Jurisdiction Project


Hawai'i is an archipelago of about 137 islands and atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, furthest from any other body of land in the world (except for Easter Island). Hawaii was annexed to the United States of America in 1898 and attained statehood in 1959.

The Hawaiian Archipelago comprises eighteen islands and atolls extending across a distance of 1,500 miles (2,400 km). Of these, eight high islands are considered the "main islands" and are located at the southeastern end of the archipelago. These islands are, in order from the northwest to southeast, Niihau (Niʻihau), Kauai (Kauaʻi), Oahu (Oʻahu), Molokai (Molokaʻi), Lanai (Lānaʻi), Kahoolawe (Kahoʻolawe), Maui (Maui), and Hawaii (Hawaiʻi). Land: 16 641 sq. km; Sea: 2 157 985 sq. km; Coastline: 1 270 km. Highest Point: Mauna Kea 4 205 m. Note: According to the 1995 Guinness Book of Records (p. 147), "The world's tallest mountain measured from its submarine base (3,280 fathoms) in the Hawaiian Trough to its peak is Mauna Kea ...with a combined height of 33,480 ft., of which 13,796 ft. are above sea level." All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes arising from the sea floor through a vent described in geological theory as a hotspot.

Hawai'i is located in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean, some 2600 km from the mainland United States.

Latitude and Longitude:
21°18′41″N, 157°47′47″W

Time Zone:
GMT -10

Total Land Area:


Weather on all of the Hawaiian Islands is very consistent, with only minor changes in temperature throughout the year. This is due to year-round warm sea surface temperatures, which keep the overlying atmosphere warm as well. In practical terms, there are only 2 seasons: the summer months (called Kau in Hawaiian) that extend from May to October and the winter months (Ho'oilo) that run from November to April. The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85 degrees F. (29.4 C) while the average daytime winter temperature is 78 degrees (25.6 C). Temperatures at night are approximately 10 degrees F. lower. Snow, although not usually associated with tropics, falls at high elevations on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island in some winter months. Snow only rarely falls on Maui's Haleakala.

Natural Resources:
Rich fishing grounds, fertile soil. The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the wide range of environments to be found on high islands located in and near the tropics, has resulted in a vast array of endemic flora and fauna. Hawaii has more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else.


Total GDP:
2002 43,988,000,000.00 USD
2003 47,000,000,000.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:
2003 30,441.00 USD

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2002 1% 8% 91%

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2000 2.3% 8.5% 89.2%

External Aid/Remittances:

The succession of dominating industries throughout Hawaiian history includes : sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane, pineapple, military, tourism, and education. Since statehood was achieved in 1959, tourism has been the largest industry in Hawaii, contributing 24.3% of the Gross State Product (GSP) in 1997. New efforts are underway to diversify the economy. The total gross output for the state in 2003 was US$47 billion; per capita income for Hawaii residents was US$30,441.

Labour Force:
2003 618,300

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
2003 4.3%

Tourism, agriculture, fishing, finance, military, education (university). Industrial exports from Hawaii include food processing and apparel. These industries play a small role in the Hawaii economy, however, due to the considerable shipping distance to markets on the west coast of the United States and ports of Japan.

Niche Industry:
Tourism, agriculture, education (university), scientific research.



Imports and Exports:

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Number of Airports:
There are 9 commercial airports, 14 military or semi-private airports, and 5 heliports in Hawaii with dozens of flights to several major centres daily.

Number of Main Ports:



There are 6930.3 km or 4307.2 miles of road total in the State of Hawaii and 1 057 625 total registered vehicles in Hawaii. Car for hire, taxi, public transport, car rental, and other modes of transport are available.

There are several ferry services between the islands , ranging from cargo, human, and car ferries (known as the Super Ferry), as well as local tours and expeditions of the islands and atolls of the archipelago.

Other Forms of Transportation:

Economic Zones:

Energy Policy:
Until recently, Hawaii was the only state in the U.S. that attempted to control gasoline prices through a Gas Cap Law. The law was enacted during a period when oil profits in Hawaii in relation to the Mainland U.S. were under scrutiny, and sought to tie local gasoline prices to those of the Mainland. The law took effect in September 2005 amid price fluctuations caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Hawaii state legislature suspended the law in April 2006.

