All About Hawaii Geographic Area
Hawaii (English pronunciation: i/həˈwaɪʲi/ hə-WY-(y)ee; locally, IPA: [həˈwɐ(ɪ)ʔi]; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [hɐˈvɐiʔi]) is the 50th and most recent U.S. state to join the United States, having gained admission to the United States on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
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 alike. Due to its central location in the Pacific as well as labor migration in the 19th century, Hawaii is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures in addition to its own 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.
The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). 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 and is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusing the island with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically[clarification needed] part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Hawaii is the 8th-smallest, the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the fifty U.S. states. Hawaii's ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, which is fourth longest in the United States after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida and California.
Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas and the only state with an Asian plurality. Hawaii and Arizona are the only two states that do not observe daylight saving time. Hawaii and Alaska are also the only two states that are not in the contiguous United States.
The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland". Cognates of Hawaiʻi are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan (ʻAvaiki), and Samoan (Savaiʻi) (see also Hawaiki). According to linguists Pukui and Elbert, "Elsewhere 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."
A somewhat divisive political issue arose in 1978 when the Constitution of the State of Hawaii added Hawaiian as a second official state language; Because the document, drafted in 1949, the exact spelling of the state's name, which in the islands' language is Hawaiʻi. [b] In the Hawaii Admission Act that granted Hawaiian statehood, the federal government recognized Hawaii to be 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. In contrast, the National and State Parks Services, the University of Hawaiʻi, and some private entities, including a local newspaper,[which?] choose to implement such symbols.
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. Because the document, drafted in 1949, predates the use of the ʻokina and the kahakō in modern Hawaiian orthography, the diacritics were not used. On the other hand, precedent for U.S. state name changes 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.
The main Hawaiian islands consist of eight islands, seven of which have permanent inhabitants. The island of Niʻihau is privately managed by brothers Bruce and Keith Robinson and access is strictly limited to those who have permission from the island's owners.
An archipelago situated some 2,000 mi (3,200 km) southwest of the United States, Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States and the second westernmost state after Alaska. Hawaii, along with Alaska, does not border any other U.S. state.
Hawaii is the only state of the United States that is not geographically located in North America. Hawaii is the only state in which coffee is cultivable, is the only state completely surrounded by water and can be considered entirely an archipelago. Additionally, Hawaii is the only state in the United States on whose land any royal palace rests.
Hawaii's tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, stands at 13,796 ft (4,205 m) but is taller than Mount Everest if followed to the base of the mountain, which, lying at the floor of the Pacific Ocean, rises about 33,500 feet (10,200 m).
The eight main islands, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, Kahoʻolawe, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Kauaʻi and Niʻihau are accompanied by many others. Kaʻula is a small island near Niʻihau that is often overlooked. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands are a series of nine small, older masses northwest of Kauaʻi that extend from Nihoa to Kure Atoll that are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. There are also more than 100 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, which are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin, totaling 130 or so across the archipelago.
The Hawaiian islands were and continue to be formed from volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called the Hawaii hotspot. As the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean moves to the northwest, the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Due to the hotspot's location, the only active volcanoes are located around the southern half of the Big Island. The newest volcano, Lōʻihi 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. In 1790, Kīlauea exploded with the deadliest eruption known to have occurred in the modern era in what is now the United States. As many as 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kīlauea were killed by that eruption.
Volcanic activity and subsequent erosion have created impressive geological features. Hawaii Island has the third-highest point among the world's islands.
Slope instability of the volcanoes has generated damaging earthquakes with related tsunamis, particularly in 1868 and 1975. Steep cliffs have been caused by catastrophic debris avalanches on the submerged flanks of ocean island volcanoes.
Because the islands are so far from other land habitats, life (i.e. seed dispersal and animal migration) before human activity is said to have arrived by the three w's: 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 vast environmental diversity (including extreme altitudes, tropical climates, and arid shorelines), produced a vast array of endemic flora and fauna (see Endemism in the Hawaiian Islands). Hawaii has more endangered species and has lost a higher percentage of its endemic species than any other U.S. state. One endemic plant, Brighamia, now requires hand-pollination—its natural pollinator is presumed to be extinct. The two species of Brighamia—B. rockii and B. insignis—are represented in the wild by perhaps 120 individual plants. In order to ensure that these plants set seed, biologists rappel down 3000-foot cliffs to brush pollen onto their stigmas.
