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Current Local Time in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Current local time in USA – Hawaii – Honolulu. Get Honolulu's weather and area codes, time zone and DST. Explore Honolulu's sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset.

Time in Hawaii, United States

Current Local Time in Locations in Hawaii with Links for More Information (8 Locations) Hilo. Wed 6:10 pm. Kapolei. Wed 6:10 pm. Wailuku. Wed 6:10 pm. Honolulu. Wed 6:10 pm.

Current time in Hawaii, United States

United States. Hawaii. 24 timezones tz. e.g. India, London, Japan. X; World Time. World Clock . Cities Countries GMT time UTC time AM and PM. Time zone conveter Area Codes. United States Canada. Time Zones. Time Zone Abbreviations. UTC GMT. World Time Zone Map Knowledge Base. GMT and UTC difference Daylight Saving Time How we keep time in zones Military Time. Time Converter. …

Check time in other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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Überprüfen Sie die Zeit in anderen Staaten: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kalifornien, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New-Mexiko, New York (Bundesstaat), North Carolina, Norddakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Süddakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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Controlla il tempo in altri stati: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nuovo Messico, Stato di New York, Carolina del Nord, Dakota del Nord, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Carolina del Sud, Dakota del Sud, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Virginia Occidentale, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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Verifique el tiempo en otros estados: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Luisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Misisipí, Misuri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Nueva Hampshire, New Jersey, Nuevo Mexico, Nueva York, Carolina del Norte, Dakota del Norte, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregón, Pensilvania, Rhode Island, Carolina del Sur, Dakota del Sur, Tennesse, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Virginia del Oeste, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Todos los derechos reservados.

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Verifique o tempo em outros estados: Alabama, Alasca, Arizona, Arkansas, Califórnia, Colorado, Coneticute, Delauare, Flórida, Geórgia, Idaho, Ilinóis, Indiana, Iova, Cansas, Kentucky, Luisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigão, Minesota, Mississípi, Missúri, Montana, Nebrasca, Nevada, Nova Hampshire, Nova Jérsia, Novo México, Nova Iorque, Carolina do Norte, Dakota do Norte, Ohio, Oclaoma, Oregão, Pensilvânia, Ilha de Rodes, Carolina do Sul, Dakota do Sul, Tenessi, Texas, Utá, Vermonte, Virgínia, Washington, Virgínia Ocidental, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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Vérifiez l'heure dans d'autres états: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Californie, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Floride, Géorgie, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiane, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nouveau-Mexique, New York, Caroline du Nord, Dakota du Nord, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvanie, Rhode Island, Caroline du Sud, Dakota du Sud, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginie, Washington, Virginie-Occidentale, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tous les droits sont réservés.

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Temps du monde France Paris

e.g. Paris, New York, Los Angeles

Annoncer l'événement à venir à Paris

Which city would you rather live in?

Horloge mondiale — Heure locale à Paris, France — heure exacte, décalage avec l'heure GMT, fuseau horaire, l'heure d’été 2022, heure avancée, horloge en ligne, heure officielle.

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tous les droits sont réservés.

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Temps du monde Espagne Madrid

e.g. Paris, New York, Los Angeles

Annoncer l'événement à venir à Madrid

Which city would you rather live in?

Horloge mondiale — Heure locale à Madrid, Espagne — heure exacte, décalage avec l'heure GMT, fuseau horaire, l'heure d’été 2022, heure avancée, horloge en ligne, heure officielle.

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tous les droits sont réservés.

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Hora Mundial España Madrid

e.g. Argentina, Chile, República Popular de China

Anunciar el tiempo del evento próximo en Madrid

Which city would you rather live in?

Hora actual de Madrid (Madrid), España (Spain). Hora exacta, horario de verano 2022 y diferencia horaria con España, Madrid

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Todos los derechos reservados.

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Tempo del mondo Spagna Madrid

e.g. New York, Stati Uniti d'America, Italia

Annunciare il prossimo evento a Madrid

Which city would you rather live in?

Orologio - Madrid, Spagna - ora esatta, fuso orario, differenza oraria, mappa dei fusi orari. Madrid - che ora sono adesso? Cambio ora legale 2022

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tutti i diritti riservati.

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Hora mundial Espanha Madrid

e.g. Portugal, Brasília, Londres

Anuncie o próximo evento em Madrid

Which city would you rather live in?

Madrid é a capital de Espanha

Madrid (Madrid), Espanha (Spain) relógio online. Horário em Madrid, Espanha hora atual, hora padrão, horário de verão 2022.

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Todos os direitos reservados.

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Hora mundial França Paris

e.g. Portugal, Brasília, Londres

Anuncie o próximo evento em Paris

Which city would you rather live in?

Paris é a capital de França

Paris (Paris), França (France) relógio online. Horário em Paris, França hora atual, hora padrão, horário de verão 2022.

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Todos os direitos reservados.

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Tempo del mondo Francia Parigi

e.g. New York, Stati Uniti d'America, Italia

Annunciare il prossimo evento a Parigi

Which city would you rather live in?

Orologio - Parigi, Francia - ora esatta, fuso orario, differenza oraria, mappa dei fusi orari. Parigi - che ora sono adesso? Cambio ora legale 2022

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tutti i diritti riservati.

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Orologio mondiale Mappa di Francia Parigi mappa dettagliata

e.g. New York, Stati Uniti d'America, Italia

  • X
  • it
    en es pt fr it de pl uk ru zh ja nl

Viaggi a Parigi, in Francia? Saperne di più in questa mappa dettagliata di Parigi online fornito da Google Maps

La maggior parte di mappe popolari oggi: Mappa di Oakland, mappa Port Moresby, mappa Anaheim, mappa Riverside, Mappa di Saipan

Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Tutti i diritti riservati.

Honolulu Time to EST Converter - Convert Honolulu, Hawaii ...

EST is known as Eastern Standard Time. EST is 5 hours ahead of Honolulu, Hawaii time. So, when it is. 12:00 am in Honolulu 1:00 am in Honolulu 2:00 am in Honolulu 3:00 am in Honolulu 4:00 am in Honolulu 5:00 am in Honolulu 6:00 am in Honolulu 7:00 am in Honolulu 8:00 am in Honolulu 9:00 am in Honolulu 10:00 am in Honolulu 11:00 am in Honolulu ...

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Honolulu HST

United States, Hawaii


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Eastern Standard Time (US)


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United Kingdom, England


Wed, Jan 19

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This time zone converter lets you visually and very quickly convert Honolulu, Hawaii time to EST and vice-versa. Simply mouse over the colored hour-tiles and glance at the hours selected by the column... and done!

EST is known as Eastern Standard Time. EST is 5 hours ahead of Honolulu, Hawaii time. So, when it is it will be

  • 1 Add locations (or remove, set home, order)
  • 2 Mouse over hours to convert time at a glance
  • 3 Click hour tiles to schedule and share
  • Sign in to save settings - it's FREE!
EST to Honolulu Converter - Convert Eastern Time to ...

Converting EST to Honolulu Time. This time zone converter lets you visually and very quickly convert EST to Honolulu, Hawaii time and vice-versa. Simply mouse over the colored hour-tiles and glance at the hours selected by the column... and done! EST stands for Eastern Standard Time. Honolulu, Hawaii time is 5 hours behind EST.

Link to this view

  • Show Timezones
  • Mark Weekends
  • Calendars...
 8 Jan 9 10 11 12 13 14

Outlook / iCal Google Calendar Clipboard Gmail Link to this selection Event



Eastern Standard Time (US)


Sun, Jan 9

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Honolulu HST

United States, Hawaii


Sat, Jan 8

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London GMT

United Kingdom, England


Sun, Jan 9

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This time zone converter lets you visually and very quickly convert EST to Honolulu, Hawaii time and vice-versa. Simply mouse over the colored hour-tiles and glance at the hours selected by the column... and done!

EST stands for Eastern Standard Time. Honolulu, Hawaii time is 5 hours behind EST. So, when it is it will be

Other conversions: EST to Munich Time, EST to Auckland Time, EST to Cleveland Time, Honolulu Time to EST

  • 1 Add locations (or remove, set home, order)
  • 2 Mouse over hours to convert time at a glance
  • 3 Click hour tiles to schedule and share
  • Sign in to save settings - it's FREE!
What Is the Hawaii Time Zone Difference?

03-11-2016 · For some odd reason, Hawaii is in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone. This means a small part of Alaska shares the same time zone as Hawaii. But since Alaska observes Daylight Savings, and Hawaii does not, during this time, Hawaii definitely has its own time zone. Hawaii Time Zone Difference From Asia-Pacific Countries. From Asia, the time ...

Hawaii time zone compared to the rest of the US.

Source US Geological Survey, US Department of the Interior. Diagram demonstrating the Hawaii time zone difference.

What is the Hawaii time zone difference? The answer is that is depends on where you are now. Hawaii is anywhere from 2 to 5 or 3 to 6 hours behind the rest of US mainland, depending upon whether or not it’s Daylight Savings. Hawaii is one of the few states in the US that does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Most of Arizona and parts of Indiana also do not observe Daylight Savings Time. Daylight Savings now begins on March 13 and ends on November 6 of each year.

Hawaii Time Zone Difference from the Mainland US

Hawaii is 3 hours behind the western states like California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada during Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). So when it’s 8:00 am Pacific Daylight Time, don’t call your buddy in Hawaii. This is because it’s 5:00 am in the morning in Hawaii and he’s probably still sleeping. But when it’s Pacific Standard Time, it’s only a 2 hour difference.

During Daylight Savings Time, Hawaii Standard Time (HST) is 4 hours behind Mountain Time, 5 hours behind Central Time and 6 hours behind Eastern Time.  When it’s Standard Time, the preceding time zone differences are respectively 1 hour less.

Some websites say that Hawaii has its own time zone. At least from what we can see, that may not be totally correct. For some odd reason, Hawaii is in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone. This means a small part of Alaska shares the same time zone as Hawaii. But since Alaska observes Daylight Savings, and Hawaii does not, during this time, Hawaii definitely has its own time zone.

Hawaii Time Zone Difference From Asia-Pacific Countries

From Asia, the time difference is greater because it’s one day ahead of Hawaii and the rest of the US. Hawaii is 19 hours behind Japan and Korea. Hawaii is 18 hours behind China.

Traveling to Hawaii from the US mainland has some time difference benefits. For example, if you leave on a 5 hour flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu and depart at 8:00 am PDT, you’ll be arriving in Honolulu at 11:00 am, HST. So you gained 3 hours just by flying to Hawaii and you will land in Honolulu just in time for a nice Hawaiian lunch.

Best Time to Visit Hawaii - Updated for Fall/Winter 2021

2021-2022 COVID-19 Update: Please be aware that the COVID-19 pandemic created significant alterations to our forecasts for the earliest and now later parts of 2021. ... Beginning in late March 2020, Hawaii has and will remain under 10-day quarantine orders for all arriving visitors, though there are vaccine exemptions available to select ...

While Hawaii is a great destination year-round, the best opportunity for good weather exists during April, May, September, and October. As the tradewinds pick up over the winter months, so do the showers, and surf swells, particularly on the north/northeast (windward) shores of each island. The weather is warm year-round, with average highs in the winter of 78-82ºF (26-28ºC) and 83-88ºF (29-31ºC) in the summer months. Learn more about Hawaii weather.

Best Time to avoid crowds?

Hawaii has visitors during all months of the year, but typically, if you want to avoid the crowds, visit in either November (excluding Thanksgiving) or May for the quietest scene on the islands. Additionally, the first week of June, most of April (excluding ‘Golden Week’ and Easter), and much of September or October are great times to avoid the majority of visitors. Learn more about When to Travel to Hawaii.

Best Time to Book Hawaii Hotels?

As a rule of thumb, book early - no later than 2-3 months before you go! It's not uncommon for the Best Accommodations in Hawaii to get booked quickly, especially during the summer months over holidays. If you are planning to visit in either July or August and especially if you’re planning a visit around the Christmas/New Year’s holiday in late December, then we’d advise booking 4-6 months in advance to ensure you can reserve the room(s) you want. Be sure to check our Hotel Rates for the best prices and to compare all the top travel sites in one quick search.

Best Time to purchase Hawaii Airline Tickets?

As with accommodations, it’s best to typically book earlier than later. The best prices for Hawaii flights can vary dramatically throughout the year, depending on a variety of factors. Generally speaking, to find the best rates, we advise visitors to start searching for flights four months before your trip and to book no later than one month before your planned departure. Using this approach should provide you the best opportunity to find a good deal. If you are planning a visit during Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another holiday, we’d advise you book much earlier, as far in advance as possible to ensure the best price for what will undoubtedly be high-demand tickets during those peak periods.

Best Time to Find Deals & Discounts?

If you’re searching for the best rates when visiting Hawaii, we’d advise you to start your search for flights that arrive/depart in the middle of the week. Flying during the middle of the week will save you a lot of money, especially when flying from geographically further away. Generally, the most affordable rates for both flights and hotels in Hawaii will be primarily during the fall and somewhat so during the spring.

For accommodations, the months of September through November (sometimes into early December) offer the best hotel deals, again excluding Thanksgiving. In the spring, the best accommodation rates can be found from late March until early June (excluding the Easter holiday and Japan’s ‘Golden Week,’ in April).

For tours and activities, while many deals and specials will be ‘last-minute’ - the best discounts and specials run during the summer months (late May - July). Sign up for our Hawaii eNewsletter, a bi-weekly email containing travel tips, to also receive exclusive Hawaii discounts, deals, specials, and other promotional offers.

Best Time for Snorkeling, Swimming, and Diving?

Hawaii offers fantastic snorkeling, diving, and swimming opportunities for much of the year, but the best times are the summer months. During this period the surf will be less intense than during the winter, the water will be warmer, and the weather more cooperative - creating the perfect conditions for exploring in the water around the islands.

In our opinion, Maui snorkeling is the best you'll find in the entire state, followed by snorkeling on the Big Island. Both islands offer great snorkeling locations largely protected from surf and tradewinds on the leeward side of each island.

Best Time to ski or snowboard?

This isn’t a typo; you can ski and snowboard in Hawaii - though conditions will have to be just right. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, means ‘white mountain’ in Hawaiian and its peaks are frequently found blanketed with a layer of snow. To provide yourself the best opportunity to partake in this winter sport, visit during February or March. Be sure to prepare accordingly, as there are limited facilities and you will need a 4x4 vehicle to reach the summit.

Best Time to take a cruise to/around Hawaii?

The best time to find a good bargain on cruises, including inter-island cruises, will be late November through mid-December. The best time for selection of boats will be in the spring (April/May) and fall (late August-October). Winter months are often more expensive (due to increased visitation), and typically wetter - but do offer the opportunity for whale watching (late November through early April).

Each winter, Humpback Whales migrate from Alaska to the warm waters surrounding Hawaii to mate and give birth to their calves. The best opportunities for whale watching will be from late November through mid-April; February and March often provide the best opportunities for sightings.

Best Time to get married/have a destination wedding?

As noted in the weather question, to avoid the wettest weather, try and plan your wedding for the summer months; anytime from late April until late October is usually a pretty safe bet. The middle of the summer will be warmer but is also typically the driest. Hurricane season runs from June through November as well, but storms are historically rare events. Ultimately, all factors considered - the best month for a destination wedding in Hawaii is in May.

Best Time for Hiking?

Hawaii offers some of the best hiking in the world if we may say so ourselves; a hiker could probably traverse Kauai’s trails alone for years and never get bored. As with most things in Hawaii, the hiking is excellent year-round, but the best months for hitting the trails are during the late spring and early fall (April, May, September, and October). The weather will be drier during these months, as well as throughout the entire summer, but unlike the summer, these spring/fall months will also be cooler. Be sure to take plenty of water and sunscreen before you head out, as the UV is very high in Hawaii year-round. If you hike during the winter months, be prepared for showers and trail conditions to potentially be messier / less maintained.

Best Time to visit Kilauea Volcano or go stargazing on Mauna Kea?

