 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge on some of the smaller islands. The standard gauge in the U.S. is 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm). By far the largest railroad was the Oahu Railway and Land Company (OR&L) that ran lines from Honolulu across the western and northern part of Oahu.[154]

The OR&L was important for moving troops and goods during World War II. Traffic on this line was busy enough for signals to be used to facilitate movement of trains and to require wigwag signals at some railroad crossings for the protection of motorists. The main line was officially abandoned in 1947, although part of it was bought by the U.S. Navy and operated until 1970. Script error: No such module "convert". of track remain; preservationists occasionally run trains over a portion of this line.[154] The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project aims to add elevated passenger rail on Oahu to relieve highway congestion.


Islands of Hawaiʻi
Hawaiʻi - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Maui - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Kahoʻolawe - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Lānaʻi - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Molokaʻi - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Oʻahu - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Kauaʻi - Script error: No such module "convert". 
Niʻihau - Script error: No such module "convert". 
ʻIolani Palace. Honolulu, Oʻahu. 
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Honolulu, Oʻahu. 
Hana Belt Road. Between Haikū and Kīpahulu, Maui. 
Statue of Kamehameha I, Aliʻiolani Hale. Honolulu, Oʻahu. 

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  1. ^ Local usage generally reserves Hawaiian as an ethnonym referring to Native Hawaiians. Hawaii resident is the preferred local form to refer to state residents in general regardless of ethnicity. Hawaii may also be used adjectivally. The Associated Press Stylebook, 42nd ed. (2007), also prescribes this usage (p. 112).
  2. ^ The ʻokina, which resembles an apostrophe and precedes the final i in Hawaiʻi, is a consonant in Hawaiian and phonetically represents the glottal stop /ʔ/.
  3. ^ For comparison, New Jersey—which has 8,717,925 people in Script error: No such module "convert".—is the most-densely populated state in the Union with 1,134 people per square mile.
  4. ^ English "to be" is often omitted in Pidgin. In contexts where "to be" is used in General American, "to stay" is preferred. "To stay" may have arisen due to an English calque of the Portuguese ser, estar, or ficar. Eh? (IPA: [æ̃ː˧˦]) is a tag question which may have roots in Japanese, which utilizes ね (ne?) to emphasize a point that may be agreed upon by all parties, or may come from Portuguese né? (shortened from "não é?"), cf. French n'est-ce pas ?. Eh? may also have come from English yeah.
  5. ^ Senator Inouye, who ranked first in seniority, died in December 2012. Senator Daniel Akaka, who ranked 21st of the Senate's one hundred members, retired in January 2013 after serving twenty-three years in the Senate.

Further reading

  • Bushnell, O. A. The Gifts of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.
  • Holmes, T. Michael. The Specter of Communism in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994.
  • Russ Jr., William Adam. The Hawaiian Republic (1894-98) and Its Struggle to Win Annexation. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 1961.
  • Schamel, Wynell and Charles E. Schamel. "The 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaiʻi." Social Education 63, 7 (November/December 1999): 402–408.
  • Stokes, John F.G. "Spaniard and the Sweet Potato in Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian-American Contacts." American Anthropologist, New Series, vol. 34, no. 4 (1932) pp. 594–600.

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Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on August 21, 1959 (50th)
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