The relatively short time that the existing main islands of the archipelago have been above the surface of the ocean (less than 10 million years) is only a fraction of time span over which biological colonization and evolution have occurred in the archipelago.
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 can differ around the coast from dry tropical (less than 20 inches or 510 millimetres annual rainfall) to wet tropical and up the slopes from tropical rainforest (more than 200 inches or 5,100 millimetres per year) through a temperate climate into alpine conditions of cold and dry climate. The rainy climate impacts soil development, which largely determines ground permeability, which affects the distribution of streams, wetlands, and other wet places.
Several areas in Hawaii are under the protection of the National Park Service. Hawaii has two national parks: Haleakala National Park, located near Kula on the island of Maui, which featurese Haleakalā, the dormant volcano that formed east Maui; and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located in the southeast region of the Hawaiʻi Island, which includes the active volcano Kīlauea and its various rift zones.
There are three national historical parks: Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi, the site of a former Hansen's disease 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 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2) of reefs, atolls and shallow and deep sea out to 50 miles (80 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean, larger than all of the national parks in the U.S. combined.
Hawaii's climate is typical for the tropics, although temperatures and humidity tend to be a bit less extreme due to near-constant trade winds from the east. Summer highs usually reach the upper-80s °F, (around 31 °C) during the day and mid-70s °F (around 24 °C) at night. Winter day temperatures are usually in the low- to mid-80s °F, (around 28 °C) and (at low elevation), seldom dipping below the mid-60s °F (18 °C) at night. Snow, not usually associated with the tropics, falls at 13,800 feet (4,200 m) 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 460 inches (12,000 mm) per year. Most of Hawaii has only two seasons: the dry season (from May to October) and the wet season (from October to April).
The warmest temperature recorded in the state is 100 °F (38 °C) (making it tied with Alaska as the lowest high temperature recorded in a U.S. state) in Pahala on April 27, 1931. Hawaii's all-time record low temperature is 12 °F (−11 °C) observed in May 1979 on the summit of Mauna Kea. Hawaii is the only state to have never recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures.
Local climates vary considerably on each island, grossly divisible into windward and leeward (koʻolau and kona, respectively} areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face cloud cover.[clarification needed]
Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is antipodal to inhabited land. Most of the state lies opposite Botswana, though Niʻihau's antipodes 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.
Hawaii is one of four states—apart from the original thirteen—that were independent prior to statehood—the Vermont Republic (1791), the Republic of Texas (1845), and the California Republic (1846)—and one of two, along with Texas, that had formal diplomatic recognition internationally. 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.
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.
The earliest habitation supported by archaeological evidence dates to as early as 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. There is a great deal of debate regarding the actual date of discovery and habitation.
Some archaeologists and historians believe that an early settlement from the Marquesas and a later wave of immigrants from Tahiti circa 1000 CE introduced a new line of high chiefs, the kapu system, the practice of human sacrifice and the building of heiau. This later immigration is detailed in Hawaiian mythology (moʻolelo) about Paʻao. Other authors argue that there is no archaeological or linguistic evidence for a later influx of Tahitian settlers, and that Paʻao must be regarded as a myth.
Regardless of the question of Paʻao, historians agree that the history of the islands was marked by a slow but 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 sway and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Ancient Hawaiʻi was a caste-based society much like that of the Hindus in India.
It is possible that Spanish explorers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the 16th century, two centuries 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 seemed to describe the encounter with either Hawaiʻi or the Marshall Islands. If the crew had indeed spotted Hawaiʻi, Gaetano would have been the first European to see the islands. Some scholars have dismissed these claims due to a lack of credibility. However, Spanish archives contain a chart that depicts islands in the latitude of Hawaiʻi but with the 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 the Hawaii Island is named La Mesa (The Table). Islands resembling Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokai are named Los Monjes (The Monks). 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. He 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.
Cook visited the islands twice. Upon his departure during his second visit in 1779, a quarrel ensued after Cook took temple idols and fencing as "firewood", and a minor chief and his men took a ship's boat. Cook then abducted the King of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, and held him for ransom aboard his ship for the return of Cook's boat, a tactic that had worked for Cook in Tahiti and other islands. 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 British Union Jack in the top-left corner.