The Big Island’s Kilauea volcano erupted continuously from 1983 until 2018, some times more spectacularly than at other times. While there isn’t a ‘best time’ to witness something controlled by geologic forces, especially given the active/visible eruption has temporarily ended; if you’re planning to hike around the volcano or within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we’d advise the same as we did in our hiking question - visit during the spring or fall when it’s not at hot, and the weather will be cooperative. The summer will often be too warm to hike anywhere near the older black lava flows.

On the other hand, if you’re heading to the summit of Mauna Kea for some stargazing, then the summer months are best due to the same warmer temperatures. The peaks of Mauna Kea can become downright frigid at night, especially during the winter months. Remember, a full moon will offer the best opportunities for clear stargazing and be sure to prepare accordingly before heading to the summit.

Best Time to go Fishing?

Fishing is another activity that can be partaken year-round, as different species of fish will bite at different times of the year and off the coast of each unique island. Summer tends to be one of the most popular periods for fishing - offering marlin (blue and yellowfin), skipjack, and ono. Fall and spring both offer good marlin and mahi-mahi fishing. Winter months are best for catching snapper, skipjack, tuna, and striped marlin. If you're visiting Maui, we recommend Fish Maui.

Best Time to Surf, Bodyboard, or Paddleboard(SUP)?

The best time for water activities like surfing and bodyboarding will be during the winter months. The biggest waves, for professionals, will be on the north shore. For the rest of us non-pros, the south coast is best during the winter. During the summer and fall (May - September), the waves will be calmer on the north shore of each island - so all skill levels can partake.

For other water sports like paddleboarding, we like the spring and fall the best, but this again can be a year-round activity if you select the right location(s) based on the time of year you visit. If you're visiting Oahu, we highly recommend Mahina Hawaii.

Best Time for local festivals and events?

The best time to visit for island festivals and events depends on what you're looking for during your visit. 'Merrie Monarch,' also known as the Olympics of Hula, is held in Hilo on the Big Island every April. Over on Oahu, you can catch the 'Waikiki Spam Jam,' also usually held in April. The 'Aloha Festivals' takes place on all the islands each year in late September.

King Kamehameha Day (June 11) and Lei Day (May 1) also both offer various festivities, including impressive lei draping ceremonies of the King Kamehameha Statutes on both the Big Island and Oahu. Check our Hawaii events page for more information on what might be taking place during your visit.

Best Time to Visit Hawaii

02-05-2016 · Spring is one of the best times to visit Hawaii. It’s the start of the ‘dry’ season, and the weather couldn’t be nicer. This is also typically when airfare and lodging prices start to drop. Spring is also a wonderful time to enjoy the fantastic …


When is the best time to visit Hawaii?

Image of Ko Olina, Oahu
Ko Olina, Oahu. Photo: MarlonBu.

When is the best time to visit Hawaii? Well any time of course, but depending upon your budget and what you would like to experience during your visit, it’s a good idea to be familiar with what each season offers in terms of weather, cost, activities, and water conditions.

Visiting Hawaii During Winter (Ka Hooilo)

Image of 85 degrees during Christmastime at The Ritz-Carlton
85 degrees during Christmastime at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui. Photo: chadh.

Mid-December is typically high season in Hawaii, which means rates for travel and accommodations tend to be higher, as well. The best reason to visit Hawaii in the winter is for whale watching. Humpback Whales travel from Alaska and make their appearance every winter to birth their young. The peak whale season usually falls around Valentine’s Day. Whale watching is best off Maui and the Big Island and still thrills the locals just as much as the tourists!

Holiday traditions include annual Christmas Light parades, Honolulu City Lights adorned in breathtaking holiday decor and A-Lister performers from across the globe frolic to the islands each year for New Years performances and celebrations.

The average daily high temperature is a perfect 78 degrees, so it’s the perfect time of year for hiking and exploring the terrain. Winter surf can be rough and make swimming and other water activities more challenging, but if you enjoy watching surf competitions, this is the time of year to visit.

Visiting Hawaii During Spring (Waipuna)

Image of Hawaii During Spring
Photo: Rose Braverman.

Spring is one of the best times to visit Hawaii. It’s the start of the ‘dry’ season, and the weather couldn’t be nicer. This is also typically when airfare and lodging prices start to drop. Spring is also a wonderful time to enjoy the fantastic produce and fragrant flowers the islands have to offer. And if you appreciate the art of hula, the Big Island of Hawaii hosts the annual Merrie Monarch Festival, which starts on Easter Sunday.

Music is also in the air during spring, as we welcome May Day Lei Day as huge celebration of dance, flowers and song. Throughout the months artists are featured as part of Merrie Monarch in Hilo and Mele Mei (statewide) recognized with live entertainment, competitions, concerts and the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, which is similar to the Grammys in Hawaii. Look for hula festivals, Lantern Floating, the Spam Jam and King Kamehameha Day to liven up your camera roll.

Generally speaking, most water activities are better in the spring, summer and fall. The surf begins to calm down, making water activities more accessible and safer. In the winter, waves are bigger, currents are stronger and storms are often unpredictable. So if you’re a water lover, late spring would be the perfect time to visit.

Visiting Hawaii During Summer (Kauwela)

Image of people rafting
Photo: Ricardo’s Photography.

Summer is the most popular time for families to visit Hawaii, because the kids are out of school for summer vacation. July is the busiest month for visitor arrivals, with December being the second busiest. The summer months are also the warmest on the islands, with temperatures sometimes climbing into the 90’s. It can get pretty humid as well, especially on Oahu. And if one of your goals is to hike the black lava fields of the Big Island, prepare yourself for a toasty stroll.

The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival draws lovers of fine grapes and delicious cuisine from around the globe. Meanwhile, Duke’s OceanFest celebrates all water and beach sports while perpetuating Hawaii’s famous Olympian in Waikiki. The Made in Hawaii Festival in Honolulu draws thousands to taste, touch and tinker with the latest in locally made items. And the Aloha Festivals showcases the culture, flora & fauna and history of Hawaiian legacy and iconic pa’u riding.

Surf is at its lowest during the summer, which is nice for families with small children, and the water averages a balmy 80 degrees. And while hurricanes are rare, the hurricane season is from June to November, so it’s good to be aware that large storm systems can occasionally occur.

Visiting Hawaii During Fall (Akuma Ka)

Image of Surfing on Oahu's North Shore
Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore. Photo: Daniel Ramirez.

Fall is neck and neck with spring as one of the best times to visit the islands. The weather is perfect, the water is still calm, and the kids have gone back to school, which means fewer crowds at the most popular attractions. One exception is October on the Big Island, when the Ironman World Championships roll into town. Unless you’re a triathlon enthusiast, you may want to avoid all the excitement and head to one of the other islands.

The Kona Coffee Festival showcases the island’s finest coffee growers and farmers, along with coffee treats and eats, and the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival travels statewide showcasing the best of the best in culinary from around the globe utilizing local ingredients and engaging with local chefs.

If you’re a football fan, consider jumping into a tailgate party at Aloha Stadium in Halawa during a University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors home game. If not, then grab a surfboard and catch a few waves, because fall is the perfect time to learn to surf!

In conclusion, there’s no ‘bad’ time to visit Hawaii. Anytime is perfect – you just need to find the perfect time for YOU.—

Olena Heu contributed to this story.

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Hawaii - Wikipedia

17-12-2021 · Hawaii (/ h ə ˈ w aɪ. i / hə-WY-ee; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [həˈvɐjʔi] or [həˈwɐjʔi]) is a state in the Western United States located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only state in the tropics.Hawaii is also one of four U.S. states that were once independent nations ...

State of the United States
Not to be confused with Hawai, Hawaiki, Kawaii, or Kauai.
This article is about the U.S. state. For the archipelago, see Hawaiian Islands. For the largest island in the archipelago, see Hawaii (island). For other uses, see Hawaii (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 21°18′27″N 157°51′27″W / 21.30750°N 157.85750°W / 21.30750; -157.85750 (State of Hawaiʻi)

State in the United States
Flag of Hawaii
Hawaiʻi  (Hawaiian)
State of Hawaii
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi  (Hawaiian)
Official seal of Hawaii
The Aloha State (official), Paradise of the Pacific,[1] The Islands of Aloha, The 808 State[2]
Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
("The Life of the Land Is Perpetuated in Righteousness")[3]
Anthem: Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī
(Hawaiʻi's Own True Sons)[4]Map of the United States with Hawaii highlighted
Map of the United States with Hawaii highlighted
CountryUnited StatesBefore statehoodTerritory of HawaiiAdmitted to the UnionAugust 21, 1959 (50th)Capital
(and largest city)HonoluluLargest metro and urban areasHonoluluGovernment
 • GovernorDavid Ige (D) • Lieutenant GovernorJosh Green (D)LegislatureState Legislature • Upper houseSenate • Lower houseHouse of RepresentativesJudiciarySupreme Court of HawaiiU.S. senators
  • Brian Schatz (D)
  • Mazie Hirono (D)
U.S. House delegation1: Ed Case (D)
2: Kai Kahele (D) (list)Area
 • Total10,931 sq mi (28,311 km2) • Land6,423 sq mi (16,638 km2) • Water4,507 sq mi (11,672 km2)  41.2%Area rank47th (land)Dimensions
 • Length1,522 mi (2,450 km) • Widthn/a mi (n/a km)Elevation
3,030 ft (920 m)Highest elevation
(Mauna Kea[5][6][7][8])
13,796 ft (4,205.0 m)Lowest elevation
(Pacific Ocean[6])
0 ft (0 m)Population
 • Total1,455,271 • Rank40th • Density221/sq mi (82.6/km2) • Density rank13th • Median household income
,765[9] • Income rank
4thDemonym(s)Hawaii resident,[10] Hawaiian[a]Language
 • Official languagesEnglish, HawaiianTime zoneUTC−10:00 (Hawaii)USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-HITraditional abbreviationH.I.Latitude18° 55′ N to 28° 27′ NLongitude154° 48′ W to 178° 22′
Flag of Hawaii.svgHawaii state symbols
Flag of Hawaii
Seal of Hawaii.svgLiving insigniaBirdNeneFishHumuhumunukunukuāpuaʻaFlowerPua aloaloInsectPulelehuaTreeKukui treeInanimate insigniaDanceHulaFoodKalo (taro)GemstoneʻĒkaha kū moana (black coral)OtherHeʻe nalu (surfing) (state individual sport)State route markerHawaii state route markerState quarterHawaii quarter dollar coin
Released in 2008
Lists of United States state symbols

Hawaii (/həˈw.i/ (About this soundlisten) hə-WY-ee; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [həˈvɐjʔi] or [həˈwɐjʔi]) is a state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only state in the tropics. Hawaii is also one of four U.S. states that were once independent nations along with Vermont, Texas and California.[11]

Hawaii comprises nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago, 137 volcanic islands spanning 1,500 miles (2,400 km) that are physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.[12] The state's ocean coastline is consequently the fourth longest in the U.S., at about 750 miles (1,210 km).[b] The eight main islands, from northwest to southeast, are Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi, after which the state is named; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaii Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands make up most of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the nation's largest protected area and the third largest in the world.

Of the 50 U.S. states, Hawaii is the eighth-smallest in land area and the 11th-least populous, but with 1.4 million residents ranks 13th in population density. Two-thirds of the population lives on O'ahu, home to the state's capital and largest city, Honolulu. Hawaii is among the country's most diverse states, owing to its central location in the Pacific and over two centuries of migration. As one of only six majority-minority states, it has the nation's only Asian American plurality, its largest Buddhist community,[13] and the largest proportion of multiracial people.[14] Consequently, it is a unique melting pot of North American and East Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian heritage.

Settled by Polynesians some time between 1000 and 1200 CE, Hawaii was home to numerous independent chiefdoms.[15] In 1778, British explorer James Cook was the first known non-Polynesian to arrive at the archipelago; early British influence is reflected in the state flag, which bears a Union Jack. An influx of European and American explorers, traders, and whalers arrived shortly thereafter, introducing diseases that decimated the once isolated indigenous community. Hawaii became a unified, internationally recognized kingdom in 1810, remaining independent until Western businessmen overthrew the monarchy in 1893; this led to annexation by the U.S. in 1898. As a strategically valuable U.S. territory, Hawaii was attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941, which brought it global and historical significance, and contributed to America's decisive entry into World War II. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union, on August 21, 1959.[16] In 1993, the U.S. government formally apologized for its role in the overthrow of Hawaii's government, which spurred the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.

Historically dominated by a plantation economy, Hawaii remains a major agricultural exporter due to its fertile soil and uniquely tropical climate in the U.S. Its economy has gradually diversified since the mid-20th century, with tourism and military defense becoming the two largest sectors. The state attracts tourists, surfers, and scientists from around the world with its diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, active volcanoes, and clear skies on the Big Island. Hawaii hosts the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world's largest naval command, as well as 75,000 employees of the Defense Department.[17]

Although its relative isolation results in one of the nation's highest costs of living, Hawaii is the third-wealthiest state.[17] Honolulu performs well in several world livability indexes, ranking 22nd out of 140 cities worldwide in the 2019 Global Liveability Index, more than any American city.[18]


The state of Hawaii derives its name from the name of its largest island, Hawaiʻi. A common Hawaiian explanation of the name of Hawaiʻi is that it was named for Hawaiʻiloa, a legendary figure from Hawaiian myth. He is said to have discovered the islands when they were first settled.[19][20]

The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi is very similar to Proto-Polynesian Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland".[c]Cognates of Hawaiʻi are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan (ʻAvaiki) and Samoan (Savaiʻi). According to linguists Pukui and Elbert,[22] "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".[23]

Spelling of state name

In 1978, Hawaiian was added to the Constitution of the State of Hawaii as an official state language alongside English.[24] 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.[25]Diacritics were not used because the document, drafted in 1949,[26] predates the use of the ʻokina ⟨ʻ⟩ and the kahakō in modern Hawaiian orthography. The exact spelling of the state's name in the Hawaiian language is Hawaiʻi.[d] In the Hawaii Admission Act that granted Hawaiian statehood, the federal government recognized Hawaii as the official state name. Official government publications, department and office titles, and the Seal of Hawaii use the traditional spelling with no symbols for glottal stops or vowel length.[27]

Geography and environment

Island Nickname Area Population
(as of 2010)
Density Highest point Elevation Age (Ma)[28] Location
Hawaiʻi[29] The Big Island 1 4,028.0 sq mi (10,432.5 km2) 185,079 4 45.948/sq mi (17.7407/km2) Mauna Kea 1 13,796 ft (4,205 m) 0.4 19°34′N 155°30′W / 19.567°N 155.500°W / 19.567; -155.500 (Hawaii)
Maui[30] The Valley Isle 2 727.2 sq mi (1,883.4 km2) 144,444 2 198.630/sq mi (76.692/km2) Haleakalā 2 10,023 ft (3,055 m) 1.3–0.8 20°48′N 156°20′W / 20.800°N 156.333°W / 20.800; -156.333 (Maui)
Oʻahu[31] The Gathering Place 3 596.7 sq mi (1,545.4 km2) 953,207 1 1,597.46/sq mi (616.78/km2) Mount Kaʻala 5 4,003 ft (1,220 m) 3.7–2.6 21°28′N 157°59′W / 21.467°N 157.983°W / 21.467; -157.983 (Oahu)
Kauaʻi[32] The Garden Isle 4 552.3 sq mi (1,430.5 km2) 66,921 3 121.168/sq mi (46.783/km2) Kawaikini 3 5,243 ft (1,598 m) 5.1 22°05′N 159°30′W / 22.083°N 159.500°W / 22.083; -159.500 (Kauai)
Molokaʻi[33] The Friendly Isle 5 260.0 sq mi (673.4 km2) 7,345 5 28.250/sq mi (10.9074/km2) Kamakou 4 4,961 ft (1,512 m) 1.9–1.8 21°08′N 157°02′W / 21.133°N 157.033°W / 21.133; -157.033 (Molokai)
Lānaʻi[34] The Pineapple Isle 6 140.5 sq mi (363.9 km2) 3,135 6 22.313/sq mi (8.615/km2) Lānaʻihale 6 3,366 ft (1,026 m) 1.3 20°50′N 156°56′W / 20.833°N 156.933°W / 20.833; -156.933 (Lanai)
Niʻihau[35] The Forbidden Isle 7 69.5 sq mi (180.0 km2) 170 7 2.45/sq mi (0.944/km2) Mount Pānīʻau 8 1,250 ft (381 m) 4.9 21°54′N 160°10′W / 21.900°N 160.167°W / 21.900; -160.167 (Niihau)
Kahoʻolawe[36] The Target Isle 8 44.6 sq mi (115.5 km2) 0 8 0/sq mi (0/km2) Puʻu Moaulanui 7 1,483 ft (452 m) 1.0 20°33′N 156°36′W / 20.550°N 156.600°W / 20.550; -156.600 (Kahoolawe)
See also: List of islands of Hawaii

There are eight main Hawaiian islands. Seven are inhabited, but only six are open to tourists and locals. Niʻihau is privately managed by brothers Bruce and Keith Robinson; access is restricted to those who have their permission. This island is also home to native Hawaiians. Access to uninhabited Kahoʻolawe island is also restricted and anyone who enters without permission will be arrested. This island may also be dangerous since it was a military base during the world wars and could still have unexploded ordnance.


