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State of Hawaii
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi
Flag of Hawaii State seal of Hawaii
Nickname(s): The Aloha State
Motto(s): Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
("The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness")
Anthem: Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī
("Hawaii’s Own True Sons")
Map of the United States with Hawaii highlighted
Official language(s) English, Hawaiian
Demonym Hawaiian (see notes)
(and largest city) Honolulu
Largest metro area Oahu metropolitan area
Area Ranked 43rd in the U.S.
- Total 10,931 sq mi
- 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 in the U.S.
- Total 1,374,810 (2011 est)
- Density 214/sq mi (82.6/km2)
Ranked 13th in the U.S.
- Median household income $63,746 (5th)
- Highest point Mauna Kea
13,796 ft (4205.0 m)
- Mean 3,030 ft (920 m)
- Lowest point Pacific Ocean
Before statehood Territory of Hawaii
Admission to Union August 21, 1959 (50th)
Governor Neil Abercrombie (D)
Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz (D)
Legislature State Legislature
- Upper house Senate
- Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye (D)
Daniel Akaka (D)
U.S. House delegation 1: Colleen Hanabusa (D)
2: Mazie Hirono (D) (list)
Time zone Hawaii: UTC−10
Abbreviations HI US-HI
Hawaii (Listeni/həˈwaɪ.iː/ or /həˈwaɪʔiː/; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi Hawaiian pronunciation: [hɐˈvɐiʔi]) is the most recent of the 50 U.S. states (joined the Union on August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state 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 and oceanic surrounding, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native 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 Island chain, 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 (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the island of Hawaiʻi. The last is by far the largest and is often called "The Big Island" to avoid confusion with the state as a whole. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Hawaii is the 8th-least extensive, the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Hawaii's coastline is approximately 750 miles (1,210 km) long, which is fourth in the United States after Alaska, Florida, and California.
Hawaii is one of two states that do not observe daylight saving time, the other being Arizona. Hawaii is also one of two states that are not in the Contiguous United States, the other being Alaska.
The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland"; Hawaiʻi cognates are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan (ʻAvaiki), and Samoan (Savaiʻi). (See also Hawaiki).
According to Pukui and Elbert, "Elsewhere in Polynesia, Hawaiʻi or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the ancestral home, but in Hawaiʻi, the name has no meaning."
Spelling of state name
A somewhat divisive political issue arose when the constitution of the state of Hawaii added Hawaiian as a second official state language: the exact spelling of the state's name, which in the islands' language is Hawaiʻi (the ʻokina marking a Hawaiian consonant, a cut-off of breath before the final i). 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, do use such symbols.
The title of the state constitution is "The Constitution of the State of Hawaii". In Article XV, Section 1 uses "The State of Hawaii", Section 2 "the island of Oahu", Section 3 "The Hawaiian flag", and Section 5 specifies the state motto as "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono". Since these documents predate the modern use of the ʻokina and the kahakō in Hawaiian orthography, the diacritics were not used.
Pāhoehoe and ʻAʻā lava flows side by side at the Big Island of Hawaiʻi in September, 2007
Nā Pali coast, Kauaʻi
An archipelago situated some 2,000 mi (3,200 km) southwest of the North American mainland, Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States and the second westernmost state after Alaska. Only Hawaii and Alaska do not share a border with another U.S. state.
Hawaii is the only state of the United States that is not geographically located in North America, grows coffee, is completely surrounded by water, is entirely an archipelago, has royal palaces, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary.
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 ft (10,200 m).
The eight main islands, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, Kahoʻolawe, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Kauaʻi and Niʻihau are accompanied by many others. Kaʻala 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 that are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. There are also more than 100 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, that are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin, totaling 130 or so across the archipelago.
All the Hawaiian islands were formed from volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called a 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 Big Island’s coast.
The last volcanic eruption outside the Big 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 (of the modern era) known to have occurred 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. The Big 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 volcanos.
Flora and fauna
Because the islands are so far from other land habitats, life before human activity is said to have arrived by the “3 W’s”: wind (carried through the air), waves (brought by ocean currents), and wings (birds, insects, and whatever they brought with them). This isolation, and the wide range of environments (extreme altitude, tropical climate) 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.
Endemic Silversword near Haleakalā summit
Several areas in Hawaii are under the protection of the National Park Service. Hawaii has two national parks: Haleakala National Park near Kula, on Maui, includes Haleakalā, the dormant volcano that formed east Maui; and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the southeast region of the island of Hawaiʻi, 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 the island of Hawaiʻi; and Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, an ancient place of refuge. Other areas under the control of the National Park Service include Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on the Big 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 America’s National Parks combined.