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)


Official Currency:
United States Dollar (USD)

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:

 Several mainland as well as island based banks have international connections, such as the Bank of Hawaii, which serves much of the Pacific islands.

Financial Services:

Outward and open. Government and private web sites on economy and tourism extensive

Public Ownership:
There are no strict regulations or restrictions on public ownership in Hawaii.

Land Use:
State Total: 4 112 388 (acres); Urban: 196 215; Conservation: 1 973 636; Agricultural: 1 932 429; Rural: 10 108.

There are about 4 400 farms in Hawaii contributing about 2 % of Hawaii’s GDP. Agricultural farmland covers about 40% of Hawaii with its main crops of sugarcane and pineapple. Animal husbandry is quite large, focusing mainly on cattle (both dairy and milk), pigs and chickens (primarily egg production). The main agricultural exports are nursery stock and flowers, coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, and sugar cane. Agricultural sales for 2002, according to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, were US$370.9 million from diversified agriculture, US$100.6 million from pineapple, and US$64.3 million from sugarcane.

Marine Activity:

Maritime claims: 12 nautical miles. Exclusive Economic zone: 200 nautical miles.

Marine Life:
The water around Hawaii is heavily used for shipping, cruises and ferry services.

Critical Issues:
Very high population density resulting on stress to the environment and animal habitat. High risk of natural disaster such as volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, and other deadly and damaging natural disasters. Supplying medical, educational, and other services to rural areas and outlying islands in the archipelago. More services and focus on rural and outlying island populations. More protection of wildlife, environment, and coastal areas as rising human population begins to encroach and develop on these areas.


Honolulu "Hawaii" is the authentic, traditional spelling of native writers of Hawaiian; "Hawaiʻi" is the modern, post-1950 Hawaiian-language spelling; "Hawaii" is the English-language spelling.

Political System:
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 and assisted by the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, both elected on the same ticket. The governor, in residence at Washington Place, is the only public official elected for the state government in a statewide race; all other administrators and judges are appointed by the governor. The lieutenant governor is concurrently the Secretary of State of Hawaii. Both the governor and lieutenant governor administer their duties from the Hawaii State Capitol. The governor and lieutenant governor oversee the major agencies and departments of the executive of which there are twenty. The two levels of government in Hawaii are state and county. There are four counties with mayors; City and County of Honolulu (the island of O‘ahu and the North West Hawaiian Islands excluding Mid Way Island), Hawaii County (Hawaii Island), Maui County (Islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, L_na‘i and Kaho‘olawe), and Kaua‘i County (Islands of Kaua‘I and Ni‘ihau). Counties perform most services usually assigned to cities and towns (fire protection, police, refuse collection, construction and maintenance of streets and other public works). There is only one school district which is administered by the State. The state is run by a bicameral system of legislatures; A 51 member House and a 25 member Senate. These bodies look after the state as a whole. As well, the state also elects two members to the House of Representatives and two members to the Senate in Washington D.C. The legislative branch consists of the Hawaii State Legislature — the twenty-five members of the Hawaii State Senate led by the President of the Senate and the fifty-one members of the Hawaii State House of Representatives led by the Speaker of the House. They also govern from the Hawaii State Capitol. The judicial branch is led by the highest state court, the Hawaii State Supreme Court, which uses Aliiolani Hale (Aliʻiōlani Hale) as its chambers. Lower courts are organized as the Hawaii State Judiciary.

Political Parties:
Major Parties: Democratic Party of Hawaii, Republican Party of Hawaii Minor Parties: Free Energy Party, Green Party of Hawaii, Libertarian Party of Hawaii, Natural Law Party of Hawaii, Hawaiian Independence Party. Hawaii is primarily dominated by the Democratic Party and has supported Democrats in 10 of the 12 presidential elections in which it has participated.

Important Legislation:
The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, amended and in force January 1, 2000. This document outlines the workings of the government, its institutions, and powers. It also outlines the rights, privileges, and regulations of citizens and residents. Clean Water Act of 1997. This law outlines specific guidelines, measures, and procedures to ensure clean, safe, and health drinking water for the State of Hawaii. It outlines specific regulations, restrictions, and behaviour in and around sources of drinking water to secure the water supply for the state. The Hawaii State Constitutional Convention of 1978 incorporated as state constitutional law specific programs such as the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote the indigenous Hawaiian language and culture. Hawaii Land Use law of 1961 has been amended and expanded upon, however, this law classified land into urban, rural, agriculture, and conservation, which has been vital in protecting and conserving Hawaii’s limited land resources.