Map of the Hawaiian islands

The Hawaiian archipelago is 2,000 mi (3,200 km) southwest of the contiguous United States.[37] Hawaii is the southernmost U.S. state and the second westernmost after Alaska. Hawaii, like Alaska, does not border any other U.S. state. It is the only U.S. state that is not geographically located in North America, the only state completely surrounded by water and that is entirely an archipelago, and the only state in which coffee is commercially cultivable.

In addition to the eight main islands, the state has many smaller islands and islets. Kaʻula is a small island near Niʻihau. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands is a group of nine small, older islands to the northwest of Kauaʻi that extend from Nihoa to Kure Atoll; these are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. Across the archipelago are around 130 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, which are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin.[38]

Hawaiʻi's tallest mountain Mauna Kea is 13,796 ft (4,205 m) above mean sea level;[39] it is taller than Mount Everest if measured from the base of the mountain, which lies on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and rises about 33,500 feet (10,200 m).[40]


See also: Hawaii hotspot
Pāhoehoe (smooth lava) spills into the Ocean, forming new rock.

The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called the Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi Island. The newest volcano, Lōʻihi Seamount, is located south of the coast of Hawaiʻi Island.

The last volcanic eruption outside Hawaiʻi Island occurred at Haleakalā on Maui before the late 18th century, possibly hundreds of years earlier.[41] In 1790, Kīlauea exploded; it was the deadliest eruption known to have occurred in the modern era in what is now the United States.[42] Up to 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kīlauea were killed by the eruption.[43] Volcanic activity and subsequent erosion have created impressive geological features. Hawaii Island has the second-highest point among the world's islands.[44]

On the flanks of the volcanoes, slope instability has generated damaging earthquakes and related tsunamis, particularly in 1868 and 1975.[45] Steep cliffs have been created by catastrophic debris avalanches on the submerged flanks of ocean island volcanoes.[46][47]

Kīlauea erupted in May 2018, opening 22 fissure vents on its eastern rift zone. The Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are situated within this territory. The eruption affected at least 36 buildings and this, coupled with the lava flows and the sulfur dioxide fumes, necessitated the evacuation of more than 2,000 local inhabitants from their neighborhoods.[48]

Flora and fauna

See also: Endemism in the Hawaiian Islands and List of invasive plant species in Hawaii
A Hawaiian monk seal rests at French Frigate Shoals.
French Frigate Shoals, located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, is protected as part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

The islands of Hawaiʻi are distant from other land habitats, and life is thought to have arrived there by wind, waves (i.e., by ocean currents), and wings (i.e., birds, insects, and any seeds that they may have carried on their feathers). Hawaiʻi has more endangered species and has lost a higher percentage of its endemic species than any other U.S. state.[49] The endemic plant Brighamia now requires hand-pollination because its natural pollinator is presumed to be extinct.[50] The two species of BrighamiaB. rockii and B. insignis—are represented in the wild by around 120 individual plants. To ensure that these plants set seed, biologists rappel down 3,000-foot (910 m) cliffs to brush pollen onto their stigmas.[51]

Terrestrial ecology

The extant main islands of the archipelago have been above the surface of the ocean for fewer than 10 million years; a fraction of the time biological colonization and evolution have occurred there. 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 around the coasts can range from dry tropical (less than 20 inches or 510 millimeters annual rainfall) to wet tropical; on the slopes, environments range from tropical rainforest (more than 200 inches or 5,100 millimeters per year), through a temperate climate, to alpine conditions with a cold, dry climate. The rainy climate impacts soil development, which largely determines ground permeability, affecting the distribution of streams and wetlands.[52][53][54]

Protected areas

Nā Pali Coast State Park, Kauaʻi

Several areas in Hawaiʻi are under the protection of the National Park Service.[55] Hawaii has two national parks: Haleakalā National Park located near Kula on the island of Maui, which features the dormant volcano Haleakalā that formed east Maui, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the southeast region of the Hawaiʻi Island, which includes the active volcano Kīlauea and its rift zones.

There are three national historical parks; Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi, the site of a former leper 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—an area larger than all the national parks in the U.S. combined.[56]


See also: List of Hawaii tornadoes, List of Hawaii hurricanes, and Climate of Hawaii
A true-color satellite view of Hawaii shows that most of the islands' vegetation is on their northeast sides, which face the wind. The silver glow indicates calmer waters downwind.[57]

Hawaiʻi'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.[58]

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.[59] Hawaiʻi's record low temperature is 12 °F (−11 °C) observed in May 1979, on the summit of Mauna Kea. Hawaiʻi is the only state to have never recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures.[59]

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.[citation needed]


Main article: History of Hawaii
Part of a series on the
History of Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii
  • Ancient Hawaii
  • Hawaiian Kingdom
  • Provisional government
  • Republic of Hawaii
  • Territory of Hawaii
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  • American Civil War
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii portal
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Hawaiʻi is one of two states that were widely recognized independent nations prior to joining the United States. The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi was sovereign from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American and European capitalists and landholders. Hawaiʻi was an independent republic from 1894 until August 12, 1898, when it officially became a territory of the United States. Hawaiʻi was admitted as a U.S. state on August 21, 1959.[60]

First human settlement – Ancient Hawaiʻi (1000–1778)

Main article: Ancient Hawaii

Based on archaeological evidence, the earliest habitation of the Hawaiian Islands dates to around 1000–1200 CE, probably by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas Islands[15].[dubious – discuss] A second wave of migration from Raiatea and Bora Bora took place in the 11th century. The date of the human discovery and habitation of the Hawaiian Islands is the subject of academic debate.[61] Some archaeologists and historians think it was a later wave of immigrants from Tahiti around 1000 CE who introduced a new line of high chiefs, the kapu system, the practice of human sacrifice, and the building of heiau.[62] This later immigration is detailed in Hawaiian mythology (moʻolelo) about Paʻao. Other authors say there is no archaeological or linguistic evidence for a later influx of Tahitian settlers and that Paʻao must be regarded as a myth.[62]

The history of the islands is marked by a slow, 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 influence and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Ancient Hawaiʻi was a caste-based society, much like that of Hindus in India.[63]

European arrival

Drawing of single-masted sailboat with one spinnaker-shaped sail, carrying dozens of men, accompanied by at least four other canoes
Tereoboo, King of Owyhee, bringing presents to Captain Cook by John Webber (drawn 1779, published 1784)

The 1778 arrival of British explorer Captain James Cook marked the first documented contact by a European explorer with Hawaiʻi; early British influence can be seen in the design of the flag of Hawaiʻi, which bears the Union Jack in the top-left corner. Cook named the archipelago "the Sandwich Islands" in honor of his sponsor John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, publishing the islands' location and rendering the native name as Owyhee. The form 'Owyhee' or 'Owhyhee' is preserved in the names of certain locations in the American part of the Pacific Northwest, among them Owyhee County and Owyhee Mountains in Idaho, named after three native Hawaiian members of a trapping party who went missing in the area.[64]

It is very possible that Spanish explorers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the 16th century, two hundred years before 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 describe an encounter with either Hawaiʻi or the Marshall Islands.[65][66][better source needed] If de Villalobos' crew spotted Hawaiʻi, Gaetano would thus be considered the first European to see the islands. Some scholars have dismissed these claims due to a lack of credibility.[67][68]

Nonetheless, Spanish archives contain a chart that depicts islands at the same latitude as Hawaiʻi, but with a 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 Hawaiʻi Island is named La Mesa (The Table). Islands resembling Kahoʻolawe', Lānaʻi, and Molokaʻi are named Los Monjes (The Monks).[69] For two-and-a-half centuries, Spanish galleons crossed the Pacific from Mexico 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. Hawaiʻi thus maintained independence, despite being situated on a sea route east–west between nations that were subjects of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, an empire that exercised jurisdiction over many subject civilizations and kingdoms on both sides of the Pacific.[70]

King Kamehameha receiving the Russian naval expedition of Otto von Kotzebue. Drawing by Louis Choris in 1816.

Despite such contested claims, Cook is generally credited as being the first European to land at Hawaiʻi, having visited the Hawaiian Islands twice. As he prepared for departure after his second visit in 1779, a quarrel ensued as Cook took temple idols and fencing as "firewood",[71] and a minor chief and his men stole a boat from his ship. Cook abducted the King of Hawaiʻi Island, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, and held him for ransom aboard his ship to gain return of Cook's boat, as this tactic had previously worked in Tahiti and other islands.[72] Instead, the supporters of Kalaniʻōpuʻu attacked, killing Cook and four sailors as Cook's party retreated along the beach to their ship. The ship departed without retrieving the stolen boat.

After Cook's visit and the publication of several books relating his voyages, the Hawaiian Islands attracted many European and American visitors: explorers, traders, and eventually whalers, who found the islands to be a convenient harbor and source of supplies. These visitors introduced diseases to the once-isolated islands, causing the Hawaiian population to drop precipitously.[73] Native Hawaiians had no resistance to Eurasian diseases, such as influenza, smallpox and measles. By 1820, disease, famine and wars between the chiefs killed more than half of the Native Hawaiian population.[74] During the 1850s, measles killed a fifth of Hawaiʻi's people.[75]

Historical records indicated the earliest Chinese immigrants to Hawaiʻi originated from Guangdong Province; a few sailors had arrived in 1778 with Captain Cook's journey, and more arrived in 1789 with an American trader who settled in Hawaiʻi in the late 18th century. It is said that leprosy was introduced by Chinese workers by 1830, and as with the other new infectious diseases, it proved damaging to the Hawaiians.[76]

Kingdom of Hawaiʻi

Main article: Kingdom of Hawaii

House of Kamehameha

Kamehameha I conquered the Hawaiian Islands and established a unified monarchy across the archipelago.

During the 1780s, and 1790s, chiefs often fought for power. After a series of battles that ended in 1795, 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.[77]

After Kamehameha II inherited the throne in 1819, American Protestant missionaries to Hawaiʻi converted many Hawaiians to Christianity. They used their influence to end many traditional practices of the people.[78][79] During the reign of King Kamehameha III, Hawaiʻi turned into a Christian monarchy with the signing of the 1840 Constitution.[80]Hiram Bingham I, a prominent Protestant missionary, was a trusted adviser to the monarchy during this period. Other missionaries and their descendants became active in commercial and political affairs, leading to conflicts between the monarchy and its restive American subjects.[81] Catholic and Mormon missionaries were also active in the kingdom, but they converted a minority of the Native Hawaiian population.[82][83][84] Missionaries from each major group administered to the leper colony at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi, which was established in 1866 and operated well into the 20th century. The best known were Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, both of whom were canonized in the early 21st century as Roman Catholic saints.

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. In 1874, the election was contested within the legislature between Kalākaua and Emma, Queen Consort of Kamehameha IV. After riots broke out, the United States and Britain landed troops on the islands to restore order. King Kalākaua was chosen as monarch by the Legislative Assembly by a vote of 39 to 6 on February 12, 1874.[85]

1887 Constitution and overthrow preparations

In 1887, Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Drafted by white businessmen and lawyers, the document stripped the king of much of his authority. It established a property qualification for voting that effectively disenfranchised most Hawaiians and immigrant laborers and favored the wealthier, white elite. Resident whites were allowed to vote but resident Asians were not. As 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; she was the last monarch of Hawaiʻi.[86]

In 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani announced plans for a new constitution to proclaim herself an absolute monarch. 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. The Queen's soldiers did not resist. According to historian William Russ, the monarchy was unable to protect itself.[87]

Overthrow of 1893 – Republic of Hawaiʻi (1894–1898)

Main articles: Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Provisional Government of Hawaii, and Republic of Hawaii
See also: List of Hawaiian sovereignty movement groups § Historical – Royalist Organizations (from 1880s)
Queen Liliʻuokalani, seated inside ʻIolani Palace
Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom

On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown and replaced by a provisional government composed of members of the Committee of Safety. The United States Minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii (John L. Stevens) conspired with U.S. citizens to overthrow the monarchy.[88] After the overthrow, Lawyer Sanford B. Dole, a citizen of Hawaii, became President of the Republic when the Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi 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 had been illegal. The U.S. government first demanded that Queen Liliʻuokalani be reinstated, but the Provisional Government refused.

Congress conducted an independent investigation, and on February 26, 1894, submitted the Morgan Report, which found all parties, including Minister Stevens—with the exception of the Queen—"not guilty" and not responsible for the coup.[89] Partisans on both sides of the debate questioned the accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports over the events of 1893.[87][90][91][92]

In 1993, the US Congress passed a joint Apology Resolution regarding the overthrow; it was signed by President Bill Clinton. The resolution apologized and said that the overthrow was illegal in the following phrase: "The Congress—on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people."[88] The Apology Resolution also "acknowledges that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and further acknowledges that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi or through a plebiscite or referendum".[92][88]

Annexation – Territory of Hawaiʻi (1898–1959)

Main articles: Organic act § List of organic acts, and Territory of Hawaii
In 1899 Uncle Sam balances his new possessions, which are depicted as savage children. The figures are Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines and "Ladrones" (the Mariana Islands).

After William McKinley won the 1896 U.S. presidential election, advocates pressed to annex the Republic of Hawaiʻi. 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 non-native annexationists: 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 Hawaiʻi.[93] The U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty. Despite the opposition of most native Hawaiians,[94] the Newlands Resolution was used to annex the Republic to the U.S.; it became the Territory of Hawaiʻi. The Newlands Resolution was passed by the House on June 15, 1898, by 209 votes in favor to 91 against, and by the Senate on July 6, 1898, by a vote of 42 to 21.[95][96][97]

In 1900, Hawaiʻi 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 60 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 import cheap, foreign labor. Such immigration and labor practices were prohibited in many states.[98]

The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was the primary event that caused the United States to enter World War II.

Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaiʻi began in 1899, when Puerto Rico's sugar industry was devastated by a hurricane, causing a worldwide shortage of sugar and a huge demand for sugar from Hawaiʻi. Hawaiian sugarcane plantation owners began to recruit experienced, unemployed laborers in Puerto Rico. Two waves of Korean immigration to Hawaiʻi occurred in the 20th century. The first wave arrived between 1903 and 1924; the second wave began in 1965 after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which removed racial and national barriers and resulted in significantly altering the demographic mix in the U.S.[99]

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.

Political changes of 1954 – State of Hawaiʻi (1959–present)

Main articles: Hawaii Democratic Revolution of 1954, Hawaii Admission Act, Admission to the Union, and List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
See also: List of Hawaiian sovereignty movement groups § Modern – Sovereignty Organizations (1960s–present)
Three young women pack pineapples into cans in 1928.
Prior to the postwar labor movement, Hawaii was governed by plantation owners. Here, three young women pack pineapples into cans in 1928.

