Then, who are the people of Hawaii? As of the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 1,211,537 people living in Hawaii.
Of those people, 24.3% were Caucasian, 16.7% were of Japanese descent, 14.1% were of Filipino descent, 6.6% were of Hawaiian descent and 4.7% were of Chinese descent. Interestingly, 21.4% of the population identified themselves as belonging to two or more races. Of those people who identify themselves as belonging totally of one race alone or in combination with one or more other races, 58.0% are in whole or partially Asian, 39.3% in whole or partially Caucasian and 23.3% in whole or partially Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.
Estimates for the population of Hawaii in 2006 show a total population increase to 1,285,498.
Hawaii is clearly the most racially integrated state in the United States. It is also the only state where whites are not the majority but rather only a third of the population.
As diverse as Hawaii is racially, so are the large differences in the median household income between Honolulu County (the Island of Oʻahu) and the other counties of Hawaii:
- Honolulu County - $ 54,714
- Maui County - Lānaʻi, Maui, and Molokai - $49,065
- Kauai County - $45,146
- Hawaii County - The Big Island $ 42,043
Hawaii's ethnic diversity makes for a very different society than is seen in the rest of the country. While Hawaii is in many ways a much more culturally, ethnically and racially blended society than the rest of the United States it is not, however, a society without its own racial and ethnic problems.
It is often said that there are two types of Hawaiians, those of Hawaiian blood and those who are Hawaiian-at-heart. There are also those who are citizens of the State of Hawaii and who also call this wonderful land their home.
In future features on this topic, we will explore in detail the various ethnic groups which make up the people of Hawaii today.