See also: List of Hawaii tornadoes and Environment of Hawaii
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 are usually in the upper 80s °F, (around 31 °C) during the day and mid 70s, (around 24 °C) at night. Winter day temperatures are usually in the low to mid 80s, (around 28 °C) and (at low elevation) seldom dipping below the mid 60s (18 °C) at night. Snow, not usually associated with the tropics, falls at 4,205 metres (13,796 ft) on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island in some winter months. Snow rarely falls on Haleakala. Mount Waiʻaleʻale, on Kauaʻi, has the second highest average annual rainfall on Earth, about 460 inches (11,684.0 mm). 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 (Koʻolau) and leeward (Kona) areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face cloud cover, so resorts concentrate on sunny leeward coasts.
Hawaii is the only US state that is antipodal to inhabited land. Most of the state lies opposite Botswana, though Niʻihau aligns with Namibia and Kauai straddles the border. This area of Africa, near Maun and Ghanzi, includes nature reserves and small settlements near the Okavango Delta.
Main article: History of Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii.svg
History of Hawaii
Hawaii is one of four states that were independent prior to becoming part of the United States, along with 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 Hawaii was sovereign from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American (and some European) businessmen. It was an independent republic from 1894 until 1898, when it was annexed by the United States as a territory, becoming a state in 1959.
Hawaii 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 on Oʻahu, carried out by aircraft and by midget submarines, brought the United States into World War II.
Pre-European contact—ancient Hawaiʻi (800–1778)
Main article: Ancient Hawaii
The earliest habitation supported by archaeological evidence dates to as early as 300 CE, probably by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas, followed by a second wave of migration from Raiatea and Bora Bora in the 11th century. The first recorded European contact with the islands was in 1778 by British explorer James Cook.
Polynesians from the Marquesas and possibly the Society Islands may have first populated the Hawaiian Islands between 300 and 500 CE. There is a great deal of debate regarding these dates.
Some archaeologists and historians believe that an early settlement from the Marquesas and a later wave of immigrants from Tahiti, c. 1000, introduced a new line of high chiefs, the Kapu system, the practice of human sacrifice and the building of heiaus. This later immigration is detailed in folk tales 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.
Drawing of single-masted sailboat with one spinnaker-shaped sail, carrying dozens of men
Kalaniʻōpuʻu, King of Hawaii bringing presents to Captain Cook. Illustrated by John Webber, artist aboard Cook's ship.
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 Hawaii was a caste-based society much like that of the Hindus in India.
European arrival and the Kingdom of Hawaii
There are questions as to whether Spanish explorers did arrive in the Hawaiian Islands 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 with a Spanish sailor named Juan Gaetano aboard as pilot. Depending on the interpretation, Gaetano's reports seemed to describe the discovery of Hawaii or the Marshall Islands in 1555. If it was Hawaii, Gaetano would have been one of the first Europeans to find the islands. Some scholars have dismissed these claims as lacking credibility.
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 reported the native name as Owyhee. This spelling lives on in Owyhee County, Idaho, after three Hawaiian members of a trapping party killed in that area.
Cook visited the islands twice. Upon his departure during his second visit in 1779, a quarrel ensued, involving Cook's taking of temple idols and fencing as "firewood", and the taking of a ship's boat by a minor chief and his men. Cook then abducted the King of the Big Island of Hawaii, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, and held him as ransom aboard his ship for the return of the boat, a tactic that had worked for Cook in Tahiti and other islands. Kalaniʻōpuʻu's supporters fought back and Cook and four Marines were killed as Cook's party retreated to the beach and launched their boats.
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 a convenient harbor and source of supplies. Early British influence can be seen in the design of the flag of Hawaii which has the British Union Flag in the corner.
These visitors introduced diseases to the once-isolated islands and the Hawaiian population plunged precipitously because native Hawaiians had no resistance to influenza, smallpox, and measles, among others. 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 immigration of the Chinese came from Guangdong province: a few sailors in 1778 with Captain Cook's journey, more in 1788 with Kaina, and some in 1789 with an American trader who settled in Hawaii in the late 18th century.
House of Kamehameha
King Kamehameha receiving Otto von Kotzebue's Russian naval expedition. Drawing by Louis Choris in 1816.
During the 1780s and 1790s, chiefs were often fighting for power. After a series of battles that ended in 1795 and forced cession of the island of Kauaʻi in 1810, 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. Their influence ended many ancient practices, and Kamehameha III was the first Christian king. 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. Ezra T. Benson appeared to have been the earliest Mormon missionary to the islands.
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. This led to riots and the landing of U.S. and British troops, and governance passed to the House of Kalākaua.