These visitors introduced diseases to the once-isolated islands, causing the Hawaiian population to plunge precipitously because native Hawaiians had no resistance to influenza, smallpox, measles, or other diseases. By 1820, Eurasian diseases, famine, and wars among the chiefs killed more than half of the Native Hawaiian population. During the 1850s, measles killed a fifth of Hawaii's people.
Historical records indicated that the earliest Chinese immigrants came from Guangdong province, beginning with a few sailors in 1778 with Captain Cook's journey and followed by some in 1789 with an American trader[who?] who settled in Hawaii in the late 18th century.
During the 1780s and 1790s, chiefs often fought for power. After a series of battles that ended in 1795 and forced cession of the island of Kauaʻi in 1810[clarification needed], 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.
After Kamehameha II inherited the throne in 1819, American Protestant missionaries to Hawaii converted many Hawaiians to Christianity. Christianity's influence ended many ancient practices.[which?] Kamehameha III became the first Christian king.[when?] One prominent Protestant missionary, Hiram Bingham I, was a trusted adviser to the monarchy during this period. Other missionaries and their descendants became active in commercial and political affairs, leading to future conflicts between the monarchy and its restive American subjects.
Missionaries from other Christian denominations (such as Catholics, Mormons, and Episcopalians) were active, but never converted more than a minority of the Native Hawaiian population.
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. Perhaps "the People's King" (Lunalilo) wanted the people to choose his successor as they had chosen him. 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]
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 excluded. 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 on the throne. She was the last monarch of Hawaiʻi.
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. As one historian noted, the presence of these troops effectively rendered the monarchy unable to protect itself.
In January 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown and replaced by a provisional government composed of members of the white 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 that 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 submitted the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894, which found all parties (including Minister Stevens) with the exception of the Queen "not guilty" and not responsible for the coup. The accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports have been questioned by partisans on both sides of the debate over the events of 1893.
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 admitted that the United States had annexed Hawaii unlawfully.
After William McKinley won the presidential election in 1896, Hawaii's annexation to the U.S. 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 from Hawaii: 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.
The treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate. Instead, despite the opposition of a majority of Native Hawaiians, the Newlands Resolution was used to annex the Republic to the United States and it became the Territory of Hawaii. The Newlands Resolution was passed by the House on June 15, 1898 by a vote of 209 to 91 and by the Senate on July 6, 1898 by a vote of 42 to 21.
Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii began when Puerto Rico's sugar industry was devastated by two hurricanes in 1899. The devastation caused a worldwide shortage of sugar and a huge demand for the product from Hawaii. Hawaiian sugar plantation owners began to recruit the unemployed, but experienced, laborers in Puerto Rico.
Two distinct waves of Korean immigration to Hawaii have occurred in the last century. The first 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.
In 1900, Hawaii was granted self-governance and retained ʻIolani Palace as the territorial capitol building. Despite several attempts to become a state,[which?] 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 continue importing cheap foreign labor. Such immigration and labor practices were prohibited in many states.
In the 1950s, the power of the plantation owners was finally broken by the descendants of immigrant laborers. Because they were born in an incorporated U.S. territory, they were legally U.S. citizens. The Hawaii Republican Party, strongly supported by plantation owners, was voted out of office. The Democratic Party of Hawaii solidly dominated territorial and state politics for over 40 years. Eager to gain full voting rights, Hawaii's residents actively campaigned for statehood.
In March 1959, Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. The act excluded Palmyra Atoll, which had been part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaii, from statehood. On June 27 of that year, a referendum asked residents of Hawaii to vote on the statehood bill. The Hawaii electorate voted 94.3% "yes for statehood" to 5.7% "no". The choices were to accept the Act or to remain a territory, without the option of independence. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization later removed Hawaii from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
After statehood, Hawaii quickly modernized via 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.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Hawaii was 1,419,561 on July 1, 2014, a 4.36% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
As of 2014, Hawaii had an estimated population of 1,419,561, an increase of 15,507, from the prior year and an increase of 59,260, or 4.36%, since 2010. This includes a natural increase of 48,111 people (that is 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 people, and 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. So many Hawaiian residents have moved to Las Vegas that it has been referred to as the "ninth island" of Hawaii.
Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.4 million residents, due in part to a large number of military settlers and tourist residents. Oʻahu, nicknamed "The Gathering Place", is the most populous island and has the highest population density with a resident population of just under one million in 597 square miles (1,546 km2), about 1,650 people per square mile.[c]
Hawaii's 1.4 million residents, spread across 6,000 square miles (15,500 km2) of land, results in an average population density of 188.6 persons per square mile, which makes Hawaii less densely populated than Ohio and Illinois.
