Hawaii County, Hawaii

Hawaiʻi County is a county in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is coterminous with the Island of Hawaiʻi, often called the "Big Island" to distinguish it from the state as a whole. As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County (see Hawaii Counties). The Hilo Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Hawaiʻi County. Hawaiʻi County has a mayor-council form of government. Hawaii County is the largest county in the state in terms of geography.

The mayor of Hawaii County is Harry Kim, who took office in 2016. Legislative authority is vested in a nine-member Hawaii County Council.

Hawaii County is one of seven counties in the United States to share the same name as the state they are in (the other six are Arkansas County, Idaho County, Iowa County, New York County, Oklahoma County, and Utah County).[1]

Hawaii County
W. H. Shipman House
Official seal of Hawaii County

Location within the U.S. state of Hawaii
Location within the U.S. state of Hawaii
Map of the United States highlighting Hawaii

Hawaii's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 19°35′N 155°30′W / 19.58°N 155.5°W
Country United States
State Hawaii
Largest cityHilo
 • Total5,086.70 sq mi (13,174.5 km2)
 • Land4,028.02 sq mi (10,432.5 km2)
 • Water1,058.69 sq mi (2,742.0 km2)  ?%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density46/sq mi (17.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−10 (Hawaii–Aleutian)
 • Summer (DST)HADT
Congressional district2nd


Hawaiʻi County has a total area of 5,086.70 square miles (13,174.5 km2); 4,028.02 square miles (10,432.5 km2) is land and 1,058.69 square miles (2,742.0 km2) is water[2] (mostly all off the ocean shoreline but counted in the total area by the U.S. Census Bureau). The county's land area comprises 62.7 percent of the state's land area. It is the highest percentage by any county in the United States. (Delaware's Sussex County comes in second at 48.0 percent, while Rhode Island's Providence County is third at 39.55 percent.)

Major Highways

Adjacent county


Lehua blossoms hawaii 01
Lehua blossoms (ʻōhiʻa lehua), Hawaiʻi
Green turtles at an old lava flow and Hawaiian temple at background
Green turtle on an old lava flow and Hawaiian temple at background in Kona

As of 2010, the island had a resident population of 185,079.[3] There were 64,382 households in the county. The population density was 17.7/km² (45.9/mi²). There were 82,324 housing units at an average density of 8/km² (20/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 34.5% White, 0.7% African American, 22.6% Asian, 12.4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 29.2% from two or more races; 11.8% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. The largest ancestry groups were:

  • 9.8% Japanese
  • 9.6% German
  • 8.6% Filipino
  • 8.5% Native Hawaiian
  • 8.3% Portuguese
  • 6.9% Irish
  • 5.7% English
  • 5.1% Puerto Rican
  • 3.2% Mexican
  • 2.5% French
  • 2.2% Italian
  • 1.9% Spanish
  • 1.7% Scottish
  • 1.5% Scotch-Irish
  • 1.5% Swedish
  • 1.1% Polish
  • 1.1% Dutch
  • 1.0% Norwegian

Government and infrastructure

Hawaii County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic Others
2016 26.98% 17,501 63.61% 41,259 9.41% 6,107
2012 23.25% 14,753 74.42% 47,224 2.33% 1,477
2008 22.22% 14,866 75.94% 50,819 1.84% 1,231
2004 38.18% 22,032 60.86% 35,116 0.96% 554
2000 33.52% 17,050 56.37% 28,670 10.10% 5,140
1996 27.60% 13,516 55.66% 27,262 16.74% 8,199
1992 30.36% 15,460 50.52% 25,725 19.11% 9,731
1988 41.00% 17,125 57.68% 24,091 1.32% 552
1984 52.90% 20,707 45.64% 17,866 1.46% 570
1980 39.73% 14,247 49.16% 17,630 11.11% 3,984
1976 48.37% 15,366 50.24% 15,960 1.38% 439
1972 59.09% 16,832 40.91% 11,652
1968 37.41% 9,625 61.49% 15,819 1.10% 283
1964 19.87% 4,962 80.13% 20,011
1960 51.46% 12,251 48.54% 11,557

County government

Executive authority is vested in the mayor of Hawaii County, who is elected for a four-year term. Since 2004, the election by the voters has been on a nonpartisan basis. In 2016, Harry Kim was elected mayor, succeeding Billy Kenoi, who had served a two-term limit.[5] Legislative authority is vested in a nine-member County Council. Each member represents a geographical region of the island, which closely correlates to one of the nine tax map districts of Hawaiʻi County. Members of the County Council are elected on a nonpartisan basis to two-year terms, with the latest election occurring in November 2016. As of December 2016, Hawaii County Council has a female supermajority for the first time, with six women and three men.[6]

Administrative districts were originally based on the traditional land divisions called Moku of Ancient Hawaii. Some more heavily populated districts have since been split into North and South districts to make them more comparable on a population basis.