In the 1950s, the power of the plantation owners was broken by the descendants of immigrant laborers, who were born in Hawaiʻi and were U.S. citizens. They voted against the Hawaiʻi Republican Party, strongly supported by plantation owners. The new majority voted for the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, which dominated territorial and state politics for more than 40 years. Eager to gain full representation in Congress and the Electoral College, residents actively campaigned for statehood. In Washington there was talk that Hawaiʻi would be a Republican Party stronghold so it was matched with the admission of Alaska, seen as a Democratic Party stronghold. These predictions turned out to be inaccurate; today, Hawaiʻi votes Democratic predominantly, while Alaska votes Republican.[100][101][102][103]

In March 1959, Congress passed the Hawaiʻi Admissions Act, which U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law.[104] The act excluded Palmyra Atoll from statehood; it had been part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaiʻi. On June 27, 1959, a referendum asked residents of Hawaiʻi to vote on the statehood bill; 94.3% voted in favor of statehood and 5.7% opposed it.[105] The referendum asked voters to choose between accepting the Act and remaining a U.S. territory. The United Nations' Special Committee on Decolonization later removed Hawaiʻi from its list of non-self-governing territories.

After attaining statehood, Hawaiʻi quickly modernized through construction and a rapidly growing tourism economy. Later, state programs promoted Hawaiian culture.[which?] The Hawaiʻi State Constitutional Convention of 1978 created institutions such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote indigenous language and culture.[106]



See also: Hawaii statistical areas
Population density map of Hawaii, 2010
Historical population
1778 (est.)300,000—    
1819 (est.)145,000−51.7%
188480,578 41.6%
189089,990 11.7%
1896109,020 21.1%
1900154,001 41.3%
1910191,909 24.6%
1920255,912 33.4%
1930368,336 43.9%
1940423,330 14.9%
1950499,794 18.1%
1960632,772 26.6%
1970768,561 21.5%
1980964,691 25.5%
19901,108,229 14.9%
20001,211,537 9.3%
20101,360,301 12.3%
20201,455,271 7.0%
Source: 1778–1896[107] 1910–2020[108]

After Europeans and mainland Americans first arrived during the Kingdom of Hawaii period, the overall population of Hawaii—which until that time composed solely of Indigenous Hawaiians—fell dramatically. Many people of the Indigenous Hawaiian population died to foreign diseases, declining from 300,000 in the 1770s, to 60,000 in the 1850s, to 24,000 in 1920. In 1923, 42% of the population was of Japanese descent, 9% was of Chinese descent, and 16% was native descent.[109] The population of Hawaii began to finally increase after an influx of primarily Asian settlers that arrived as migrant laborers at the end of the 19th century.[110]

The unmixed indigenous Hawaiian population has still not restored itself to its 300,000 pre-contact level. As of 2010[update], only 156,000 persons declared themselves to be of Native Hawaiian-only ancestry, just over half the pre-contact level Native Hawaiian population, although an additional 371,000 persons declared themselves to possess Native Hawaiian ancestry in combination with one or more other races (including other Polynesian groups, but mostly Asian and/or Caucasian).

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Hawaii was 1,420,491 on July 1, 2018; an increase of 4.42% since the 2010 United States Census.[111]

As of 2018[update], Hawaii had an estimated population of 1,420,491; a decrease of 7,047 from the previous year and an increase of 60,190 (4.42%) since 2010. This includes a natural increase of 48,111 (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; migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,112 people.[112][needs update]

The center of population of Hawaii is located on the island of O'ahu. Large numbers of Native Hawaiians have moved to Las Vegas, which has been called the "ninth island" of Hawaii.[113][114]

Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.4 million, due in part to a large number of military personnel and tourist residents. O'ahu is the most populous island; it has the highest population density with a resident population of just under one million in 597 square miles (1,546 km2), approximately 1,650 people per square mile.[e][115] Hawaii's 1.4 million residents, spread across 6,000 square miles (15,500 km2) of land, result in an average population density of 188.6 persons per square mile.[116] The state has a lower population density than Ohio and Illinois.[117]

The average projected lifespan of people born in Hawaii in 2000 is 79.8 years; 77.1 years if male, 82.5 if female—longer than the average lifespan of any other U.S. state.[118] As of 2011[update] the U.S. military reported it had 42,371 personnel on the islands.[119]


Further information: Native Hawaiians, White Americans in Hawaii, Africans in Hawaii, and Japanese in Hawaii
Japanese immigration to Hawaii was largely fueled by the high demand for plantation labor in Hawaii post-annexation.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Hawaii had a population of 1,360,301. The state's population identified as 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.[120]

Hawaii racial breakdown of population
Racial composition 1970[121] 1990[121] 2000[122] 2010[123] est. 2015[124]
White 38.8% 33.4% 24.3% 24.7% 26.7%
Asian 57.7% 61.8% 41.6% 38.6% 37.3%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
9.4% 10.0% 9.9%
Black 1.0% 2.5% 1.8% 1.6% 2.6%
Native American and Alaskan native 0.1% 0.5% 0.3% 0.3% 0.5%
Other race 2.4% 1.9% 1.2% 1.2%
Two or more races 21.4% 23.6% 23.0%

Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans and multiracial Americans and the lowest percentage of White Americans of any state. It is the only state where people who identify as Asian Americans are the largest ethnic group. In 2012, 14.5% of the resident population under age 1 was non-Hispanic white.[125] Hawaii's Asian population consists mainly of 198,000 (14.6%) Filipino Americans, 185,000 (13.6%) Japanese Americans, roughly 55,000 (4.0%) Chinese Americans, and 24,000 (1.8%) Korean Americans.[126] There are more than 80,000 Indigenous Hawaiians—5.9% of the population.[126] Including those with partial ancestry, Samoan Americans constitute 2.8% of Hawaii's population, and Tongan Americans constitute 0.6%.[127]

Over 120,000 (8.8%) Hispanic and Latino Americans live in Hawaii. Mexican Americans number over 35,000 (2.6%); Puerto Ricans exceed 44,000 (3.2%). Multiracial Americans constitute almost 25% of Hawaii's population, exceeding 320,000 people. Eurasian Americans are a prominent mixed-race group, numbering about 66,000 (4.9%). The non-Hispanic White population numbers around 310,000—just over 20% of the population. The multi-racial population outnumbers the non-Hispanic white population by about 10,000 people.[126] In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Hawaii's population was 38.8% white and 57.7% Asian and Pacific Islander.[128]

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 the state's residents were born in the United States. Roughly 75% of foreign-born residents originate in Asia. Hawaii is a majority-minority state. It was expected to be one of three states that will not have a non-Hispanic white plurality in 2014; the other two are California and New Mexico.[129]

Map of the largest racial/ethnic group by county. Red indicates Native Hawaiian, blue indicates non-Hispanic white, and green indicates Asian. Darker shades indicate a higher proportion of the population.
Population of Hawaii (2008)[130][131]
Ancestry Percentage Main article:
Filipino 13.6% See Filipinos in Hawaii
Japanese 12.6% See Japanese in Hawaii
Polynesian 9.0% See Native Hawaiians
Germans 7.4% See German American
Irish 5.2% See Irish American
English 4.6% See English American
Portuguese 4.3% See Portuguese in Hawaii
Chinese 4.1% See Chinese in Hawaii
Korean 3.1% See Korean American
Mexican 2.9% See Mexican American
Puerto Rican 2.8% See Puerto Ricans in Hawaii
Italian 2.7% See Italian American
African 2.4% See African American
French 1.7% See French American
Samoan 1.3% See Samoans in Hawaii
Scottish 1.2% See Scottish American

The third group of foreigners to arrive in Hawaii were from China. Chinese workers on Western trading ships settled in Hawaii starting in 1789. In 1820, the first American missionaries arrived to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians Western ways.[132] As of 2015[update], a large proportion of Hawaii's population have Asian ancestry—especially Filipino, Japanese and Chinese. Many are descendants of immigrants brought to work on the sugarcane plantations in the mid-to-late 19th century. The first 153 Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii on June 19, 1868. They were not approved by the then-current Japanese government because the contract was between a broker and the Tokugawa shogunate—by then replaced by the Meiji Restoration. The first Japanese current-government-approved immigrants arrived on February 9, 1885, after Kalākaua's petition to Emperor Meiji when Kalākaua visited Japan in 1881.[133][134]

Almost 13,000 Portuguese migrants had arrived by 1899; they also worked on the sugarcane plantations.[135] By 1901, more than 5,000 Puerto Ricans were living in Hawaii.[136]


Many Portuguese immigrants were Azorean or Madeiran. They brought with them Roman Catholicism and Portuguese language and cuisine.

English and Hawaiian are listed as Hawaii's official languages in the state's 1978 constitution, in Article XV, Section 4.[137] However, the use of Hawaiian 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.[138]

As of the 2000 Census, 73.4% of Hawaii residents age 5 and older exclusively speak English at home.[139] According to the 2008 American Community Survey, 74.6% of Hawaii's residents older than 5 speak only English at home.[130] 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.[130]

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.[citation needed] 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.[139]


Main article: Hawaiian language

The Hawaiian language has about 2,000 native speakers, about 0.15% of the total population.[140] According to the United States Census, there were more than 24,000 total speakers of the language in Hawaii in 2006–2008.[141] Hawaiian is a Polynesian member of the Austronesian language family.[140] 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.[142]

According to Schütz, the Marquesans colonized the archipelago in roughly 300 CE[143] and were later followed by waves of seafarers from the Society Islands, Samoa and Tonga.[144] These Polynesians remained in the islands; they eventually became the Hawaiian people and their languages evolved into the Hawaiian language.[145] Kimura and Wilson say, "[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".[146]

Before the arrival of Captain James Cook, the Hawaiian language had no written form. That form was developed mainly by American Protestant missionaries between 1820 and 1826 who assigned to the Hawaiian phonemes letters from the Latin alphabet. Interest in Hawaiian increased significantly in the late 20th century. With the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, specially designated immersion schools in which all subjects would be taught in Hawaiian were established. 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.[citation needed]

Hawaiian distinguishes between long and short vowel sounds. In modern practice, vowel length is indicated with a macron (kahakō). 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.[citation needed] The Hawaiian language uses the glottal stop (ʻOkina) as a consonant. It is written as a symbol similar to the apostrophe or left-hanging (opening) single quotation mark.[citation needed]

The keyboard layout used for Hawaiian is QWERTY.[147]

Hawaiian Pidgin

Main article: Hawaiian Pidgin
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Mixed Hawaiian/European-American family in Honolulu, 1850s

Some residents of Hawaii 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 it 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 and animals. For example, tuna fish is often called by its Hawaiian name, ahi.[148]

HCE speakers have modified the meanings of some 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 follow distinctive rules different from those of General American English. For example, instead of "it is hot today, isn't it?", an HCE speaker would say simply "stay hot, eh?"[f] The term da kine is used as a filler; a substitute for virtually any word or phrase. During the surfing boom in Hawaii, HCE was influenced by surfer slang. Some HCE expressions, such as brah and da kine, have found their ways elsewhere through surfing communities.[149]

Hawaiʻi Sign Language

Hawaiʻi Sign Language, a sign language for the Deaf based on the Hawaiian language, has been in use in the islands since the early 1800s. It is dwindling in numbers due to American Sign Language supplanting HSL through schooling and various other domains.[citation needed]


The façade of a Christian church in downtown Honolulu.
The Makiki Christian Church in Honolulu heavily draws upon Japanese architecture.

Religion in Hawaii (2014)[150]

  Protestantism (38%)
  Roman Catholicism (20%)
  Mormonism (3%)
  Jehovah's Witnesses (1%)
  Other Christian (1%)
  No religion (26%)
  Buddhism (8%)
  Other religion (2%)
  Don't know (1%)

Hawaii is among the most religiously diverse states in the U.S., with one in ten residents practicing a non-Christian faith.[151] Christianity remains the majority religion, mainly represented by various Protestants groups and Roman Catholics. The second largest religion is Buddhism, which is concentrated in the Japanese community, and comprises a larger proportion of the population than any other state. The unaffiliated and nonreligious account for roughly half the population, making Hawaii one of the most secular states.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in Honolulu was formally the seat of the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church, a province of the Anglican Communion that had been the state church of the Kingdom of Hawaii; it subsequently merged into the Episcopal Church in the 1890s following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, becoming the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii. The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace and the Co-Cathedral of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus serve as seats of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. The Eastern Orthodox community is centered around the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Pacific.

The largest denominations by membership were the Roman Catholic Church with 249,619 adherents in 2010;[152]the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 68,128 adherents in 2009;[153] the United Church of Christ with 115 congregations and 20,000 members; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 108 congregations and 18,000 members.[154] All non-denominational churches have 128 congregations and 32,000 members.

According to data provided by religious establishments, religion in Hawaii in 2000 was distributed as follows:[155][156]

  • Christianity: 351,000 (29%)
  • Buddhism: 110,000 (9%)
  • Judaism: 10,000 (1%)[157]
  • Other: 100,000 (10%)
  • Unaffiliated: 650,000 (51%)

A Pew poll found that the religious composition was as follows:

Religious affiliation in Hawaii (2014)[150]
Affiliation % of Hawaiʻi's population
Christian 63 63
Protestant 38 38
Evangelical Protestant 25 25
Mainline Protestant 11 11
Black church 2 2
Roman Catholic 20 20
Mormon 3 3
Jehovah's Witnesses 1 1
Eastern Orthodox 0.5 0.5
Other Christian 1 1
Unaffiliated 26 26
Nothing in particular 20 20
Agnostic 5 5
Atheist 2 2
Non-Christian faiths 10 10
Jewish 0.5 0.5
Muslim 0.5 0.5
Buddhist 8 8
Hindu 0.5 0.5
Other Non-Christian faiths 0.5 0.5
Don't know 1 1
Total 100 100

Birth data

Note: Births in this table do not add up, because Hispanic peoples are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.

Live births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
Race 2013[158] 2014[159] 2015[160] 2016[161] 2017[162] 2018[163] 2019[164]
Asian 12,203 (64.3%) 11,535 (62.2%) 11,443 (62.1%) 4,616 (25.6%) 4,653 (26.6%) 4,366 (25.7%) 4,330 (25.8%)
White: 6,045 (31.8%) 6,368 (34.3%) 6,322 (34.3%) ... ... ... ...
> Non-Hispanic white 4,940 (26.0%) 4,881 (26.3%) 4,803 (26.1%) 3,649 (20.2%) 3,407 (19.4%) 3,288 (19.4%) 3,223 (19.2%)
Pacific Islander ... ... ... 1,747 (9.7%) 1,684 (9.6%) 1,706 (10.1%) 1,695 (10.1%)
Black 671 (3.5%) 617 (3.3%) 620 (3.3%) 463 (2.6%) 406 (2.3%) 424 (2.5%) 429 (2.6%)
American Indian 68 (0.3%) 30 (0.2%) 35 (0.2%) 28 (0.1%) 39 (0.2%) 33 (0.2%) 27 (0.2%)
Hispanic (of any race) 3,003 (15.8%) 2,764 (14.9%) 2,775 (15.1%) 2,766 (15.3%) 2,672 (15.3%) 2,580 (15.2%) 2,589 (15.4%)
Total Hawaiʻi 18,987 (100%) 18,550 (100%) 18,420 (100%) 18,059 (100%) 17,517 (100%) 16,972 (100%) 16,797 (100%)
1) Until 2016, data for births of Asian origin, included also births of the Pacific Islander group.
2) Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.


Hawaii has had a long history of LGBT identities. Māhū ("in the middle") were a precolonial third gender with traditional spiritual and social roles, widely respected as healers. Homosexual relationships known as aikāne were widespread and normal in ancient Hawaiian society.[165][166][167] Among men, aikāne relationships often began as teens and continued throughout their adult lives, even if they also maintained heterosexual partners.[168] While aikāne usually refers to male homosexuality, some stories also refer to women, implying that women may have been involved in aikāne relationships as well.[169] Journals written by Captain Cook's crew record that many aliʻi (hereditary nobles) also engaged in aikāne relationships, and Kamehameha the Great, the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was also known to participate. Cook's second lieutenant and co-astronomer James King observed that "all the chiefs had them", and recounts that Cook was actually asked by one chief to leave King behind, considering the role a great honor.