The average projected lifespan of those born in Hawaii in 2000 was 79.8 years (77.1 years if male, 82.5 if female), longer than any other state.
As of 2011[update] the U.S. military reported 42,371 of its personnel on the islands.
After the arrival of Europeans and Americans, the population of Hawaii plunged dramatically until an influx of primarily Asian settlers arrived as migrant laborers at the end of the 19th century.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Hawaii had a population of 1,360,301. In terms of race and ethnicity, the state 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.
Hawaii is distinctive in having the highest percentage of Asian Americans and Multiracial Americans, as well as the lowest percentage of White Americans of any state. In 2011, non-Hispanic whites were involved in 14.5% of all the births. Hawaii's Asian population mainly consists of 198,000 (14.6%) Filipino Americans and 185,000 (13.6%) Japanese Americans. In addition, there are roughly 55,000 (4.0%) Chinese Americans and 24,000 (1.8%) Korean Americans. Indigenous Hawaiians number over 80,000, which is 5.9% of the population. Including those with partial ancestry, Samoan Americans make up 2.8% of Hawaii's population, and Tongan Americans comprise 0.6% of the state population.
Over 120,000 (8.8%) Hispanic and Latino Americans live in Hawaii. Mexicans number over 35,000 (2.6%); Puerto Ricans exceed 44,000 (3.2%). Multiracial Americans form almost one-quarter of Hawaii's population, exceeding 320,000 people. Eurasian Americans are a prominent mixed-race group; there are about 66,000 (4.9%) Eurasian Americans in Hawaii. The Non-Hispanic White population numbers at 310,000 and forms just over one-fifth of the population. The multiracial population outnumbers the non-Hispanic white population by about 10,000 people. In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Hawaii's population as 38.8% white and 57.7% Asian and Pacific Islander.
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 Hawaii's residents were born in the United States. Roughly 75.0% of the foreign-born residents hail from 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 being California and New Mexico.
The largest ancestry groups in Hawaii as of 2008 are in the table at right. The third group of foreigners to arrive upon Hawaii's shores, after those from Polynesia and Europe, was from China. Chinese workers on Western trading ships settled in Hawaii starting in 1789. In 1820 the first American missionaries came to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians Western ways.
A large proportion of Hawaii's population is now of Asian ancestry (especially Filipino, Japanese and Chinese). Many are descendants of those immigrants brought to work on the sugar plantations in the 1850s and after. 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.
Almost 13,000 Portuguese had come by 1899. They too worked on the sugar plantations. By 1901, over 5,000 Puerto Ricans had made new homes on the four islands.
The state of Hawaii has two official languages recognized in its 1978 constitution: English (General American) and Hawaiian. 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 born-and-raised residents and is a second language for many other residents.
As of the 2000 Census, 73.44% of Hawaii residents age five and older speak only English at home. According to the 2008 American Community Survey, 74.6% of Hawaii's residents over the age of five speak only English at home.
In addition, 21.0% speak an Asian language, 2.6% of the state's residents speak Spanish, 1.6% speak other Indo-European languages and 0.2% speak a different language at home.
After English, other popular languages are Tagalog, Japanese, and Ilokano. Significant European immigrants and descendants also speak their native languages; the most numerous are German, Portuguese, Italian, and French.
Tagalog speakers make up 5.37% (which includes non-native speakers of Filipino language, the national co-official Tagalog-based language), followed by Japanese at 4.96%, Ilokano at 4.05%, Chinese at 1.92%, Hawaiian at 1.68%, Spanish at 1.66%, Korean at 1.61%, and Samoan at 1.01%.
The Hawaiian language has about 2000 native speakers, less than 0.1% [clarification needed] of the total population. According to the United States Census, there were over 24,000 total speakers of the language in Hawaii in 2006-2008.
Hawaiian is a Polynesian member of the Austronesian language family. 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.
Schütz theorizes that the Marquesans colonized the archipelago in roughly 300 CE and were subsequently followed by waves of seafarers from the Society Islands and Samoa-Tonga.
Those Polynesians remained in the islands and eventually became the Hawaiian people. Over time, their languages became the Hawaiian language. Kimura and Wilson also state that "[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." Before the arrival of Captain James Cook, the Hawaiian language had no written form. That form was developed mainly by American Protestant missionaries during 1820–1826. They assigned letters from the Latin alphabet that corresponded to the Hawaiian sounds.
