Hawaii, United States – Lonely Planet Travel Video
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Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states, and is the only state made up entirely of islands. It is located on an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. The most recent census estimate puts the state’s population at 1,283,388.
The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight “main islands” are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is by far the largest, and is often called the “Big Island” or “Big Isle” to avoid confusion with the state as a whole. This archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
In standard American English, Hawaii is generally pronounced /həˈwaɪ.iː/. In the Hawaiian language, it is generally pronounced [həˈwɐiʔi] or [həˈvɐiʔi].
There are several areas in Hawaii under the control and protection of the National Park Service. Two areas are designated as national parks: Haleakala National Park near Kula, Maui, includes Haleakalā, the dormant volcano that formed east Maui; and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the southeast region of the island of Hawaii, which includes the active volcano Kīlauea and its various rift zones.
There are three designated national historical parks: Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi, the site of a former colony for Hansen’s disease patients; Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii; and Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park in Hōnaunau on the island of Hawaii, the site of an ancient Hawaiian place of refuge. Other areas under the control of the National Park Service include Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on the island of Hawaii 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, under the 1906 Antiquities Act. 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, larger than all of America’s National Parks combined.
As of 2005, Hawaii has an estimated population of 1,275,194, which is an increase of 13,070, or 1.0%, from the prior year and an increase of 63,657, or 5.3%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 48,111 people (that is 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 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 13,112 people. The center of population of Hawaii is located directly between the two islands of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi.
Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.3 million due to military presence and tourists. Oʻahu, which is nicknamed “The Gathering Place”, is the most populous island (and the one with the highest population density), with a resident population of just under one million in 597 square miles (1,546 km2), about 1,650 people per square mile (for comparison, New Jersey, which has 8,717,925 people in 7,417 square miles (19,210 km2) is the most-densely populated state with 1,134 people per square mile.) Hawaii’s 1,275,194 people, spread over 6,423 square miles (including many unpopulated islands) results in an average population density of 188.6 persons per square mile, which makes Hawaii less densely populated than states like Ohio and Illinois.
The average projected lifespan of those born in Hawaii in the year 2000 is 79.8 years (77.1 years if male, 82.5 if female), longer than the residents of any other state. U.S. military personnel make up approximately 1.3% of the total population in the islands.
Religion as distributed among the Hawaiian population are as follows:
- Christianity: 351,000 (28.9%)
- Buddhism: 110,000 (9%)
- Judaism: 10,000 (0.8%)
- Other: 750,000 (61.1%)
A recent Gallup poll found religion was distributed among Hawaiians in this way, excluding those of other non-Christian religions and those who had “no opinion”:
- Christianity: 60.6% (37.8% Protestant/Other Christian, 22.8% Roman Catholic)
- Mormonism: 3.3%
- Judaism: 0.7%
- None, Agnostic, Atheist: 21.0%
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 only as vestiges influencing modern Hawaiian society, there are reenactments of the ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences are strong enough to have affected the culture of the United States at large, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of luaus and hula.
- Customs and etiquette in Hawaiʻi
- East Hawaii Cultural Center
- Folklore in Hawaii
- Hawaiian mythology
- Hilo Art Museum
- List of Hawaiian state parks
- Index of Hawaii-related articles
- Literature in Hawaiʻi
- Music of Hawaiʻi
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Polynesian mythology
- Tourism of Hawaiʻi
Hawaii is also home to numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition. The state is also home to the Hawaii International Film Festival, the premier film festival for pacific rim cinema. Honolulu is also home to the state’s long running GLBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival.
Hawaii has four federal highways: H-1, H-2, H-3, and H-201, all located on Oʻahu and all part of the Interstate Highway System. All the highways have at least one end point at or near a current or former military installation. A system of state highways encircles each main island. Travel can be slow due to narrow winding roads on the coastlines.
Travel can be significantly congested during morning and evening commute times in and out of Honolulu, particularly on the leeward side. H1 was constructed after Honolulu was well established, and on/off ramps are diverted throughout the city. Honolulu’s public transit system, known as TheBus, was ranked number one in the country for 1994-1995 and again in 2000-2001 by the American Public Transportation Association.
Aviation is an important part of Hawaii’s transportation network, as most interisland travel takes place using commercial airlines. Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and go! use jets to travel between the larger commercial airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona, and Hilo, while Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight service between the islands.
A ferry linked to TheBus began service in September 2007 known as TheBoat. Fare for TheBoat is $2.00, and ran from Barber’s Point to Aloha Tower Marketplace daily. But on July 1, 2009, TheBoat service was discontinued. Norwegian Cruise Lines provides American-flagged passenger cruise service between the islands.
The Hawaii Superferry was scheduled to begin in the second half of 2007 between Oʻahu and other major islands. Legal issues over environmental impact statements and protests from residents of Maui and Kauaʻi temporarily delayed the implementation of this service, but service to Maui started in December 2007. On March 17, 2009, a court ruling prevented the Superferry to continue operations thus shutting it down. There is a Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project (HEVDP).
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