Principal Taxes:
Hawaii is known for its relatively high per capita state tax burden. In the years 2002 and 2003, Hawaii residents had the highest state tax per capita at US$2,757 and US$2,838, respectively. This rate can be explained partly by the fact that services such as education, health care and social services are all rendered at the state level — as opposed to the municipal level as all other states. Millions of tourists pay general excise tax and hotel room tax; thus not all the taxes collected come directly from residents.

Associated Power:
United States of America

US citizenship

Heavily involved in providing financial services to other pacific islands through the Bank of Hawaii.


Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.3 million due to military presence and tourists. Oahu, which is aptly 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, about 1,650 people per square mile.

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population
Kauai 1,430 58,303 %
Ni'ihau 181 160 %
Oahu 1,545 868,751 %
Maui 1,883 139,800 %
Moloka'i 673 7,404 %
Lana'i 363 3,193 %
Hawaii 10,458 158,423 %

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.

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up
2000 246249 164,411 452,740 187,536 160,601


Net Migration (2002): Net International:6 513; Net Internal:317; Net Migration (2005): Net International:30 068; Net Internal:13 112;

Crude Birth Rate:
2003 14.1%

Life Expedctancy:
(2000) 79.8 years (77.1 male, 82.5 female); Birth Rate (2003): 14.1 per 1000 people; Death Rate (2003): 7.0 per 1000 people;

Crude Death Rate:
2003 7%

Hawaiian/Part Hawaiian (22.1%), Caucasian (20.5), Japanese (18.3); Filipino (12.3), Chinese (4.1)

Class Division:

English, local Hawaiian dialect (polynesian) The State of Hawaii has two official languages recognized in its constitution adopted at the 1978 constitutional convention: English and Hawaiian. Article XV, Section 4, specifies that "Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law" [italic added]. Hawaiian Creole English is the first language of many born-and-raised residents, and is a second language for many other residents. After English, the second- and third-most spoken individual languages are Tagalog and Japanese, respectively. As of 2000, 73.4% of Hawaii residents age 5 and older speak only English at home, and 7.9% speak Pacific Island languages. Tagalog speakers make up 5.4%, followed by Japanese at 5.0%, and Chinese at 2.6%.

Christian 68%: Protestant 42%: Congregational/United Church of Christ 3%,Baptist 2%, Methodist 2%. Catholic 24%. LDS 2%. Agnostic/non-religious 18%. Buddhist 9%. Other (e.g. Shinto, Tao, pagan) 5%.

 Over the age of 15 who can read and write: 97 % (US average). Public schools in Hawaii have to deal with large populations of children of non-native English speaking immigrants and a culture that is different in many ways from the mainland U.S., from whence most of the course materials come, and where most of the standards for schools are set. The public elementary, middle, and high school scores in Hawaii tend to be below average on national tests. Some of this can be attributed to the Hawaii State Board of Education requiring all eligible students to take these tests and reporting all student test scores.

Education System:
Hawaii is currently the only state in the union with a unified school system statewide. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education, with thirteen members elected for four-year terms and one non-voting student member. The Board of Education sets statewide educational policy and hires the state superintendent of schools, who oversees the operations of the state Department of Education. The Department of Education is also divided into seven districts, four on Oahu and one for each of the other counties. The structure of the state Department of Education has been a subject of discussion and controversy in recent years. The main rationale for the current centralized model is equity in school funding and distribution of resources: leveling out inequalities that would exist between highly populated Oahu and the more rural Neighbor Islands, and between lower-income and more affluent areas of the state. This system of school funding differs from many localities in the United States where schools are funded from local property taxes.