Interest in Hawaiian increased significantly in the late-20th century. With the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, specially designated immersion schools were established where all subjects would be taught in Hawaiian. Also, 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.
Hawaiian distinguishes between long and short vowels. In modern practice, vowel length is indicated with a macron (kahakō). The Hawaiian language also features the glottal stop (ʻokina) as a consonant. It is written as a symbol similar to the apostrophe or left-hanging (opening) single quotation mark.
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.
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.
Some locals 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 pidgin 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 or animals. For example, tuna fish is often called by its Hawaiian name, ahi.
HCE speakers have modified the meanings of certain 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 also follow distinctive rules from General American English. For example, instead of "It is hot today, isn't it?", an HCE speaker would say simply "stay hot, eh?"[d] When a word does not come to mind quickly, the term da kine can act as a filler by acting as a substitute for virtually any word or phrase. Through the surfing boom in Hawaii, HCE has influenced surfer slang. Some HCE expressions, such as brah and da kine, have found their way elsewhere through surfing communities.
The largest denominations by number of adherents were the Catholic Church with 249,619 adherents in 2010 and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 68,128 adherents in 2009. 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.
According to data provided by religious establishments, religion in Hawaii in 2000 was distributed as follows:
A Pew poll found that the religious composition was as follows:
A 2010 Glenmary Research Center study also places the Roman Catholic population as greater than 22%.
A special case is Hoʻoponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, combined with prayer. It is both philosophy and way of life. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill.
Hawaii has a rich history of queer identities. Māhū people, who often traversed normalized gender by western standards, were a respected group of people pre-colonization, widely known as healers of society. Another Hawaiian word, aikāne, referred to same-sex relationships. According to journal entries by the crew of Captain Cook, 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?"
A 2012 poll by Gallup found that Hawaii had the largest proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults in the country, at 5.1 per cent. This constitutes a total LGBT adult population estimate of 53,966 individuals. The number of same-sex couple households in 2010 stood at 3,239. This grew by 35.45% from a decade earlier. In 2013, Hawaii became the fifteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and a University of Hawaii researcher stated that the law may boost tourism by $217 million.
The history of Hawaii can be traced through a succession of dominant industries: sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane (see Sugar plantations in Hawaii), 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 gross output for the state in 2003 was US$47 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents was US$30,441.
Hawaiian exports include food and apparel. These industries play a small role in the Hawaiian economy, however, due to the considerable shipping distance to viable markets, such as the West Coast of the United States. Food exports include coffee (see coffee production in Hawaii), macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugarcane, and honey. Agricultural sales for 2002, according to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, 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 in a single year on the islands as compared to one or two on the mainland. Seeds yielded US$264 million in 2012, supporting 1,400 workers.
Hawaii was briefly one of the few states to control gasoline prices through its Gas Cap Law. Since oil company profits in Hawaii compared to the mainland U.S. were under scrutiny, the law tied local gasoline prices to those of the mainland. It took effect in September 2005 amid price fluctuations caused by Hurricane Katrina, but was suspended in April 2006.
Hawaiian Electric Industries, a privately-owned company, provides electricity (mostly from fossil-fuel power stations) to 95% of the state's population. Average electricity prices in October 2014 (36.41 cents per kilowatt-hour) were nearly three times the national average (12.58 cents per kilowatt-hour) and 80% higher than the second-highest state (Connecticut).
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 6.9%.
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 reside in Hawaii.
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 percent.
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; thus not all taxes come directly from residents. Business leaders, however, consider the state's tax burden too high, contributing to both higher prices and the perception of an unfriendly business climate.
The cost of living in Hawaii, specifically Honolulu, is quite high compared to most major cities in the United States. However, the cost of living in Honolulu is 6.7% lower than in New York City and 3.6% lower than in San Francisco. These numbers may not take into account certain costs, such as increased travel costs for longer flights, additional shipping fees, and the loss of promotional participation opportunities for customers "outside the continental United States". While some online stores do offer free shipping on orders to Hawaii, many merchants exclude Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Puerto Rico and certain other US territories.
