In 1872, Hawaii population was less than Kauai today, and 92% were born here. In 1896, plantation immigration had doubled the population, 2 men for every woman. After WWI a quarter million lived in Hawaii. Oahu’s population had tripled.
The population doubled from 1920 to 1950 as neighbor island populations declined. By the 1960s Oahu alone had half a million residents; populations still shrank on other islands. In 1970, the start of Hawaii’s modern tourism era, populations grew on all islands. From 1970 to 1980, Maui and Big Island populations grew 50% while local-borns fell to 58%.
In 1990 the census showed 1 million residents for the first time. From 1990 to 2000, Big Island grew 25%. From 2000 to 2010 growth slowed, but twice as many as 1960. Maui tripled in 50 years. A critical part of understanding the past is understanding how much smaller the population was in those days, here and everywhere.
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