Hawaiian scholar Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa notes that aikāne served a practical purpose of building mutual trust and cohesion; "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?"[170]

As Western colonial influences intensified in the late 19th and early 20th century, the word aikāne was expurgated of its original sexual meaning, and in print simply meant "friend". Nonetheless, in Hawaiian language publications its metaphorical meaning can still mean either "friend" or "lover" without stigmatization.[171]

A 2012 Gallup poll found that Hawaii had the largest proportion of LGBT adults in the U.S., at 5.1%, an estimated 53,966 individuals. The number of same-sex couple households in 2010 was 3,239, representing a 35.5% increase from a decade earlier.[172][173] In 2013, Hawaii became the fifteenth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage; this reportedly boosted tourism by 7 million.[174]


See also: Hawaii locations by per capita income and List of power stations in Hawaii
In a pineapple field, a laborer stands with his hat in hand.
Post-annexation, Hawaii's economy and demographic changes were shaped mostly by growth in the agricultural sector.
A painting of two white women surfing, circa 1935.
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.
An American soldier at Schofield Barracks.
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,[175]whaling,[176] 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 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents in 2014 was US,516.[177] 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 United States. The state's food exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugarcane and honey.[178]

By weight, honey bees may be the state's most valuable export.[179] According to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, agricultural sales were US0.9 million from diversified agriculture, US0.6 million from pineapple, and US.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.[180] Seeds yielded US4 million in 2012, supporting 1,400 workers.[181]

As of December 2015[update], the state's unemployment rate was 3.2%.[182] In 2009, the United States military spent US.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.[183] 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%.[184]


Tax is collected by the Hawaii Department of Taxation.[185] Most government revenue comes from personal income taxes and a general excise tax (GET) levied primarily on businesses; there is no statewide tax on sales,[186] personal property, or stock transfers,[187] while the effective property tax rate is among the lowest in the country.[188] The high rate of tourism means that millions of visitors generate public revenue through GET and the hotel room tax.[189] However, Hawaii residents generally pay among the most state taxes per person in the U.S.[189]

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii considers the state's tax burden too high, claiming that it contributes to higher prices and the perception of an unfriendly business climate.[189] The nonprofit Tax Foundation ranks Hawaii third in income tax burden and second in its overall tax burden, though notes that a significant portion of taxes are borne by tourists.[190] Former State Senator Sam Slom attributed Hawaii's comparatively high tax rate to the fact that the state government is responsible for education, health care, and social services that are usually handled at a county or municipal level in most other states.[189]

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.[191] 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.[192][193]

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.[194]

The median home value in Hawaii in the 2000 U.S. Census was US2,700, while the national median home value was US9,600. Hawaii home values were the highest of all states, including California with a median home value of US1,500.[195] Research from the National Association of Realtors places the 2010 median sale price of a single family home in Honolulu, Hawaii, at US7,600 and the U.S. median sales price at US3,200. 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 (US2,000).[196]

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 year-round, such as 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 territories suffer from as well.

The higher costs to ship goods across an ocean may be further increased by the requirements of the Jones Act, which generally requires that goods be transported between places within the U.S., including between the mainland U.S. west coast and Hawaii, using only U.S.-owned, built, and crewed ships. Jones Act-compliant vessels are often more expensive to build and operate than foreign equivalents, which can drive up shipping costs. While the Jones Act does not affect transportation of goods to Hawaii directly from Asia, this type of trade is nonetheless not common; this is a result of other primarily economic reasons including additional costs associated with stopping over in Hawaii (e.g. pilot and port fees), the market size of Hawaii, and the economics of using ever-larger ships that cannot be handled in Hawaii for transoceanic voyages. Therefore, Hawaii relies on receiving most inbound goods on Jones Act-qualified vessels originating from the U.S. west coast, which may contribute to the increased cost of some consumer goods and therefore the overall cost of living.[197][198] Critics of the Jones Act contend that Hawaii consumers ultimately bear the expense of transporting goods imposed by the Jones Act.[199]


Main article: Culture of the Native Hawaiians

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.


Main article: Cuisine of Hawaii
A painting of a man carrying taro by a yoke.
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, Puerto Rican, 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 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 developed Hawaii regional cuisine as a contemporary fusion cuisine.

Customs and etiquette

Main article: Customs and etiquette in Hawaii

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 pandanggo). Print media and local residents recommend that one refer to non-Hawaiians as "locals of Hawaii" or "people of Hawaii".

Hawaiian mythology

Main article: Hawaiian mythology
A stone carving of a Hawaiian deity, housed at a German museum

Hawaiian mythology includes the legends, historical tales, and sayings of the ancient Hawaiian people. It is considered a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology that developed a unique character for several centuries before circa 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion, which was officially suppressed in the 19th century but was kept alive by some practitioners to the modern day.[citation needed] Prominent figures and terms include Aumakua, the spirit of an ancestor or family god and Kāne, the highest of the four major Hawaiian deities.[citation needed]

Polynesian mythology

Main article: Polynesian mythology
A sacred god figure wrapping for the war god 'Oro, made of woven dried coconut fibre (sennit), which would have protected a Polynesian god effigy (to'o), made of wood

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 area around Tonga and Samoa in around 1000 BC.[200]

Prior to the 15th century, Polynesian people migrated east to the Cook Islands, and from there to other island groups such as Tahiti and the Marquesas. Their descendants later discovered the islands Tahiti, Rapa Nui and later the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand.[201]

The Polynesian languages are part of the Austronesian language family. Many are close enough in terms of vocabulary and grammar to be mutually intelligible. There are also substantial cultural similarities between the various groups, especially in terms of social organization, childrearing, horticulture, building and textile technologies. Their mythologies in particular demonstrate local reworkings of commonly shared tales. The Polynesian cultures each have distinct but related oral traditions; legends or myths are traditionally considered to recount ancient history (the time of "pō") and the adventures of gods ("atua") and deified ancestors.[citation needed]

List of state parks

Main article: List of Hawaiian state parks

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.


Main article: Literature in Hawaii

The literature of Hawaii is diverse and includes authors Kiana Davenport, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Kaui Hart Hemmings. Hawaiian magazines include Hana Hou!, Hawaii Business Magazine and Honolulu, among others.


Main article: Music of Hawaii
Different types of Ukulele, widely used in Hawaiian music
Jack Johnson, folk rock musician, was born and raised on Oahu's North Shore.

The music of Hawaii includes 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 such as 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.[202]

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; according to Peter Manuel, the influence of Hawaiian music a "unifying factor in the development of modern Pacific musics".[203] Native Hawaiian musician and Hawaiian sovereignty activist Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, famous for his medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World", was named "The Voice of Hawaii" by NPR in 2010 in its 50 great voices series.[204]


Due to its distance from the continental United States, team sports in Hawaii are characterised by youth, collegial and amateur teams over professional teams, although some professional teams sports teams have at one time played in the state. Notable professional teams include The Hawaiians, which played at the World Football League in 1974 and 1975; the Hawaii Islanders, a Triple-A minor league baseball team that played at the Pacific Coast League from 1961 to 1987; and Team Hawaii, a North American Soccer League team that played in 1977.

Notable college sports events in Hawaii include the Maui Invitational Tournament, Diamond Head Classic (basketball) and Hawaii Bowl (football). The only NCAA Division I team in Hawaii is the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine, which competes at the Big West Conference (major sports), Mountain West Conference (football) and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (minor sports). There are three teams in NCAA Division II: Chaminade Silverswords, Hawaii Pacific Sharks and Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans, all of which compete at the Pacific West Conference.

File:Surfing contest - oahu hawaii - north shore - oct 2015.ogvPlay media
Surfing at North Shore of Oahu

Surfing has been a central part of Polynesian culture for centuries. Since the late 19th century, Hawaii has become a major site for surfists from around the world. Notable competitions include the Triple Crown of Surfing and The Eddie. Likewise, Hawaii has produced elite-level swimmers, including five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku and Buster Crabbe, who set 16 swimming world records.

Hawaii has hosted the Sony Open in Hawaii golf tournament since 1965, the Tournament of Champions golf tournament since 1999, the Lotte Championship golf tournament since 2012, the Honolulu Marathon since 1973, the Ironman World Championship triathlon race since 1978, the Ultraman triathlon since 1983, the National Football League's Pro Bowl from 1980 to 2016, the 2000 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, and the 2008 Pan-Pacific Championship and 2012 Hawaiian Islands Invitational soccer tournaments.

Hawaii has produced a number of notable Mixed Martial Arts fighters, such as former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn, and former UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. Other notable Hawaiian Martial Artists include Travis Browne, KJ Noons, Brad Tavares and Wesley Correira.

Hawaiians have found success in the world of sumo wrestling. Takamiyama Daigorō was the first foreigner to ever win a sumo title in Japan, while his protege Akebono Tarō became a top-level sumo wrestler in Japan during the 1990s before transitioning into a successful professional wrestling career in the 2000s. Akebono was the first foreign-born Sumo to reach Yokozuna in history and helped fuel a boom in interest in Sumo during his career.


Main article: Tourism in Hawaii
Punalu'u Beach, on the Big Island. Tourism is Hawaii's leading employer.

Tourism is an important part of the Hawaiian economy. In 2003, according to state government data, there were more than 6.4 million visitors, with expenditures of over  billion, to the Hawaiian Islands.[205] 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 five days, while other Asians stay over 9.5 days and spend 25% more.[206]

Hawaii hosts numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition.[207] The Hawaii International Film Festival is the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema.[208] Honolulu hosts the state's long-running LGBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.[209][210]


Main article: Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act

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 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.[citation needed] Proponents of universal health care elsewhere in the U.S. sometimes use Hawaii as a model for proposed federal and state health care plans.[citation needed]


Public schools

Main article: Hawai'i Department of Education
See also: List of elementary schools in Hawaii, List of middle schools in Hawaii, and List of high schools in Hawaii
Façade of a public high school.
Waianae High School, located in Waiʻanae, houses an educational community media center.

Hawaii has the only school system within the U.S. that is unified statewide. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education, which sets policy and hires the superintendent of schools, who oversees the Hawaii Department of Education. The Department of Education is divided into seven districts; four on Oʻahu and one for each of the other three counties.

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 all eligible students to take these tests and report all student test scores. This may have unbalanced the results that reported in August 2005 that of 282 schools across the state, 185 failed to reach federal minimum performance standards in mathematics and reading.[211] The ACT college placement tests show that in 2005, seniors scored slightly above the national average (21.9 compared with 20.9),[212] but in the widely accepted SAT examinations, Hawaii's college-bound seniors tend to score below the national average in all categories except mathematics.

The first native controlled public charter school was the Kanu O Ka Aina New Century Charter School.[213]

Private schools

Hawaii has the highest rates of private school attendance in the nation. During the 2011–2012 school year, Hawaii public and charter schools had an enrollment of 181,213,[214] while private schools had 37,695.[215] Private schools educated over 17% of students in Hawaii that school year, nearly three times the approximate national average of 6%.[216] According to Alia Wong of Honolulu Civil Beat, this is due to private schools being relatively inexpensive compared to ones on the mainland as well as the overall reputations of private schools.[217]

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 U.S. and first such school in Hawaii, was founded in 2003.

Independent schools can select their students, while most public schools of HIDOE are open to all students in their attendance zones. The Kamehameha Schools are the only schools in the U.S. that openly grant admission to students based on ancestry; collectively, they are one of the wealthiest schools in the United States, if not the world, having over eleven billion US dollars in estate assets.[218] In 2005, Kamehameha enrolled 5,398 students, 8.4% of the Native Hawaiian children in the state.[219]

Colleges and universities

See also: List of colleges and universities in Hawaii
Main entrance

The largest institution of higher learning in Hawaii is the University of Hawaii System, which consists of the research university at Mānoa, two comprehensive campuses at 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. 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.


See also: Hawaii Department of Transportation, List of airports in Hawaii, and Aviation in Hawaii
Honolulu International Airport

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. 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 Airlines and Mokulele Airlines use jets to provide services between the large airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona and Hilo. 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. Inouye.[220]

Until air passenger services began in the 1920s,[221] private boats were the sole means of traveling between the islands. Seaflite operated hydrofoils between the major islands in the mid-1970s.[222]

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.[223] Currently there is a passenger ferry service in Maui County between Lanaʻi and Maui,[224] which does not take vehicles; a passenger ferry to Molokai ended in 2016.[225] Currently Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises provide passenger cruise ship services between the larger islands.[226][227]


At one time Hawaii had a network of railroads on each of the larger islands that transported farm commodities and passengers. Most were 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge systems but there were some 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge on some of the smaller islands. The standard gauge in the U.S. is 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm). By far the largest railroad was the Oahu Railway and Land Company (OR&L) that ran lines from Honolulu across the western and northern part of Oahu.[228]

The OR&L was important for moving troops and goods during World War II. Traffic on this line was busy enough for signals to be used to facilitate movement of trains and to require 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 U.S. Navy and operated until 1970. Thirteen miles (21 km) of track remain; preservationists occasionally run trains over a portion of this line.[228] The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project aims to add elevated passenger rail on Oahu to relieve highway congestion.[citation needed]


Political subdivisions and local government

See also: List of counties in Hawaii

The movement of the Hawaiian royal family from Hawaiʻi Island to Maui, and subsequently to Oʻahu, explains the modern-day distribution of population centers. 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; Kaneohe; Kailua; Pearl City; Waipahu; Kahului; Kailua-Kona. Kīhei; and Līhuʻe.

Hawaii has five counties: the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii County, Maui County, Kauai County, and Kalawao County.

Hawaii has the fewest local governments among U.S. states.[229][230] Unique to this state is the lack of municipal governments. All local governments are generally administered at the county level. The only incorporated area in the state is Honolulu County, a consolidated city–county that governs the entire island of Oahu. County executives are referred to as mayors; these are the Mayor of Hawaii County, Mayor of Honolulu, Mayor of Kauaʻi, and the Mayor of Maui. The mayors are all elected in nonpartisan elections. Kalawao County has no elected government,[231] and as mentioned above there are no local school districts and instead all local public education is administered at the state level by the Hawaii Department of Education. The remaining local governments are special districts.[229][230]

State government

Further information: Category:State agencies of Hawaii
The Governor of Hawaii officially resides at Washington Place.

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, who is assisted by the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, both of whom are 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.

Federal government

  • Congressional delegation for the 117th United States Congress
  • Senator Brian Schatz

  • Senator Mazie Hirono

  • Representative Ed Case (HI-1)

  • Representative Kai Kahele (HI-2)

Hawaii is represented in the United States Congress by two senators and two representatives. As of 2021[update], all four seats are held by Democrats. Former representative Ed Case was elected in 2018 to the 1st congressional district. Kai Kahele represents the 2nd congressional district, representing the rest of the state, which is largely rural and semi-rural.[232]

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 is the first female Asian American senator and the first Buddhist senator. Hawaii incurred the biggest seniority shift between the 112th and 113th Congresses. The state went from a delegation consisting of senators who were first and twenty-first in seniority[g] to their respective replacements, relative newcomers Schatz and Hirono.[233]

Federal officials in Hawaii are based at the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building near the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service maintain their offices there; 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.


Main article: Politics of Hawaii
See also: Political party strength in Hawaii and United States presidential elections in Hawaii
Governor David Ige with U.S. Navy admiral John Richardson at the 75th Commemoration Event of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu, 2016

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 of which were landslide reelection 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. The 2016 Cook Partisan Voting Index ranks Hawaii as the most heavily Democratic state in the nation.[234]

Hawaii has not elected a Republican to represent the state in the U.S. Senate since Hiram Fong in 1970; since 1977, both of the state's U.S. Senators have been Democrats.[235][236]

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 a 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, the first presidential nominee and first president from Hawaii.[237][238]

State police

Hawaii has a statewide sheriff department that provides law enforcement protection to government buildings and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport as well as correction services to all correctional facilities owned by the state. County Police have their own respective jurisdiction such as Kauai Police for the island of Kauai. Honolulu Police for Oahu, Maui Police for Molokai, Maui and Lanai and Hawaii County Police for the Big Island. Forensic services for all agencies in the state are provided by the Honolulu Police Department.[239]

Hawaiian sovereignty movement

Main articles: Hawaiian sovereignty movement, List of Hawaiian sovereignty movement groups, and Legal status of Hawaii
The ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu, formerly the residence of the Hawaiian monarch, was the capitol of the Republic of Hawaii.