The median home value in Hawaii in the 2000 US Census was US$272,700 while the national median home value was less than half of that, at US$119,600. Hawaii home values were the highest of all states, including California with a median home value of US$211,500. More recent 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 US median sales price at US$173,200. The sale price of single family homes in Hawaii was the highest of any US city in 2010, just above the Silicon Valley area of California (US$602,000).
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 at present, but 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 send Hawaiian-bound Asian-manufactured goods back west across the ocean by U.S.-flagged ships.
Hawaiian consumers ultimately bear the expense of transporting goods again across the Pacific on U.S.-flagged ships subject to the extremely high operating costs imposed by the Jones Act. This also makes Hawaii less competitive with West Coast ports as a shopping destination for tourists from home countries with much higher taxes (like Japan), even though prices for Asian-manufactured goods in theory should be cheaper since Hawaii is much closer to Asia.
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 only as vestiges in modern Hawaiian society, there are reenactments of the ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences are strong enough to affect the United States at large, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of lūʻau and hula.
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 as well as American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins, including plant and animal food sources 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 featuring the Asian staple, two scoops of rice, a simplified version of American macaroni salad (consisting of macaroni and mayonnaise), and a variety of different toppings ranging from the hamburger patty, 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 got together to develop Hawaii regional cuisine as a contemporary fusion cuisine.
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".
The folklore in Hawaii in modern times is a mixture of various aspects of Hawaiian mythology and various urban legends that have been passed on regarding various places in the Hawaiian islands. According to Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of ancient warriors. Local folklore on the island of Oahu says that one should never carry pork over the Pali Highway connecting Honolulu and Windward Oahu. In Paradise Park and the Manoa Falls Hiking Trail, folk legends say you can hear a spectre screaming. Across the street from Kahala Mall is a graveyard. It is said that if you drive past the remaining portion of this graveyard with your windows open, you will feel somebody else is in your car. The story of the green lady is that of a woman who would visit the gulch of Wahiawa and take any child that she comes across.
Prominent figures and terms include Aumakua, the spirit of an ancestor or family god and Kāne, the highest of the four major Hawaiian deities.
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, developing its own unique character for several centuries before about 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion. The religion was officially suppressed in the 19th century, but kept alive by some practitioners to the modern day.
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 Tonga–Samoa area around 1000 BCE.
Prior to the 15th century CE, Polynesian people fanned out to the east, to the Cook Islands, and from there to other groups such as Tahiti and the Marquesas. Their descendants later discovered the islands from Tahiti to Rapa Nui, and later Hawaii and New Zealand.
Latest research puts the settlement of New Zealand at about 1300 CE. The various Polynesian languages are all part of the Austronesian language family. Many are close enough in terms of vocabulary and grammar to permit communication between some other language speakers. There are also substantial cultural similarities between the various groups, especially in terms of social organisation, childrearing, as well as horticulture, building and textile technologies; their mythologies in particular demonstrate local reworkings of commonly shared tales. The various Polynesian cultures each have distinct but related oral traditions, that is, legends or myths traditionally considered to recount the history of ancient times (the time of "pō") and the adventures of gods ("atua") and deified ancestors.
There are many Hawaiian state parks. The Island of Hawaiʻi has state parks, recreation areas, and historical parks. Kauaʻi has the Ahukini State Recreation Pier, six state parks, and the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park. Maui has two state monuments, several state parks, and the Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. Moloka‘i has the Pala'au State Park. Oʻahu has several state parks, a number of state recreation areas, and a number of monuments, including the Ulu Pō Heiau State Monument.
The literature in Hawaii is diverse and includes authors such as Kiana Davenport, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants. Hawaiian magazines include Hana Hou!, Hawaii Business Magazine and Honolulu, among others.
The music of Hawaii includes an array of 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.
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; indeed, music author Peter Manuel called the influence of Hawaiian music a "unifying factor in the development of modern Pacific musics".
Tourism is an important part of the Hawaiian economy. In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands with expenditures of over $10 billion. Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. The summer months and major holidays are the most popular times for outsiders to visit, however, especially when residents of the rest of the United States are looking to escape from cold, winter weather. The Japanese, with their economic and historical ties to Hawaii and the USA as well as relative geographical proximity, are also principal tourists.
Hawaii is home to numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition. The state is also home to the Hawaii International Film Festival, the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema. Honolulu is also home to the state's long running LGBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.
As of 2009[update], 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 keep the cost to employers down. 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. Given these achievements, proponents of universal health care elsewhere in the U.S. sometimes use Hawaii as a model for proposed federal and state health care plans.