1887 Constitution and overthrow preparations
In 1887, Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped the king of much of his authority. There was a property qualification for voting, which disenfranchised most Hawaiians and immigrant laborers, and favored the wealthier white community. 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, Liliʻuokalani, succeeded him on the throne.
row of men with rifles
Ship's landing force at the time of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, January 1893.
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 a Committee of Safety to overthrow 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 made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself.
Overthrow of 1893—the Republic of Hawaii (1894–1898)
In January 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown and replaced by a Provisional Government composed of members of the Committee of Safety. Controversy filled the following years as the queen tried to re-establish 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" from any responsibility for the overthrow. The accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports has 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 Congress and signed by President Clinton, apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is the first time in American history that the United States government has apologized for overthrowing the government of a sovereign nation.
The ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu, formerly the residence of the Hawaiian monarch, was the capitol of the Republic of Hawaii.
The Provisional Government of Hawaii ended on July 4, 1894, replaced by the Republic of Hawaii.
The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii in 1885 as contract laborers for the sugar cane and pineapple plantations.
Annexation—the Territory of Hawaii (1898–1959)
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 Hawaii. He met with three annexationists from Hawaii: Lorrin 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 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.
The USS Shaw exploding during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii began when Puerto Rico's sugar industry was devastated by two hurricanes in 1899. The devastation caused a world-wide shortage of sugar and a huge demand for the product from Hawaii. Hawaiian sugar plantation owners began to recruit the jobless, but experienced, laborers in Puerto Rico. Two distinct waves of Korean immigration to Hawaii have occurred in the last century. The first arrived in between 1903 and 1924; the second wave began in 1965.
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 key capitalists, who maintained control through financial institutions, or "factors", known as the "Big Five", found territorial status convenient, enabling them to continue importing cheap foreign labor; such immigration was prohibited in various states.
Political changes of 1954—the State of Hawaii (1959–present)
Main article: Democratic Revolution of 1954 (Hawaii)
In the 1950s the power of the plantation owners was finally broken by descendants of immigrant laborers. Because they were born in a U.S. territory, they were legal U.S. citizens. The Hawaii Republican Party, strongly supported by plantation owners, was voted out of office. The Democratic Party of Hawaii dominated politics for 40 years. Expecting 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, part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaii, from the new state.) On June 27 of that year, a referendum asked residents of Hawaii to vote on the statehood bill. Hawaii voted 17 to 1 to accept. 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. The Hawaii State Constitutional Convention of 1978 incorporated programs such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote indigenous language and culture.
Population density of the Hawaiian islands.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Hawaii was 1,374,810 on July 1, 2011, a 1.07% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
As of 2005, Hawaii has an estimated population of 1,275,194, an increase of 13,070, or 1.0%, from the prior year and an increase of 63,657, or 5.3%, since 2000. 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.
Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.3 million, due to large military and tourist populations. 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 (for comparison, New Jersey, which has 8,717,925 people in 7,417 square miles (19,210 km2) is the most-densely populated state in the Union with 1,134 people per square mile.)
Hawaii's 1,275,194 people, spread over 6,423 square miles (16,640 km2) (including many unpopulated islands), 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.
U.S. military personnel make up approximately 1.3% of the population in the islands
Main article: Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language has about 2000 native speakers, less than 0.1% 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.
According to Schütz (1994), the Marquesans colonized the archipelago in roughly 300 AD followed by later waves of immigration from the Society Islands and Samoa-Tonga. Those Polynesians remained in the islands, thereby becoming the Hawaiian people. Their languages, over time, became the Hawaiian language. Kimura and Wilson (1983) also state, "Linguists 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). Also, Hawaiian uses the glottal stop as a consonant (ʻokina). It is written as a symbol similar to the apostrophe or opening single quote.
Hawaiian-language newspapers published from 1834–1948 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.
Main article: Hawaiian Pidgin
Some locals speak Hawaii Creole English (HCE), often called "pidgin". The lexicon of HCE derives mainly from English but also has words from Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Ilocano and Tagalog. During the 19th century, the increase in immigration (mainly from China, Japan, Portugal—and especially from the Azores archipelago—and Spain), caused a variant of English to develop. By the early 20th century pidgin speakers had children who acquired the pidgin as their first language. HCE speakers use some Hawaiian words without those words being considered archaic. Most place names are retained from Hawaiian, as are some names for plants or animals. For example, tuna fish are often called ahi.
International Market Place, Honolulu, 1958.