Total Pre-schools:()
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools:
Total Professional Schools


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


The University of Hawai‘i system had 42,799 students enrolled in 2000. In 2000, it awarded 3,115 bachelor’s degrees, 1,040 master’s degrees and 152 doctoral degrees. The three private universities had an enrollment of 13,539 students. Institutions with an international focus are the East- West Centre, the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, the Japan-America Institute of Management Science, Hawai‘i Pacific University, Chaminade University, Kansai Gaidai Hawai‘i College and the University of Hawai‘I. Hawai‘i’s statewide public school system had an enrollment in 2000 of 183,520 students in grades K- 12. There are also 132 private schools. Enrollment in private schools was 36,226 in 1999.

Medical Services:
There are 27 civilian hospitals in Hawaii plus one Military Hospitals with a full range of facilities and care options available for all Hawaiians.


 The first Polynesians, believed to be from the Marquesas, settled on this island chain some time between 500 and 600 AD. They lived a rather peaceful life until, in 1000 AD, the Tahitians arrived and introduced their customs, religion and a strict social order. The first known Westerner to visit the islands was British explorer Captain James Cook, who arrived in 1778. Cook named the Hawaiian archipelago the Sandwich Islands, in honor of the Earl of Sandwich. At first, Cook was heralded as the legendary Lono, god of fertility and peace, but a freakish turn of events led to his fatal stabbing at Kealakekau Bay on the Big Island. A witness to Cook's slaying was a fierce warrior, known as King Kamehameha or Kamehameha the Great, who was to unify the Hawaiian islands and establish the Hawaiian monarchy. Kamehameha engaged in lucrative trade with American sea captains interested in Hawaii's sandalwood forests. As more ships found their way to this new port of call, a foreign presence began to establish itself on Hawaiian shores. In the 1820s, Yankee whaling ships began calling on Hawaiian ports in search of wine, women and song, and for the next 50 years Hawaii was the centre of the Pacific whaling industry, bringing big money to the islands. The social excesses of the whalers were curtailed by the presence of Christian missionaries who befriended the Hawaiian royalty and introduced more 'refined' Western social mores. In the mid-1800s, descendants of the missionaries established Hawaii's sugar industry. The declining native population meant plantation owners soon began to look overseas for a labour supply. Labourers were recruited from China, then Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Korea and finally from the Philippines. As Hawaii's sugar industry grew, the USA became more integral in the affairs of the Hawaiian islands. As a means of eliminating tariffs, the plantation owners announced a provisional government which eventually led to the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishing of Hawaii as a territory of the USA in 1900. Hawaii's importance to the USA grew as the US Navy established a huge military base at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was the pivotal event that persuaded the USA to enter WWII. After the war, opinion polls showed that more than 90% of Hawaiian residents favored US statehood. On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA. The following years saw the development of Hawaii as a major tourist destination with numerous resorts, golf courses and shopping centre being built. To combat the increasing development, a number of state parks, wilderness sanctuaries and marine reserves have been established. In the 1970s, a Hawaiian cultural renaissance reasserted local cultural values in the face of tourist-brochure parodies. In the past few years, sovereignty has become a key political issue. While some Hawaiian groups favour the restoration of the monarchy, other native groups are calling for a Hawaiian nation within the USA and the return of crown lands taken during annexation. In November 1993, US President Bill Clinton signed a resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom 100 years earlier.


Recent Significant Events:

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


Bank of Hawaii (BOH). ‘Hawaii Economic Trends.’ December 2004. Available online. http://www.boh.com/econ/pdfs/econ1204.pdf. March 2005. Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). ‘2003 State of Hawaii Data Book.’ December 2003. Available online. http://www3.hawaii.gov/DBEDT/index.cfm?section=READ_Databook1075. March 2005. Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). ‘Quarterly Statistical & Economic Report.’ January 2005. Available online. http://www3.hawaii.gov/dbedt/index.cfm?section=READ_LatestData474&contentID=474 . March 2005. Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). ‘State of Hawaii Facts and Figures: 2000.’ Available online. http://www3.hawaii.gov/dbedt/index.cfm?section=statistics_and_economic_information428 March 2005. FEDSTATS. Statistical information about US Federal Agencies. Available online. http://www.fedstats.gov March 2005. Hawaii Tourism Authority. February 16, 2005. Available online. http://www.hawaii.gov/tourism March 2005. Hawaii State Legislature. ‘Site Search.’ Available online. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/search/search.asp?press1=search March 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Hawaii


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