While Hawaii is internationally recognized as a state of the United States while also being broadly accepted as such in mainstream understanding, the legality of this status has been questioned in U.S. District Court,[240] the U.N., and other international forums.[241] Domestically, the debate is a topic covered in the Kamehameha Schools curriculum,[242] and in classes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.[243]

Political organizations seeking some form of sovereignty for Hawaii have been active since the late 19th century. Generally, their focus is on self-determination and self-governance, either for Hawaii as an independent nation (in many proposals, for "Hawaiian nationals" descended from subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom or declaring themselves as such by choice), or for people of whole or part native Hawaiian ancestry in an indigenous "nation to nation" relationship akin to tribal sovereignty with US federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The pro-federal recognition Akaka Bill drew substantial opposition among Hawaiian residents in the 2000s.[244][245] Opponents to the tribal approach argue it is not a legitimate path to Hawaiian nationhood; they also argue that the U.S. government should not be involved in re-establishing Hawaiian sovereignty.[246][247]

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement views the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 as illegal, and views the subsequent annexation of Hawaii by the United States as illegal as well; the movement seeks some form of greater autonomy for Hawaii, such as free association or independence from the United States.[245][248][249][250][251]

Some groups also advocate some form of redress from the United States for the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani, and for what is described as a prolonged military occupation beginning with the 1898 annexation. The Apology Resolution passed by US Congress in 1993 is cited as a major impetus by the movement for Hawaiian sovereignty.[248] The sovereignty movement considers Hawaii to be an illegally occupied nation.[249][252][253][247]

International sister relationships

  • Ehime Prefecture Ehime, Japan[254]
  • Fukuoka Prefecture Fukuoka, Japan[255]
  • Hiroshima Prefecture Hiroshima, Japan[256]
  • Hokkaido Hokkaido, Japan[257]
  • Okinawa Prefecture Okinawa, Japan[258]
  • China Guangdong, China[259]
  • China Hainan, China[259]
  • South Korea Jeju, South Korea[259]
  • Taiwan Taiwan[259]
  • Cebu Cebu, Philippines[259]
  • Isabela (province) Isabela, Philippines[259]
  • Pangasinan Pangasinan, Philippines[259]
  • Ilocos Sur Ilocos Sur, Philippines[259]
  • Ilocos Norte Ilocos Norte, Philippines[259]
  • Morocco Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër, Morocco[259]
  • Azores Azores Islands, Portugal[259]
  • Bali Bali, Indonesia[259]
  • India Goa, India[259]

See also

  • flagHawaii portal
  • flagUnited States portal
  • iconIslands portal
  • Index of Hawaii-related articles
  • Outline of Hawaii


Informational notes

  1. ^ Local usage generally reserves Hawaiian as an ethnonym referring to Native Hawaiians. Hawaii resident is the preferred local form to refer to state residents in general regardless of ethnicity. Hawaii may also be used adjectivally. The Associated Press Stylebook, 42nd ed. (2007), also prescribes this usage (p. 112).
  2. ^ After Alaska, Florida, and California.
  3. ^ Pollex—a reconstruction of the Proto-Polynesian lexicon, Biggs and Clark, 1994.[21] The asterisk preceding the word signifies that it is a reconstructed word form.
  4. ^ The ʻokina, which resembles an apostrophe and precedes the final i in Hawaiʻi, is a consonant in Hawaiian and phonetically represents the glottal stop /ʔ/.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ English "to be" is often omitted in Pidgin. In contexts where "to be" is used in General American, "to stay" is preferred. "To stay" may have arisen due to an English calque of the Portuguese ser, estar, or ficar. Eh? (IPA: [æ̃ː˧˦]) is a tag question which may have roots in Japanese, which uses ね (ne?) to emphasize a point that may be agreed upon by all parties, or may come from Portuguese né? (shortened from "não é?"), cf. French n'est-ce pas ?. Eh? may also have come from English yeah.
  7. ^ Senator Inouye, who ranked first in seniority, died in December 2012. Senator Daniel Akaka, who ranked 21st of the Senate's one hundred members, retired in January 2013 after serving twenty-three years in the Senate.


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External links

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  • USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Hawaii
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  • Satellite image of Hawaiian Islands at NASA's Earth Observatory
  • Documents relating to Hawaii Statehood, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
  • Happily a State, Forever an Island by The New York Times
  • "Hawaiʻi Then and Now"—slideshow by Life magazine (Archived from the original Archived November 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine on November 3, 2010)
  • Geographic data related to Hawaii at OpenStreetMap
  • Hawaiian Imprint Collection From the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress
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Page 2

For other uses, see 51st state (disambiguation).
Proposals to admit a new state to the United States
51-star flags of the United States were designed and used as a symbol by supporters of statehood in various areas. This is an example.

"51st state", in post-1959 American political discourse, is a phrase that refers to areas or locales that are—seriously or facetiously—considered candidates for U.S. statehood, joining the 50 states that presently compose the United States. The phrase has been applied to external territories as well as parts of existing states which would be admitted as separate states in their own right.

Voters in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have both voted for statehood in referendums.[1][2][3] As statehood candidates, their admission to the Union requires congressional approval.[4]American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands are also U.S. territories and could potentially become U.S. states.[5]

  The 50 states and the District of Columbia
  Incorporated, unorganized territory
  Unincorporated territory with Commonwealth status
  Unincorporated, organized territory
  Unincorporated, unorganized territory

The phrase "51st state" sometimes has international political connotations not necessarily having to do with becoming a U.S. state. The phrase "51st state" can be used in a positive sense, meaning that a region or territory is so aligned, supportive, and conducive with the United States, that it is like a U.S. state. It can also be used in a pejorative sense, meaning an area or region is perceived to be under excessive American cultural or military influence or control. In various countries around the world, people who believe their local or national culture has become too Americanized sometimes use the term "51st state" in reference to their own countries.[6] Before Alaska and Hawaii became states of the United States in 1959, the corresponding expression was "the 49th state".

Legal requirements

Main article: Admission to the Union

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to admit new states into the United States (beyond the thirteen already in existence at the time the Constitution went into effect in 1788). Historically, most new states brought into being by Congress have been established from an organized incorporated territory, created and governed by Congress.[7] In some cases, an entire territory became a state; in others, some part of a territory became a state. As defined in a 1953 U.S. Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the traditionally accepted requirements for statehood are:

  • The inhabitants of the proposed new state are imbued with and are sympathetic toward the principles of democracy as exemplified in the American Constitution.
  • A majority of the electorate wish for statehood.
  • The proposed new state has sufficient population and resources to support state government and carry its share of the cost of Federal Government.[8]

In most cases, the organized government of a territory made known the sentiment of its population in favor of statehood, usually by referendum. Congress then directed that government to organize a constitutional convention to write a state constitution. Upon acceptance of that constitution by the people of the territory and then by Congress, a joint resolution would be adopted granting statehood. The President would then issue a proclamation announcing the addition of a new state to the Union. While Congress, which has ultimate authority over the admission of new states, has usually followed this procedure, there have been occasions (due to unique case-specific circumstances) where it did not.[9]

A simple majority in each House of Congress is required to pass statehood legislation, however, in the United States Senate the filibuster requires 60 votes to invoke cloture. Some statehood advocacy organizations have called for amending or abolishing the filibuster as a path to achieve statehood.[10][11] Like other legislation, the President can sign or veto statehood bills that pass and Congress has the power to override a veto with a 2/3 majority.[12]

U.S. flag

If a new U.S. state were to be admitted, it would require a new design of the flag to accommodate an additional star for a 51st state.[13] However, according to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the United States flag never becomes obsolete. In the event that a new state is added to the Union and a 51-star flag is approved, any approved American flag (such as the 50-star flag) may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable.[14]

From existing territories of the United States

District of Columbia

Main article: Statehood movement in the District of Columbia
See also: District of Columbia retrocession

The District of Columbia is often mentioned as a candidate for statehood. In Federalist No. 43 of The Federalist Papers, James Madison considered the implications of the definition of the "seat of government" found in the United States Constitution. Although he noted potential conflicts of interest, and the need for a "municipal legislature for local purposes",[15] Madison did not address the district's role in national voting. Legal scholars disagree on whether a simple act of Congress can admit the District as a state, due to its status as the seat of government of the United States, which Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution requires to be under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; depending on the interpretation of this text, admission of the full District as a state may require a Constitutional amendment, which is much more difficult to enact.[16]

A 2017 license plate for Washington, D.C.
Flag of Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia residents who support the statehood movement sometimes use the slogan "Taxation without representation" to denote their lack of Congressional representation. The phrase is a shortened version of the Revolutionary War protest motto "no taxation without representation" omitting the initial "No", and is now printed on newly issued District of Columbia license plates (although a driver may choose to have the District of Columbia website address instead). President Bill Clinton's presidential limousine had the "Taxation without representation" license plate late in his term, while President George W. Bush had the vehicle's plates changed shortly after beginning his term in office.[17] President Barack Obama had the license plates changed back to the protest style shortly before his second-term inauguration.[18] President Donald Trump eventually removed the license plate and signaled opposition to DC statehood.[19][20]

This position was carried by the D.C. Statehood Party, a political party; it has since merged with the local Green Party affiliate to form the D.C. Statehood Green Party. The nearest this movement ever came to success was in 1978, when Congress passed the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment. Two years later in 1980, local citizens passed an initiative written and filed by J. Edward Guinan calling for a constitutional convention for a new state.[21] In 1982, voters ratified the constitution of the state, which was to be called New Columbia. The drive for statehood stalled in 1985, however, when the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment failed because not enough states ratified the amendment within the seven-year span specified.

Another proposed option would be to have Maryland, from which the current land was ceded, retake the District of Columbia, as Virginia has already done for its part, while leaving the National Mall, the United States Capitol, the United States Supreme Court, and the White House in a truncated District of Columbia.[22] This would give residents of the District of Columbia the benefit of statehood while precluding the creation of a 51st state, but would require the consent of the Government of Maryland.[23]

2016 statehood referendum

Main article: 2016 Washington, D.C. statehood referendum
District of Columbia statehood referendum, 2016
November 8, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-11-08)
LocationDistrict of ColumbiaVoting systemsimple majorityShall the voters of the District of Columbia advise the Council to approve or reject this proposal?

On April 15, 2016, District Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a citywide vote on whether the nation's capital should become the 51st state.[24] This was followed by the release of a proposed State Constitution.[25] This Constitution would make the Mayor of the District of Columbia the Governor of the proposed state, while the members of the District Council would make up the proposed House of Delegates.[26]

On November 8, 2016, the voters of the District of Columbia voted overwhelmingly in favor of statehood, with 86% of voters voting to advise approving the proposal.[27]

While the name "New Columbia" has long been associated with the movement, the City Council and community members chose the proposed state name to be the State of Washington, D.C., or the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. The Maryland abolitionist Frederick Douglass was a D.C. resident and was chosen to be the proposed state's namesake alongside George Washington of Virginia.[28]

Federal enclave

To fulfill Constitutional requirements of having a Federal District and to provide the benefits of statehood to the 700,000-plus residents of D.C., in the proposed State of Washington, D.C., boundaries would be delineated between the State of Washington, D.C. and a much smaller federal seat of government. This would ensure federal control of federal buildings. The National Mall, the White House, the national memorials, Cabinet buildings, judicial buildings, legislative buildings, and other government-related buildings, etc. would be housed within the much smaller federal seat of government. All residences in the State of Washington, D.C. would reside outside the seat of federal government, except for the White House. The proposed boundaries are based on precedents created through the 1902 McMillan Plan with a few modifications. The rest of the boundaries would remain the same.[29][30][31]

Admission legislation

On June 26, 2020, the United States House of Representatives voted 232–180 in favor of statehood for Washington, D.C.

Passage of this legislation in the Senate was unlikely while the Republican Party held a Senate majority, and President Trump also promised to veto D.C. statehood.[32] The legislation was House Resolution 51[33] in honor of D.C. potentially becoming the 51st state.[34] However, since the 2020 Senate elections, the Democratic Party has a senate majority, meaning Joe Biden's Presidency may open the door for D.C. statehood.[35]

The vote was the first time D.C. has ever had a vote for statehood pass any chamber of Congress: in 1993, D.C. statehood legislation was rejected in a US House floor vote by 153–277.[36]

On April 22, 2021, the United States House of Representatives voted 216–208 in favor of statehood for Washington, D.C.[37]

Puerto Rico

Main article: Proposed political status for Puerto Rico
See also: Statehood movement in Puerto Rico
Flag of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been discussed as a potential 51st state of the United States. However, since 1898, five other territories were annexed in the time Puerto Rico has been a colonial possession. In 2019, H.R.1965 – Puerto Rico Admission Act, 5% of the lower legislature were in support. The bill was passed on to the House Committee on Natural Resources.[38]

In a 2012 status referendum a majority of voters, 54%, expressed dissatisfaction with the current political relationship. In a separate question, 61% of voters supported statehood (excluding the 26% of voters who left this question blank). On December 11, 2012, Puerto Rico's legislature resolved to request that the President and the U.S. Congress act on the results, end the current form of territorial status and begin the process of admitting Puerto Rico to the Union as a state.[39] On January 4, 2017, Puerto Rico's new representative to Congress pushed a bill that would ratify statehood by 2025.[40]

On June 11, 2017, another non-binding referendum was held[41] where 97.7 percent voted for the statehood option.[42] The turnout for this vote was 23 percent, a historical low as voter turnout in Puerto Rico usually hovers around 80%.[42] The low turnout was attributed to a boycott led by the pro-status quo PPD party.[43]

On June 27, 2018, the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 H.R. 6246 was introduced in the U.S. House with the purpose of responding to, and complying with, the democratic will of the United States citizens residing in Puerto Rico as expressed in the plebiscites held on November 6, 2012, and June 11, 2017, by setting forth the terms for the admission of the territory of Puerto Rico as a State of the Union.[44] The admission act has 37 original cosponsors between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.[45]

A subsequent nonbinding referendum was held on November 3, 2020, to decide whether Puerto Rico should become a state. Statehood won the vote 52.52%–47.48%.[46]


Since 1898, Puerto Rico has had limited representation in the United States Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a nonvoting delegate. The 110th Congress returned the Commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation.[47] Puerto Rico has elections on the United States presidential primary or caucus of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to select delegates to the respective parties' national conventions although presidential electors are not granted on the Electoral College. As American citizens, Puerto Ricans can vote in U.S. presidential elections, provided they reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia and not in Puerto Rico itself.

Residents of Puerto Rico pay U.S. federal taxes: import and export taxes, federal commodity taxes, social security taxes, thereby contributing to the American Government. Most Puerto Rico residents do not pay federal income tax but do pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare). However, federal employees, those who do business with the federal government, Puerto Rico–based corporations that intend to send funds to the U.S. and others do pay federal income taxes. Puerto Ricans may enlist in the U.S. military. Puerto Ricans have participated in all American wars since 1898; 52 Puerto Ricans had been killed in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan by November 2012.[48]

Puerto Rico has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century after it was ceded to the U.S. by Spain following the end of the Spanish–American War, and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. The island's ultimate status has not been determined, and its residents do not have voting representation in their federal government. Like the states, Puerto Rico has self-rule, a republican form of government organized pursuant to a constitution adopted by its people, and a bill of rights.