Hawaii has the only school system within the United States that is unified statewide. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education. The Board 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 three other 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 United States, 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).
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 that all eligible students take these tests and report all student test scores while other states like Texas and Michigan, for example, do not. This may have skewed the results that reported in August 2005 that of 282 schools across the state, 185 failed to reach federal minimum performance standards in math and reading. The ACT college placement tests show that in 2005 seniors scored slightly above the national average (21.9 compared with 20.9) but in the widely accepted SAT examinations, Hawaii's college-bound seniors tend to score below the national average in all categories except mathematics.
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, while private schools had 37,695. Private schools thus educated over 17% of the students that school year, nearly three times the approximate national average of 6%. 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 United States and first Buddhist high school in Hawaii, was founded in 2003. The first native controlled public charter school was the Kanu O Ka Aina New Century Charter School.
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 United States that openly grant admission to students based on ancestry, and 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.
Graduates of secondary schools in Hawaii often enter directly into the work force. 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. It consists of: the research university at Mānoa; two comprehensive campuses 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.
The 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 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 assisted by the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, both 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.
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 a consolidated city–county, Honolulu County, which governs the entire island of Oahu. County executives are referred to as mayors: The Mayor of Hawaii County, Mayor of Honolulu, Mayor of Kauaʻi, and the Mayor of Maui. The mayors are all elected in nonpartisan races.
The movement of the Hawaiian royal family from the Big Island to Maui, and subsequently to Oʻahu, explains why population centers exist where they do today. 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.
Hawaii is represented in the United States Congress by two senators and two representatives. All four are Democrats. Colleen Hanabusa 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.
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 owns the distinction of being the first Asian American woman and first Buddhist senator. Hawaii incurred the biggest seniority shift between the 112th the 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.
Federal officials in Hawaii are based at the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building near the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor in Honolulu. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service maintain their offices there, and 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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. Travel can be slow due to narrow winding roads and congestion in populated places. 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. Within Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and go! use jets between the larger airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona and Hilo, while Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight service amongst the islands.
Until air passenger service became available in the 1920s, private boats were the sole means of traveling between the islands.
Seaflite operated hydrofoils between the major islands in the mid-1970s. The Hawaii Superferry operated between Oʻahu and Maui between December 2007 and March 2009, with additional routes planned for other islands. Legal issues over environmental impact statements and protests ended the service, though the company operating Superferry has expressed a wish to begin ferry service again at a future date. Currently there is passenger ferry service in Maui County between Molokaʻi and Maui, and between Lanaʻi and Maui, though neither of these takes vehicles. Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises provide passenger cruise ship service between the larger islands.
At one time Hawaii had a network of railroads on each of the larger islands that helped move farm commodities as well as passengers. Most were 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge but there were some 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge on some of the smaller islands. Standard US gauge is 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). By far the largest railroad was the Oahu Railway and Land Company (OR&L) that ran many lines from Honolulu across the western and northern part of Oahu.
The OR&L was important for moving troops and goods during World War II. Traffic on this line was busy enough for there to be signals on the lines to facilitate movement of trains and 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 US Navy and operated until 1970. Thirteen miles (21 km) of track remain and preservationists occasionally run trains over a portion of this line. The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project aims to add elevated passenger rail on Oahu to relieve highway congestion.
Hawaii has many sister cities and twin towns. Hawaii County is twinned with five Japanese cities and one Philippines city. Hilo is twinned with a Chilean city and a Japanese city. Honolulu is twinned with over 25 foreign cities, most notably Manila, Toronto, Seoul, and Tokyo. Kauai County is twinned with three Japanese cities. Maui County is twinned with over 20 cities, most notably Madrid and Manila. Waikiki is twinned with Bixby, Oklahoma.
Niʻihau - 70 square miles (180 km2)
Kauaʻi - 552.3 square miles (1,430 km2)
Oʻahu - 598 square miles (1,550 km2)
Maui - 727.3 square miles (1,884 km2)
Molokaʻi - 260 square miles (670 km2)
Lānaʻi - 140.5 square miles (364 km2)
Kahoʻolawe - 44.6 square miles (116 km2)
Hawaiʻi - 4,028.2 square miles (10,433 km2)
Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Oʻahu
International Market Place, Honolulu, 1958
Topics related to Hawaiʻi