The number following each district is the Tax Map Key (TMK) number, used to locate state property information. They are assigned in a counter-clockwise order beginning on the eastern side of the island.[7]

Nr. District Area
moku Map
1 Puna 499.45 31335 Puna District subdivision of Hawaii County
2 South Hilo 394.38 47386 Hilo
3 North Hilo 370.65 1720 Hilo
4 Hamakua 580.50 6108 Hāmākua
5 North Kohala 132.92 6038 Kohala
6 South Kohala 351.72 13131 Kohala
7 North Kona 489.01 28543 Kona
8 South Kona 335.38 8589 Kona
9 Kaʻū 922.22 5827 Kaʻū
  Hawaiʻi County 4028.02 148677 6 moku

County council districts do not directly match the property tax districts because of the variation in the population density of voters in urban areas to rural areas; Hilo & Kailua (Kailua-Kona) towns are densely populated areas, while other districts such as Kaʻū, Puna, Hāmakua, and North & South Kohala are more sparsely populated.[8]

Several government functions are administered at the county level that are at the state or municipal level in other states. For example, the county has its own office of liquor control.[9]

State government

Hawaii Department of Public Safety previously operated the Kulani Correctional Facility in Hawaii County, on the Island of Hawaii.[10] In 2009, the Hawaii Department of Public Safety announced that Kulani Correctional Facility would close.[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2018200,983[12]8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
Historical Population 1900-1990[14]

Census-designated places

Other communities

National protected areas


Top employers

According to the County's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Hawaii 8,115
2 Hawaii County 2,745
3 United States Government 1,364
4 Hilton Waikoloa Village 984
5 Wal-Mart 852
6 KTA Super Stores 800
7 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 685
8 The Fairmont Orchid 577
9 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai 562
10 Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel 487

Sister cities

Hawaii County has 10 sisters:[16]


  1. ^ Joseph Nathan Kane; Charles Curry Aiken (2005). The American Counties: Origins of County Names, Dates of Creation, and Population Data, 1950-2000. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5036-1.
  2. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Archived from the original on 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2014-06-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  5. ^ "Office of the Mayor". official web site. County of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Hawaii County: 2000
  8. ^ "Hawaiʻi County Council". official web site. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  9. ^ "Office of Liquor Control". Hawaii County web site. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  10. ^ "Kulani Correctional Facility." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "Closure of Kulani Saves $2.8M Annually; Facility to Help At-Risk Youth." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. July 2009. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  12. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Archived from the original on February 8, 2006. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  14. ^ Hawaii Historical Population 1900-1990
  15. ^ County of Hawaii CAFR Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ State of Hawaii’s Sister States/Cities A Report to the Hawaii State Legislature 2006
  17. ^ "Hula and economy bind Hawaii, Shibukawa sister cities". Big Island Video News. Retrieved 2015-05-02.

External links

Coordinates: 19°35′N 155°30′W / 19.583°N 155.500°W

Discovery Harbour, Hawaii

Discovery Harbour is an unincorporated community and census-designated place on the island of Hawaii in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. Its population was 949 as of the 2010 census. The community is located near the island's southern tip, south of Hawaii Route 11.

Hale Halawai O Holualoa

Hale Halawai O Holualoa is the former name of a historic church located in the Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawi, Hawaii

Hāwī (Hawaiian pronunciation: [həˈvi]) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. The population was 1081 at the 2010 United States Census.

Hāwī is situated to the west of the community of Kapaau. Together they comprise the most densely populated region in the district of North Kohala. Historically this part of Kohala is significant as the birthplace of Kamehameha I and the location of the Moʻokini heiau in the Kohala Historical Sites State Monument. The two communities were once busy commercial centers during the operation of the Kohala Sugar plantation.

Hāwī is the turnaround point for the Ironman World Championship Triathlon. It is the northernmost point on the bicycle leg, where athletes return to the finish line at Kamakahonu in Kailua-Kona.

Huliheʻe Palace

The Huliheʻe Palace is located in historic Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi, on Ali'i Drive. The former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty, it was converted to a museum run by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi, showcasing furniture and artifacts. It is located at 75–5718 Aliʻi Drive, Kailua-Kona.

Hāʻena, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Hāʻena is an unincorporated community on the island of Hawaii in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. The community is located at a beach on the eastern side of the island, 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Hilo.

