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Profile of Hawaii 1/

The State of Hawaii consists of eight major southerly islands in a chain of islands and 124 minor islands with a total area of 6,450 square miles. Of this total, 6,425 miles are land and 25 are inland waters.

The eight major islands total 4,126,000 acres of land area, of which 98 percent form the six major islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai (in order of largest land mass). The seventh island, Niihau, is privately owned and the eighth, Kahoolawe, is a military bombing range and uninhabitable.

There are three levels of government in Hawaii—Federal, State, and County. There are only four counties. The seat of the State Government is in the State Capitol at Honolulu on the island of Oahu, which houses the State Legislature and the Governor's offices.

The major industries in Hawaii have shifted from those that are primarily agricultural to service industries. In order of importance, the major industries today in Hawaii are:

  • Tourism
  • Construction
  • Sugar
  • Pineapple
  • Defense
  • Diversified Agriculture

Data Sources and Reliability 2/

The sources used in the descriptions that follow in this chapter are diverse, with varying degrees of reliability. Essentially two types of sources were used to compile the data in this chapter: scholarly demographic studies (for example, Adams, Lind, and Taeuber), and official government censuses and statistics (Schmitt for earlier figures, U.S. Bureau of the Census data, and State of Hawaii statistics).

As always in the use of statistics, there are inherent dangers of misclassification and misinterpretation. Earlier data are less reliable than later data. Some data collected by the Federal Government directly after statehood in 1959 are unusable because mainland race classifications are meaningless in Hawaii. Some data are not collected by ethnic groups by either the State or Federal Governments. It is hoped, however, that the wide variety of data used here will obviate some of these problems. Even where precise information is not available for lack of data, the reader may at least be able to discern trends in each of the areas discussed.

The most complete statistical compilation, from the earliest available figures to postcensal estimates made by the State in 1965, is contained in a book written by Robert C. Schmitt, Hawaii State Statistician. 3/ Schmitt reviews the various sources of demographic data for accuracy and reliability. A brief summary of his review will give a general idea of much of the data used here.

There are numerous problems with the earliest available data. Captain Cook's estimates and those of others


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