General Facts

 

Hawaii Islands Flag of Hawaii

Area: 28 311 km²

Population: Estimate 1,426,393 for more Visit.. Worldpopulationreview

 

Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States of America, having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located outside North America. 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 island in the group; it is often called the “Big Island” or “Hawaiʻi Island” to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. Hawaii is the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. It is the only state with an Asian plurality. The state’s coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, the fourth longest in the U.S. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California.

 

Climate

A true-color satellite view of Hawaii shows that most of the vegetation on the islands grows on the northeast sides which face the wind. The silver glow around the southwest of the islands is the result of calmer waters. Hawaii’s climate is typical for the tropics, although temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme because of near-constant trade winds from the east. Summer highs usually reach around 88 °F (31 °C) during the day, with the temperature reaching a low of 75 °F (24 °C) at night. Winter day temperatures are usually around 83 °F (28 °C); at low elevation they seldom dip below 65 °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 experiences only two seasons; the dry season runs from May to October and the wet season is from October to April. The warmest temperature recorded in the state, in Pahala on April 27, 1931, is 100 °F (38 °C), making it tied with Alaska as the lowest record high temperature observed in a U.S. state. Hawaii’s 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. Climates vary considerably on each island; they can be divided into windward and leeward (koʻolau and kona, respectively) areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face cloud cover.

 

Cost of living

The cost of living in Hawaii, specifically Honolulu, is high compared to that of most major U.S. cities, although it is 6.7% lower than in New York City and 3.6% lower than in San Francisco. These numbers may not take into account some costs, such as increased travel costs for flights, additional shipping fees, and the loss of promotional participation opportunities for customers outside the contiguous U.S. While some online stores offer free shipping on orders to Hawaii, many merchants exclude Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and certain other U.S. territories. Hawaiian Electric Industries, a privately owned company, provides 95% of the state’s population with electricity, mostly from fossil-fuel power stations. Average electricity prices in October 2014 (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.The median home value in Hawaii in the 2000 U.S. Census was US$272,700, while the national median home value was US$119,600. Hawaii home values were the highest of all states, including California with a median home value of US$211,500. Research from the National Association of Realtors places the 2010 median sale price of a single family home in Honolulu, Hawaii, at US$607,600 and the U.S. median sales price at US$173,200. The sale price of single family homes in Hawaii was the highest of any U.S. city in 2010, just above that of the Silicon Valley area of California (US$602,000). Hawaii’s very high cost of living is the result of several interwoven factors of the global economy in addition to domestic U.S. government trade policy. Like other regions with desirable weather throughout the year, such as areas of California, Arizona and Florida, Hawaii’s residents can be considered to be subject to a “Sunshine tax”. This situation is further exacerbated by the natural factors of geography and world distribution that lead to higher prices for goods due to increased shipping costs, a problem which many island states and territoriessuffer from as well. The situation is compounded even further by what could possibly be the single largest contributor to the high costs of living in Hawaii, a U.S. trade law known as the Jones Act, or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. This trade regulation prohibits any foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargo between two American ports—a practice known as cabotage. Most consumer goods in the United States are manufactured by outsourced labor in East Asia, then transported by container ships to ports on the U.S. mainland, and Hawaii also receives the same goods. Being located in the central Pacific Ocean, right between major Pacific shipping lanes, it would be very economical to unload Hawaiian-bound goods in Honolulu, before continuing on to the mainland. However, this would effectively make the second leg of the voyage between Hawaii and the mainland a domestic route between two American ports. Because most large cargo ships operate under foreign “flags of convenience” such as Liberia, Vanuatu or Papua New Guinea, allowing them to avoid the more stringent, and thus more costly, regulations of developed nations’ ports, the domestic leg of the voyage would be disallowed by the Jones Act. Instead, those cargo ships must proceed directly to the West Coast, where distributors break bulk and transport the Hawaiian-bound, Asian-manufactured goods back across the ocean by U.S.-flagged ships and increasing the length of the voyage by more than 50%. This highly inefficient system of shipping Hawaii’s consumer cargo comes at a very hefty price for the average Hawaiian citizen, and makes the cost of living in Hawaii much, much higher than it would otherwise be. Hawaiian consumers ultimately bear the expense of transporting goods imposed by the Jones Act. This law makes Hawaii less competitive than West Coast ports as a shopping destination for tourists from countries with much higher taxes like Japan, even though prices for Asian-manufactured goods should be cheaper because Hawaii is much closer than mainland states to Asia.