Imiola Church

ʻImiola Church is a historic wood structure in Waimea, on the Island of Hawaiʻi, coordinates 20°1′32″N 155°39′46″W.

Kailua, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Kailua is an unincorporated city (Census Designated Place) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census, up from 9,870 at the 2000 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from Kailua located on the windward side of Oʻahu island, and it is sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.

Kalaoa, Hawaii

Kalaoa is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 9,644 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,794 residents at the 2000 census.

Keaau, Hawaii

Keaau (also written as Keaʻau) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States located in the District of Puna. The population was 2,010 at the 2000 census. The population increased by 12.1% to 2,253 at the 2010 census.

Kealakekua, Hawaii

Kealakekua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 2,019 at the 2010 census, up from 1,645 at the 2000 census.

It was the subject of the 1933 popular song, "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii" by Bill Cogswell, Tommy Harrison and Johnny Noble, which became a Hawaiian music standard.

Keokea, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Kēōkea is an unincorporated populated place in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. It is located at 19°25′10″N 155°52′58″W, near the junction of Māmalahoa Highway (Route 11) and Keala o Keawe Road (Route 160), elevation 960 feet. Satellite imagery shows evidence of a humid climate with agriculture dominant around the settlement. Just to the north is the area of Hōnaunau. It was the name for the land division (ahupuaa) of ancient Hawaii that stretched from the shoreline to Mauna Loa owned by Mataio Kekūanāoa.The name is used for several places throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

A county park named Kēōkea is on the north coast of the Hawaiʻi Island, at 20°13′37″N 155°44′44″W. In the Hawaiian Language kē ō kea means "the sound of whitecaps", or "the white sand".

Kona District, Hawaii

Kona is a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi in the State of Hawaii, known for its Kona coffee and the location of the Ironman World Championship Triathlon. In the current system of administration of Hawaiʻi County, the moku of Kona is divided into North Kona District (Kona ‘Akau) and South Kona District (Kona Hema). The term "Kona" is sometimes used inaccurately to refer to its largest town, Kailua-Kona. Other towns in Kona include Kealakekua, Keauhou, Holualoa, Hōnaunau and Honalo.

Kona International Airport

Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole (IATA: KOA, ICAO: PHKO, FAA LID: KOA) is on the Island of Hawaiʻi, in Kalaoa CDP, Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The airport serves leeward, or Western Hawaiʻi island, including the town of Kailua-Kona and the resorts of the North Kona and South Kohala districts.

It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Kurtistown is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States, in the District of Puna. The population was 1,298 at the 2010 census, up from 1,157 at the 2000 census.

Mokuaikaua Church

Mokuaikaua Church, located on the "Big Island" of Hawaii, is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. The congregation dates to 1820 and the building was completed in 1837.

Nīnole, Hawaii

Nīnole (also spelled Hinole, Ninole, or Ninoli) is the name of two unincorporated communities on the island of Hawaiʻi in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. In the Hawaiian language Nīnole means "bending". Ninole also has the highest percentage of people of Italian descent in Hawaii.

Star of the Sea Painted Church

The Star of the Sea Painted Church in Kalapana, Hawai'i was built in 1927-1928 under the direction of the Belgian Catholic missionary priest Father Evarist Gielen, who painted the upper section of the church interior.

In 1990, the church was moved to its present location just ahead of an advancing lava flow. It is located on Highway 130 between mile marker 19 and 20, and is open to the public without charge seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Waikoloa Village is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 6,362 at the 2010 census, up from 4,806 at the 2000 census. The name Waikoloa is used by the local post office.

Waimea, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Waimea is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 7,028 at the 2000 census and 9,212 at the 2010 census. Since each U.S. state cannot have more than one post office of the same name, and there is a post office in Waimea, Kauai County, the official U.S. Post Office designation for Waimea is Kamuela, although this name is only used by the post office, not by locals or the local government. The name Waimea means reddish water.

Waimea is the center for ranching activities and paniolo culture. The Parker Ranch in and around Waimea is the largest privately owned cattle ranch in the United States, and the annual Fourth of July rodeo is a major event. The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, held annually in the first week of February, has recently become another major event of the town. In the center of town are the Isaacs Art Center, the Wishard Gallery, Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables, and the Gallery of Great Things, all featuring Hawaiian art.

Waimea is home to the headquarters of two astronomical observatories located on Mauna Kea, the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope. It is also headquarters of the International Lunar Observatory Association.Waimea also is the location of Hawaii Preparatory Academy, a private school.

Islands, municipalities, and communities of Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States
 State of Hawaii
Main islands
Sovereignty Movement


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