This constitution was created when the U.S. Congress directed local government to organize a constitutional convention to write the Puerto Rico Constitution in 1951. The acceptance of that constitution by Puerto Rico's electorate, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. president occurred in 1952. In addition, the rights, privileges and immunities attendant to United States citizens are "respected in Puerto Rico to the same extent as though Puerto Rico were a State of the Union" through the express extension of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution by the U.S. Congress in 1948.[49]

Puerto Rico is designated in its constitution as the "Commonwealth of Puerto Rico".[50] The Constitution of Puerto Rico, which became effective in 1952, adopted the name of Estado Libre Asociado (literally translated as "Free Associated State"), officially translated into English as Commonwealth, for its body politic.[51][52] The island is under the jurisdiction of the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which has led to doubts about the finality of the Commonwealth status for Puerto Rico. In addition, all people born in Puerto Rico become citizens of the U.S. at birth (under provisions of the Jones–Shafroth Act in 1917), but citizens residing in Puerto Rico cannot vote for the President of the United States nor for full members of either house of Congress. Statehood would grant island residents full voting rights at the federal level and 2 state senators, like each US state has.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush issued a Memorandum to heads of Executive Departments and Agencies establishing the current administrative relationship between the Federal Government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This memorandum directs all Federal departments, agencies, and officials to treat Puerto Rico administratively as if it were a State insofar as doing so would not disrupt Federal programs or operations. President Bush’s memorandum remains in effect until Federal legislation is enacted to alter the status of Puerto Rico in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people of Puerto Rico.[53]

On April 29, 2010, the United States House of Representatives approved the Puerto Rico Democracy Act (H.R. 2499) by 223–169,[54] but was not approved by the Senate before the end of the 111th Congress. It would have provided for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico. This act would provide for referendums to be held in Puerto Rico to determine the island's ultimate political status. It had also been introduced in 2007.[55]

Vote for statehood

Puerto Rican status referendum, 2012
November 6, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-11-06)
LocationPuerto RicoVoting systemsimple majority for the first question
first-past-the-post for the second questionShould Puerto Rico continue its current territorial status?
Which non-territorial option do you prefer?
Free Association
There were 515,348 blank and invalidated ballots counted alongside the 1,363,854 ballots. Under Puerto Rico Law, these ballots are not considered cast votes and are therefore not reflected in the final tally.[56]

In November 2012, a referendum resulted in 54 percent of respondents voting to reject the current status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution,[57] while a second question resulted in 61 percent of voters identifying statehood as the preferred alternative to the current territorial status.[58] The 2012 referendum was by far the most successful referendum for statehood advocates and support for statehood has risen in each successive popular referendum.[59][60] However, more than one in four voters abstained from answering the question on the preferred alternative status. Statehood opponents have argued that the statehood option garnered 45 percent of the votes if abstentions are included.[61] If abstentions are considered, the result of the referendum is much closer to 44 percent for statehood, a number that falls under the 50 percent majority mark.[62]

The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Boston Herald have published opinion pieces expressing support for the statehood of Puerto Rico.[63][64][65] On November 8, 2012, Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill published an article saying that Congress will likely ignore the results of the referendum due to the circumstances behind the votes.[66] U.S. Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, both of Puerto Rican ancestry, agreed with The Hill's statements.[67] Shortly after the results were published, Puerto Rico-born U.S. Congressman José Enrique Serrano commented "I was particularly impressed with the outcome of the 'status' referendum in Puerto Rico. A majority of those voting signaled the desire to change the current territorial status. In a second question an even larger majority asked to become a state. This is an earthquake in Puerto Rican politics. It will demand the attention of Congress, and a definitive answer to the Puerto Rican request for change. This is a history-making moment where voters asked to move forward."[68]

Several days after the referendum, the Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Governor Luis Fortuño, and Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla wrote separate letters to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, addressing the results of the voting. Pierluisi urged Obama to begin legislation in favor of the statehood of Puerto Rico, in light of its win in the referendum.[69] Fortuño urged him to move the process forward.[70] García Padilla asked him to reject the results because of their ambiguity.[71] The White House stance related to the November 2012 plebiscite was that the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and a majority chose statehood in the second question. Former White House director of Hispanic media stated, "Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future."[72]

On May 15, 2013, Resident Commissioner Pierluisi introduced H.R. 2000 to Congress to "set forth the process for Puerto Rico to be admitted as a state of the Union", asking for Congress to vote on ratifying Puerto Rico as the 51st state.[73] On February 12, 2014, Senator Martin Heinrich introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate. The bill would require a binding referendum to be held in Puerto Rico asking whether the territory wants to be admitted as a state. In the event of a yes vote, the president would be asked to submit legislation to Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state.[74]

Government funding for a fifth referendum

On January 15, 2014, the United States House of Representatives approved .5 million in funding to hold a referendum. This referendum can be held at any time as there is no deadline by which the funds have to be used.[75] The United States Senate then passed the bill which was signed into law on January 17, 2014, by Barack Obama, then President of the United States.[76]

2017 referendum

Puerto Rican status referendum, 2017
June 11, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-06-11)
LocationPuerto RicoVoting systemPluralityResults
Independence/Free Association
Current Territorial Status

The previous plebiscites provided voters with three options: statehood, free association, and independence. The Puerto Rican status referendum of 2017 originally offered two options: Statehood and Independence/Free Association; however, a "current territorial status" was added before the referendum took place. The referendum was held on June 11, 2017, with an overwhelming majority of voters supporting statehood at 97.16%; however, with a voter turnout of 22.99%, it was a historical low. If the majority voted for Independence/Free Association, a second vote would have been held to determine the preference: full independence as a nation or associated free state status with independence but with a "free and voluntary political association" between Puerto Rico and the United States. The specifics of the association agreement[77] would be detailed in the Compact of Free Association that would be negotiated between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. That document might cover topics such as the role of the U.S. military in Puerto Rico, the use of the U.S. currency, free trade between the two entities, and whether Puerto Ricans would be U.S. citizens.[78]

Former Governor Ricardo Rosselló was strongly in favor of statehood to help develop the economy and help to "solve our 500-year-old colonial dilemma ... Colonialism is not an option ... It's a civil rights issue ... 3.5 million citizens seeking an absolute democracy".[79] Benefits of statehood include an additional billion per year in federal funds, the right to vote in presidential elections, higher Social Security and Medicare benefits, and a right for its government agencies and municipalities to file for bankruptcy. The latter is currently prohibited.[80]

At approximately the same time as the referendum, Puerto Rico's legislators are also expected to vote on a bill that would allow the Governor to draft a state constitution and hold elections to choose senators and representatives to the United States Congress. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum or the bill on drafting a constitution, action by Congress would be necessary to implement changes to the status of Puerto Rico under the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution.[80]

If the majority of Puerto Ricans were to choose the Free Association option—and 33% voted for it in 2012—and if it were granted by the U.S. Congress, Puerto Rico would become a Free Associated State, a virtually independent nation. It would have a political and economical treaty of association with the U.S. that would stipulate all delegated agreements. This could give Puerto Rico a similar status to Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau, countries which currently have a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Those Free Associated States use the American dollar, receive some financial support and the promise of military defense if they refuse military access to any other country. Their citizens are allowed to work in the U.S. and serve in its military.[77]

On June 11, 500,000 Puerto Ricans voted for statehood, 7,600 voted for independence, and 6,700 voted for status quo.[81]

2020 referendum

2020 Puerto Rican status referendum
November 3, 2020 (2020-11-03)
LocationPuerto Rico, CaribbeanReporting
as of Dec. 31, 8:00pm AST (UTC−04:00)Website[1]"Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the Union as a State?"
Yes (▲)
No (⬤)
Main article: 2020 Puerto Rican status referendum

A referendum of the status of Puerto Rico was held on November 3, 2020, concurrently with the general election. It was announced by Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced on May 16, 2020. This was the sixth referendum held on the status of Puerto Rico, with the previous one having taken place in 2017. This was the first[citation needed] referendum with a simple yes-or-no question, with voters having the option of voting for or against becoming a U.S. state.

The referendum was non-binding, as the power to grant statehood lies with the US Congress. The party platforms of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have affirmed for decades Puerto Rico's right to self-determination and to be admitted as a state, at least in theory, but individual Republican legislators have been more skeptical.

According to Senate Bill 1467, which placed the referendum on the ballot, voting "No" on the referendum would mean that a seven-member commission would be appointed to negotiate with the federal government for the free association or independence of Puerto Rico.[82][83]

Statehood won the referendum 52.52%–47.48%.[84]


Flag of Guam

Guam (formally the Territory of Guam) is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States. Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Guam is one of five American territories with an established civilian government.[85][86]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a significant movement in favor of this U.S. territory becoming a commonwealth, which would give it a level of self-government similar to Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. However, the federal government rejected the version of a commonwealth that the government of Guam proposed, because its clauses were incompatible with the Territorial Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2) of the U.S. Constitution. Other movements advocate U.S. statehood for Guam, union with the state of Hawaii, or union with the Northern Mariana Islands as a single territory, or independence.[87]

In a 1982 plebiscite, voters indicated interest in seeking commonwealth status. The island has been considering another non-binding plebiscite on decolonization since 1998. Governor Eddie Baza Calvo intended to include one during the island's November 2016 elections but it was delayed again.[88]

A Commission on Decolonization was established in 1997 to educate the people of Guam about the various political status options in its relationship with the U.S.: statehood, free association and independence. The group was dormant for some years. In 2013, the commission began seeking funding to start a public education campaign. There were few subsequent developments until late 2016. In early December 2016, the Commission scheduled a series of education sessions in various villages about the current status of Guam's relationship with the U.S. and the self-determination options that might be considered.[88] The commission's current Executive Director is Edward Alvarez and there are ten members. The group is also expected to release position papers on independence and statehood but the contents have not yet been completed.[87]

Guam has been occupied for over 450 years by the Spanish, the Japanese, and the United States. In 2016, Governor Eddie Calvo planned a decolonization referendum that the indigenous Chamorro people of Guam would solely participate in, in which the three options would be given, including statehood, independence, and free association. However, this referendum for the Chamorro people was struck down by a federal judge on the grounds of racial discrimination. In the wake of this ruling, Governor Calvo has suggested that two ballots be held: one for the Chamorro People and one for eligible U.S. citizens who are non-indigenous residents of Guam. A reunification referendum in Guam and its neighbor, the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. Commonwealth) has been proposed.[89][90] A 2016 poll conducted by the University of Guam showed a majority supporting statehood when respondents were asked what political status they supported for Guam.[91]

United Nations support

The United Nations is in favor of greater self-determination for Guam and other such territories. The UN's Special Committee on Decolonization has agreed to endorse the governor's education plan. The commission's May 2016 report says, "With academics from the University of Guam, [the Commission] was working to create and approve educational materials. The Office of the Governor was collaborating closely with the Commission" in developing educational materials for the public.[92]

The United States Department of the Interior had approved a 0,000 grant for decolonization education, Edward Alvarez told the United Nations Pacific Regional Seminar in May 2016. "We are hopeful that this might indicate a shift in [United States] policy to its Non-Self-Governing Territories such as Guam, where they will be more willing to engage in discussions about our future and offer true support to help push us towards true self-governances and self-determination."[93]

Other territories

The U.S. Indian Territory attempted statehood in 1905; Citizens of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory proposed to create the State of Sequoyah as a means to retain control of their lands and resources. The constitutional convention was held on August 21, 1905, in Muskogee, and the proposed constitution was overwhelmingly approved by the territory's residents, with 56,279 votes for the constitution and petition to Congress and 9,073 votes against.[94] Congress, however, did not support statehood for Sequoyah, and the Indian Territory was annexed into Oklahoma in 1907.

Sequoyah constitutional referendum, 1905
November 7, 1905; 116 years ago (1905-11-07)
LocationIndian TerritoryVoting systemPluralityResults
Despite majority favoring statehood, the initiative was denied by the United States Congress.

The U.S. Virgin Islands explored the possibility of statehood in 1984,[95] and most recently in a 1993 referendum, while American Samoa explored the possibility of statehood in 2005[96] and 2017.[97]

  • Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • Flag of the United States Virgin Islands

  • Flag of American Samoa

By status changes of former U.S. territories


The Philippines has had small grassroots movements for U.S. statehood.[98] Originally part of the platform of the Progressive Party, then known as the Federalista Party, the party dropped it in 1907, which coincided with the name change.[99][100] In 1981, the presidential candidate for the Federal Party ran on a platform of Philippine Statehood.[101] As recently as 2004, the concept of the Philippines becoming a U.S. state has been part of a political platform in the Philippines.[102] Supporters of this movement include Filipinos who believe that the quality of life in the Philippines would be higher and that there would be less poverty there if the Philippines were an American state or territory. Supporters also include Filipinos that had fought as members of the United States Armed Forces in various wars during the Commonwealth period.[103][104][105]

The Philippine statehood movement had a significant impact during the early American colonial period.[100] It is no longer a mainstream movement,[106] but is a small social movement that gains interest and talk in that nation.[107]

By partition of or secession from current U.S. states

Main article: List of U.S. state partition proposals

There exist several proposals to divide states with regions that are politically or culturally divergent into smaller, more homogeneous, administratively efficient entities.[108] Splitting a state requires the approval of both its legislature and the U.S. Congress.[109]

Proposals of new states by partition include:

  • Arizona: The secession of Pima County in Arizona, with the hopes of neighboring counties Cochise, Yuma, and Santa Cruz joining to form a state.[110]
  • California and Oregon:
    • The secession of Northern California and Southern Oregon to form a state named Jefferson. In 2021, 5 counties voted to join Idaho.[111]
    • Various proposals of partition and secession in California, usually splitting the south half from the north or the urban coastline from the rest of the state.[112] In 2014, businessman Tim Draper collected signatures for a petition to split California into six different states,[113] but not enough to qualify for the ballot.[114] Draper attempted a follow-up petition to split California into three states in 2018.[115][116] However, the initiative to divide California into three states was ordered removed from the 2018 ballot by the California Supreme Court, as the California constitution does not allow this type of action to be undertaken as a ballot initiative.[117][118][119]
  • Colorado: In 2013, commissioners in Weld County, Colorado, announced a proposal to leave Colorado along with neighboring counties of Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma, and Kit Carson to form the state of North Colorado.[120] The counties in contention voted to begin plans for secession that November, with mixed results.[121]
  • Delaware, Maryland and Virginia: The secession of several counties from the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia, combining with some or all of the state of Delaware, forming a state named Delmarva.[122]
  • Florida: The secession of South Florida and the Greater Miami area to form a state named South Florida. The region has a population of over 7 million, comprising 41% of Florida's population.[123]
  • Illinois:
    • The secession of Cook County, which contains Chicago, from Illinois to form a separate state, proposed by residents of the more Republican Downstate Illinois to free it from the political influence of the heavily Democratic Chicago area.[124]
    • The secession of Southern Illinois from the rest of the state, south of Springfield, with the capital in Mt. Vernon.[citation needed]
  • Maryland: The secession of five counties on the western side of the state due to political differences with the more liberal central part of the state.[125]
  • Michigan: The secession of the geographically separate and culturally distinct Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the Lower Peninsula, as a state called Superior.
  • New York: Various proposals partitioning New York into separate states, most of which involve to some degree the separation of New York City from the rest of the state.[126] There have also been proposals to separate Long Island into a state, separate from the rest of the state.
  • Texas: Under the resolution by which the Republic of Texas was admitted to the Union and the state constitution, it has the right to divide itself into up to five states. There were a significant number of Texans who supported dividing the state in its early decades, called divisionists.[127][128][129] Current Texas politics and self-image make disrupting Texas' status as the largest state by land area in the contiguous United States unlikely.[130][131][132]
  • Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona: Admitting into the Union the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian Reservation in the United States. Reservations already enjoy a large degree of political autonomy, so making a state out of the Navajo Nation would not be as problematic as partitioning areas of other states.[133] The Navajo Nation is currently larger than ten U.S. States.[134] A Navajo state would also help issues of representation, since as of 2020, four Representatives and no Senators were Native American.
  • Washington: Dividing the state into Western Washington and Eastern Washington via the Cascade Mountains. Suggested names include East Washington, Lincoln, Cascadia, and more recently, Liberty.
  • The National Movement for the Establishment of a 49th State, founded by Oscar Brown Sr. and Bradley Cyrus, and active in Chicago between 1934 and 1937, had the aim of forming an African-American state in the South.[135][136]

Use internationally

Some countries, because of their cultural similarities and close alliances with the United States, are sometimes described as a 51st state. In other countries around the world, movements with various degrees of support and seriousness have proposed U.S. statehood.