HCE speakers have modified the meanings of certain English words. For example, "aunty" and "uncle" refer to any adult who is a friend, or to show respect for an elder. Simplified grammar is used. For example, instead of "It is hot today, isn't it?", an HCE speaker would say simply "stay hot, eh?" When a word does not come to mind quickly, the term "da kine" refers to any word you cannot think of. Through the surfing boom in Hawaii, HCE has influenced surfer slang. Some HCE expressions, such as brah and da kine, have found their way to other places.
A church in Hawaii, 1958.
The largest denominations by number of adherents were the Catholic Church with 240,813 in 2000 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 68,128 in 2009.
According to data provided by religious establishments, religion in Hawaii in 2000 was distributed as follows:
Christianity: 351,000 (28.9%)
Buddhism: 110,000 (9%)
Judaism: 10,000 (0.8%)
Other: 100,000 (10%)*
Unaffiliated: 650,000 (51.1%)**
"Other" are 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.
"Unaffiliated" refers to people who do not belong to a congregation; this group includes agnostics, atheists, humanists, and the irreligious.
A 2009 Gallup poll found religion was distributed as follows, excluding those of other non-Judeo-Christian religions and those who had "no opinion":
Protestant/Other Christian: 37.8%
Roman Catholic: 22.8%
Irreligious, Agnostic, Atheist: 21.0%
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.
See also: Hawaii locations by per capita income
A shipping dock in Hawaii.
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, and sugarcane. 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 was one of the few states to control gasoline prices through a 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.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 6.9%.
In 2009, the United States military spent $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.
Hawaii has a relatively high state tax burden. In 2003, Hawaii residents had the highest state tax per capita at US$2,838. This is partly because education, health care and social services are all provided directly by the state, as opposed to local government in all other states.
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.
Cost of living
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, Alaska, Puerto Rico and certain other US territories.
The median home value in Hawaii in the 2000 US Census was $272,700 while the national median home value was less than half of that, at $119,600. Hawaii home values were the highest of all states, including California with a median home value of $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 $607,600 and the US median sales price at $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 ($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.
International pop star Nicole Scherzinger, a native of Hawaii
Main article: Culture of Hawaii
Part of Pearl Harbor, with Aloha Stadium, the USS Arizona, USS Bowfin (submarine), museums, Admiral Clarey Bridge, and naval yards visible.
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 luaus and hula.
Cuisine of Hawaii
Customs and etiquette in Hawaii
Folklore in Hawaii
List of Hawaiian state parks
Literature in Hawaii
Music of Hawaii
Polynesian Cultural Center
Tourism in Hawaii
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 GLBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.
Main article: Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act
Hawaii's health care system insures 92% (2009) 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.
Main article: Hawai'i Department of Education
Hawaii has the U.S.' only school system 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. Some of the gap has been attributed to the Hawaii Board of Education's requirement that all eligible students take these tests and report all student test scores (other states, Texas and Michigan for example, do not). Results reported in August, 2005, indicate that of 282 schools across the state, 185 (2/3) failed to reach federal minimum performance standards in math and reading.
On the other hand, the ACT college placement tests show that in 2005, seniors scored slightly above the national average (21.9 compared with 20.9). 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 enrolment of any state. During the 2011-2012 school year, Hawaii public and charter schools had an enrolment 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. The second Buddhist high school in the United States, and first Buddhist high school in Hawaii, Pacific Buddhist Academy, 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 regular public schools must take 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.
See also: List of elementary schools in Hawaii, List of middle schools in Hawaii, and List of high schools in Hawaii
Colleges and universities
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, Wayland Baptist University, or University of the Nations. The Saint Stephen Diocesan Center is a seminary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
See also: List of colleges and universities in Hawaii
The Hawaii State Capitol building, as seen from the rim of Punchbowl Crater.
See also: Politics of Hawaii and Political party strength in Hawaii
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 Hawai'i 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 mayor of Maui. The mayors are all elected in nonpartisan races.
See also: Counties of Hawaii
downtown Honolulu showing a cluster of 10–30 story buildings
Honolulu is the largest city and the capital of Hawaii.
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, Hawaii. Some major towns are Hilo; Kāneʻohe; Kailua; Pearl City; Waipahu; Kahului; Kailua-Kona. Kīhei; and Līhuʻe.
Hawaii comprises five counties: Hawaii County, Honolulu County, Kauai County, Kalawao County, and Maui 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. Mazie Hirono represents the 2nd congressional district, representing the rest of the state, which is mainly rural.
Daniel Inouye is the senior senator, having served since January 3, 1963. In June 2010, Inouye became the longest-serving current Senator; he is the current President pro tempore of the United States Senate, a position traditionally given to the longest-serving Senator of the majority party. Daniel Akaka is the junior Senator, having served since May 16, 1990. Inouye and Akaka were both born in 1924, making them the oldest current Senate duo.
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.