 

Cuisine 

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

 

Culture

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

 

Economy

From the end of World War II onwards, depictions and photographs, such as this, of Hawaii as a tropical, leisure paradise encouraged the growth of tourism in Hawaii, which eventually became the largest industry of the islands. The U.S. federal government’s spending on Hawaii-stationed personnel, installations and materiel, either directly or through military personnel spending, amounts to Hawaii’s second largest source of income, after tourism. The history of Hawaii’s economy can be traced through a succession of dominant industries; sandalwood,whaling, sugarcane, pineapple, the military, tourism and education. Since statehood in 1959, tourism has been the largest industry, contributing 24.3% of the gross state product (GSP) in 1997, despite efforts to diversify. The state’s gross output for 2003 was US$47 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents in 2014 was US$54,516. Hawaiian exports include food and clothing. These industries play a small role in the Hawaiian economy, due to the shipping distance to viable markets, such as the West Coast of the contiguous U.S. The state’s food exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugarcane and honey. By weight, honey bees may be the state’s most valuable export. According to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, agricultural sales were US$370.9 million from diversified agriculture, US$100.6 million from pineapple, and US$64.3 million from sugarcane. Hawaii’s relatively consistent climate has attracted the seed industry, which is able to test three generations of crops per year on the islands, compared with one or two on the mainland. Seeds yielded US$264 million in 2012, supporting 1,400 workers. As of December 2015, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.2%. In 2009, the United States military spent US$12.2 billion in Hawaii, accounting for 18% of spending in the state for that year. 75,000 United States Department of Defense personnel live in Hawaii.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 7.2%.

 

Geology

Pāhoehoe, or smooth lava, spills into the Pacific Ocean, forming new rock off the coast of the Island of Hawaii. The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called the Hawaii hotspot. The process is continuing to build islands; the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean continually moves northwest and the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Because of the hotspot’s location, all currently active land volcanoes are located on the southern half of Hawaii Island. The newest volcano, 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, possibly hundreds of years earlier. In 1790, Kīlauea exploded; it was the deadliest eruption known to have occurred in the modern era in what is now the United States. Up to 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kīlauea were killed by the eruption. Volcanic activity and subsequent erosion have created impressive geological features. Hawaii Island has the third-highest point among the world’s islands. On the flanks of the volcanoes, slope instability has generated damaging earthquakes and related tsunamis, particularly in 1868 and 1975. Steep cliffs have been created by catastrophic debris avalanches on the submerged flanks of ocean island volcanoes.

 

Health

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

 

Languages

English and Hawaiian are listed as Hawaii’s official languages in the state’s 1978 constitution, in Article XV, Section 4. However, the use of Hawai’ian is limited because the constitution specifies that “Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law”. Hawaiʻi Creole English, locally referred to as “Pidgin”, is the native language of many native residents and is a second language for many others. As of the 2000 Census, 73.4% of Hawaii residents aged five and older exclusively speak 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 their homes, 21.0% of state residents speak an additional Asian language, 2.6% speak Spanish, 1.6% speak other Indo-European languages and 0.2% speak another language. After English, other languages popularly spoken in the state are Tagalog, Japanese and Ilocano. Significant numbers of European immigrants and their descendants also speak their native languages; the most numerous are German, Portuguese, Italian and French. 5.4% of residents speak Tagalog—which includes non-native speakers of Filipino language, the national, co-official, Tagalog-based language; 5.0% speak Japanese and 4.0% speak Ilocano; 1.2% speak Chinese, 1.7% speak Hawaiian; 1.7% speak Spanish; 1.6% speak Korean; and 1.0% speak Samoan.

 

Religion

The Makiki Christian Church in Honolulu heavily draws upon Japanese architecture. Christianity is the most widespread religion in Hawaii. It is mainly represented by various ProtestantsRoman Catholics and MormonsBuddhism is the second most popular religion, especially among the archipelago’s Japanese community. Unaffilliated account for one-quarter of the population. The largest denominations by number of adherents were the Roman 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.

 

Tourism

Tourism is an important part of the Hawaiian economy. In 2003, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors, with expenditures of over $10 billion, to the Hawaiian Islands. Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. The major holidays are the most popular times for outsiders to visit, especially in the winter months. Substantial numbers of Japanese tourists still visit the islands but have now been surpassed by Chinese and Koreans due to the collapse of the value of the Yen and the weak Japanese economy. The average Japanese stays only 5 days while other Asians spend over 9.5 days and spend 25% more. Hawaii hosts numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition. The Hawaii International Film Festival is the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema. Honolulu hosts the state’s long-running LGBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.

 

Transportation

The main welcome sign for Honolulu Airport. system of state highways encircles each main island. Only Oʻahu has federal highways, and is the only area outside the contiguous 48 states to have signed Interstate highways. Narrow, winding roads and congestion in populated places can slow traffic. Each major island has a public bus system. Honolulu International Airport (IATA: HNL), which shares runways with the adjacent Hickam Field (IATA: HIK), is the major commercial aviation hub of Hawaii. The commercial aviation airport offers intercontinental service to North America, Asia, Australia and Oceania. Hawaiian AirlinesMokulele Airlines and go! use jets to provide services between the large airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona and Hilo. Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight services between the islands. On May 30, 2017, the airport was officially renamed as the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), after U.S. Senator Daniel K. InouyeUntil air passenger services began 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. Protests and legal problems over environmental impact statements ended the service, though the company operating Superferry has expressed a wish to recommence ferry services in the future. Currently there is a passenger ferry service in Maui County between Lanaʻi and Maui, which does not take vehicles; a passenger ferry to Molokai ended in 2016. Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises provide passenger cruise ship services between the larger islands.

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