North America


Main article: Annexation movements of Canada

In Canada, "the 51st state" is a phrase generally used in such a way as to imply that if a certain political course is taken, Canada's destiny will be as little more than a part of the United States. Examples include the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement in 1988, the debate over the creation of a common defense perimeter, and as a potential consequence of not adopting proposals intended to resolve the issue of Quebec sovereignty, the Charlottetown Accord in 1992 and the Clarity Act in 1999.

The phrase is usually used in local political debates, in polemic writing or in private conversations. It is rarely used by politicians themselves in a public context, although at certain times in Canadian history political parties have used other similarly loaded imagery. In the 1988 federal election, the Liberals asserted that the proposed Free Trade Agreement amounted to an American takeover of Canada[137]—notably, the party ran an ad in which Progressive Conservative (PC) strategists, upon the adoption of the agreement, slowly erased the Canada-U.S. border from a desktop map of North America.[138] Within days, however, the PCs responded with an ad which featured the border being drawn back on with a permanent marker, as an announcer intoned "Here's where we draw the line."[139]

The implication has historical basis and dates to the breakup of British America during the American Revolution. The colonies that had confederated to form the United States invaded Canada (at the time a term referring specifically to the modern-day provinces of Québec and Ontario, which had only been in British hands since 1763) several times, specifically the invasion of Quebec in 1775 and 1778–1782. The first invasion occurred in 1775–1776 mainly across the Canadian side of the Lake Champlain and St. Lawrence River valleys, under the assumption that French-speaking Canadians' presumed hostility towards British colonial rule combined with the Franco-American alliance would make them natural allies to the American cause; the Continental Army successfully recruited two Canadian regiments for the invasion. That invasion's failure forced the members of those regiments into exile, and they settled mostly in upstate New York. However, the Continental Army was more successful in the Western theater in lands north of the Ohio Valley and south of the Great Lakes region, both of which were part of Canada. The Articles of Confederation, written during the Revolution, included a provision for Canada to join the United States, should they ever decide to do so, without needing to seek U.S. permission as other states would.[140] At the end of the Revolution, the U.S. took portions of Canadian territory of what is now present day Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota in accordance to the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The U.S. again invaded Canada during the War of 1812, but this effort was made more difficult due to the wide use of ill-equipped state militias and owing to the large number of Loyalists that had fled to what is now Ontario and still resisted joining the republic. The Hunter Patriots in the 1830s and the Fenian raids after the American Civil War were private attacks on Canada from the U.S.[141] Several U.S. politicians in the 19th century also spoke in favor of annexing Canada,[142] as did Canadian politician William Lyon Mackenzie, who set up a rogue Republic of Canada on a small island near the U.S. border during the Upper Canada Rebellion.

In the United States, the term "the 51st state" when applied to Canada can serve to highlight the similarities and close relationship between the United States and Canada. Sometimes the term is used disparagingly, intended to deride Canada as an unimportant neighbor.


In the late 1940s, during the last days of the Dominion of Newfoundland (at the time a dominion-dependency in the Commonwealth and independent of Canada), there was mainstream support, although not majority, for Newfoundland to form an economic union with the United States, thanks to the efforts of the Economic Union Party and significant U.S. investment in Newfoundland stemming from the U.S.-British alliance in World War II. The movement ultimately failed when, in a 1948 referendum, voters narrowly chose to confederate with Canada (the Economic Union Party supported an independent "responsible government" that they would then push toward their goals).[143]


In the 1989 Quebec general election, the political party Parti 51 ran 11 candidates on a platform of Quebec seceding from Canada to join the United States (with its leader, André Perron, claiming Quebec could not survive as an independent nation).[144] The party attracted just 3,846 votes across the province, 0.11% of the total votes cast.[145] In comparison, the principal party in favor of Quebec sovereignty in that election, the PQ, got 40.16%.

Western Canada

In 1980 two members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, both elected as members of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan (and one, Dick Collver, its former leader), crossed the floor to form the Unionest Party, a provincial party in Saskatchewan which advocated that the four provinces of Western Canada should join the United States. The name was a contraction of "best union." The party soon folded.

American geopolitics expert Peter Zeihan argued in his book The Accidental Superpower that the Canadian province of Alberta would benefit from joining the United States as the 51st state.[146] There is growing support for Alberta separatism resulting from federal government policies which are believed to be harming the province's ability to build pipelines for the province's oil and gas industry and federal equalization payments.[147] In a September 2018 poll, 25% of Albertans believed they would be better off separating from Canada and 62% believed they are not getting enough from confederation.[148]


In 1847–48, with the United States occupying Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican–American War, there was talk in Congress of annexing the entirety of Mexico. The result was the Mexican Cession through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, named for the town in which the treaty was signed, in which the U.S. annexed over 40% of Mexico. The Mexican Cession consisted of territory that became the states of California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, the western half of New Mexico, the western quarter of Colorado, and the southwest corner of Wyoming. The United States would later purchase additional Mexican territory in the Gadsden Purchase in 1854. In 1848, a bill was debated in Congress that would have annexed the Republic of Yucatán, but a vote failed to take place.[149]

Central America

Due to geographical proximity of the Central American countries to the U.S., which has powerful military, economic, and political influences, there were several movements and proposals by the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries to annex some or all of the Central American republics (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras with the formerly British-ruled Bay Islands, Nicaragua, Panama which had the U.S.-ruled Canal Zone territory from 1903 to 1979, and Belize, which is a constitutional monarchy and was known as British Honduras until 1981). However, the U.S. never acted on these proposals from some U.S. politicians; some of which were never delivered or considered seriously. In 2001, El Salvador adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency, while Panama has used it for decades due to its ties to the Canal Zone.


In 1854 the Ostend Manifesto was written, outlining the rationale for the U.S. to purchase Cuba from Spain, implying taking the island by force if Spain refused. Once the document became published, many northern states denounced the document.

In 1859, Senator John Slidell introduced a bill to purchase Cuba from Spain.[150][151]

Cuba, like many Spanish territories, wanted to break free from Spain. A pro-independence movement in Cuba was supported by the U.S., and Cuban guerrilla leaders wanted annexation to the United States, but Cuban revolutionary leader José Martí called for Cuban nationhood. When the U.S. battleship Maine sank in Havana Harbor, the U.S. blamed Spain and the Spanish–American War broke out in 1898. After the U.S. won, Spain relinquished claim of sovereignty over territories, including Cuba. The U.S. administered Cuba as a protectorate until 1902. Several decades later in 1959, the Cuban government of U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro who subsequently installed a Marxist–Leninist government. After Castro nationalized private properties that were mostly owned by American companies, the U.S. refused to trade with Cuba, Cuba allied with the Soviet Union who imported Cuban sugar, Cuba's main export. The government installed by Fidel Castro has been in power ever since. In 2016, the U.S. eased trade and travel restrictions against Cuba that had been put in place as a consequence of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.[152]


In 1898, one or more news outlets in the Caribbean noted growing sentiments of resentment of British rule in Dominica, including the system of administration over the country. These publications attempted to gauge sentiments of annexation to the United States as a way to change this system of administration.[153]

Dominican Republic

On June 30, 1870, the United States Senate took a vote on an annexation treaty with the Dominican Republic, but it failed to proceed.[154]


Main article: Proposals for the United States to purchase Greenland

During World War II, when Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany, the United States briefly controlled Greenland for battlefields[clarification needed] and protection. In 1946, the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for 0 million (


.2 billion today) but Denmark refused to sell it.[155][156] Several politicians, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, and others, have in recent years argued that Greenland could hypothetically be in a better financial situation as a part of the United States; for instance this was mentioned by Professor Gudmundur Alfredsson at the University of Akureyri, Iceland in 2014.[157][158] One possible reason for U.S. interest in Greenland is the vast natural resources of the island.[159] According to WikiLeaks, the U.S. appears to be highly interested in investing in the resource base of the island and in tapping the expected vast amount of hydrocarbons off the Greenlandic coast.[160]


Time columnist Mark Thompson suggested that Haiti had effectively become the 51st state after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, with the widespread destruction prompting a quick and extensive response from the United States, even so far as the stationing of the U.S. military in Haitian air and sea ports to facilitate foreign aid.[161]


Hong Kong

The idea of admission to the United States was discussed among some netizens based on Hong Kong's mature common law system, long tradition of liberalism and vibrant civil society making it a global financial hub very much similar to London or New York.[162][163][164][165][166] alongside proposals of becoming independent (within or outside the Commonwealth, as a republic or a Commonwealth realm),[167] rejoining the Commonwealth,[168] confederation with Canada as the eleventh province or the fourth territory (with reference to Ken McGoogan's proposal regarding Scotland),[169] returning to British rule as a dependent territory,[170] joining the Republic of China (Taiwan),[171] or acceding to other federations as a number of city-states.

Israel and Palestinian territories

Several websites assert that the State of Israel is the 51st state due to the annual funding and defense support it receives from the United States. An example of this concept can be found in 2003 when Martine Rothblatt published a book called Two Stars for Peace that argued for the addition of Israel and its Palestinian territories as the 51st and 52nd states in the Union. The American State of Canaan, is a book published by Prof. Alfred de Grazia, political science and sociologist, in March 2009, proposing the creation of the 51st and 52nd states from Israel and its Palestinian territories.[172]


A resident of Seattle, Washington, through a homemade sign, facetiously declares that the Republic of Iraq is the 51st U.S. state.

Several publications suggested that the Iraq War was a neocolonialist war to make the Republic of Iraq into the 51st U.S. state, though such statements are usually made in a facetious manner, as a tongue-in-cheek statement.[173][174][175][176][177]


In Article 3 of the Treaty of San Francisco between the Allied Powers and Japan, which came into force in April 1952, the U.S. put the outlying islands of the Ryukyus, including the island of Okinawa—home to over 1 million Okinawans related to the Japanese—and the Bonin Islands, the Volcano Islands, and Iwo Jima into U.S. trusteeship.[178] All these trusteeships were slowly returned to Japanese rule. Okinawa was returned on May 15, 1972, but the U.S. stations troops in the island's bases as a defense for Japan.


There have been attempts to make the Philippines a state of the United States even after its independence in 1946. In 1971, a politician claimed that 1.25 million Filipinos support the cause.

During the Philippine presidential elections of 1981, 4% of the population voted for Bartolome Cabangbang, a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa from Cebu. He ran under the Federal Party which advocated for a plebiscite to convert the Philippines into the 51st US state.[179]

No politician in the Philippines is currently advocating for US statehood. Many election candidates who are in favor of the proposal have been declared as "nuisance candidates" by the Philippine government's election commission.[180]


Further information: Political status of Taiwan, Taiwan independence movement, and Taiwan–United States relations

A poll in 2003 among Taiwanese residents aged between 13 and 22 found that, when given the options of either becoming a province of the People's Republic of China or a state within the U.S., 55% of the respondents preferred statehood while 36% chose joining China.[181] A group called Taiwan Civil Government, established in Taipei in 2008, claims that the island of Taiwan and other minor islands are a territory of the United States.[182]



Albania has often been called the 51st state for its perceived strongly pro-American positions, mainly because of the United States' policies towards it.[183] In reference to President George W. Bush's 2007 European tour, Edi Rama, Tirana's mayor and leader of the opposition Socialists, said: "Albania is for sure the most pro-American country in Europe, maybe even in the world ... Nowhere else can you find such respect and hospitality for the President of the United States. Even in Michigan, he wouldn't be as welcome." At the time of ex-Secretary of State James Baker's visit in 1992, there was even a move to hold a referendum declaring the country as the 51st American state.[184][185] In addition to Albania, Kosovo (which is predominately Albanian) is seen as a 51st state due to the heavy presence and influence of the United States. The U.S. has had troops and the largest base outside U.S. territory, Camp Bondsteel, in the territory since 1999.

Azores (Portugal)

There was a movement among the Azores archipelago to break away from Portugal and join the United States in the late 19th century through the early 20th century. Feeling that they were being unfairly exploited by the authorities on the mainland, this movement believed the best solution was to have the United States govern them. This movement was fueled by a large number of immigrants to the United States, particularly to the New England states, for labor and educational reasons. Also establishing a close social connection between the Azores and the United States were American whaling companies. New England and New York-based whaling ships frequently used the Azores as an overseas base of operations and employed large number of the local population to man the ships. The movement to have the United States annex the Azores reached its climax during World War I when the United States Navy established a base of operations in the Azores. Sensing that the Americans were doing more to defend the Azores from the Germans than the Portuguese Government was, particularly during the raid of SM U-155 on the Azores in 1917, many local politicians openly demanded a change. American Naval officers and politicians, notably Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, dismissed any idea of the United States taking control.[citation needed]

Cartagena (Spain)

In 1873, the leader of the Canton of Cartagena, Roque Barcia, requested that Cartagena become part of the United States in a letter to Ulysses S. Grant, the then president of the country. The Canton of Cartagena had emerged on the same year as a revolt against the First Spanish Republic. Barcia's ultimate goal was to make Cartagena a state of the United States. The United States Government never replied.[186]


In 1989, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed that Denmark becomes the 51st state every Fourth of July, because Danish citizens in and around Aalborg celebrate the American independence day.[187]


Poland has historically been staunchly pro-American, dating back to General Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski's involvement in the American Revolution. This pro-American stance was reinforced following favorable American intervention in World War I (leading to the creation of an independent Poland) and the Cold War (culminating in a Polish state independent of Soviet influence). Poland contributed a large force to the "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq. A quote referring to Poland as "the 51st state" has been attributed to James Pavitt, then Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director for Operations, especially in connection to extraordinary rendition.[188]

Sicily (Italy)

The Party of Reconstruction in Sicily, which claimed 40,000 members in 1944, campaigned for Sicily to be admitted as a U.S. state.[189] This party was one of several Sicilian separatist movements active after the downfall of Italian Fascism. Sicilians felt neglected or underrepresented by the Italian government after the annexation of 1861 that ended the rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies based in Naples.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has sometimes been called the 51st state due to the "Special Relationship" between the two countries, particularly since the close cooperation between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II, and more recently continued during the premierships of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.[190]

In a December 29, 2011 column in The Times, David Aaronovitch said in jest that the UK should consider joining the United States, as the British population cannot accept union with Europe and the UK would inevitably decline on its own. He also made an alternative case that England, Scotland, and Wales should be three separate states, with Northern Ireland joining the Republic of Ireland and becoming an all-Ireland state.[191]

The UK band New Model Army released the song "51st State" in 1986. The lyrics facetiously refers to the "Star Spangled Union Jack" and describes the UK as culturally and politically dominated by the United States.[192] The song "Heartland" by The The from the same year ends with the refrain "This is the 51st state of the U.S.A."



In Australia, the term '51st state' is used as a disparagement of a perceived invasion of American cultural or political influence.[193]

New Zealand

In 2010 there was an attempt to register a 51st State Party with the New Zealand Electoral Commission. The party advocates New Zealand becoming the 51st state of the United States of America. The party's secretary is Paulus Telfer, a former Christchurch mayoral candidate.[194][195] On February 5, 2010, the party applied to register a logo with the Electoral Commission.[194] The logo—a U.S. flag with 51 stars—was rejected by the Electoral Commission on the grounds that it was likely to cause confusion or mislead electors.[196] As of 2014[update], the party remains unregistered and cannot appear on a ballot.

See also

  • Associated state
  • Hawaii Admission Act, the last law to admit a new US state (1959)
  • List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
  • Manifest destiny
  • North American Union
  • United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories


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External links

  • "Will Puerto Rico Finally Become Our 51st State?"
  • Lammle, Rob (June 23, 2014). "The U.S. Map with Only 38 States". Mental Floss.
  • Al Jazeera interview with advocates in Guam sharing differing opinions on what Guam's status should be
  • History of efforts to reunify the Mariana Islands—consisting of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and home to the Chamorro people
  • The Case for Dinétah—A proposal for the Navajo Nation to become a state
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