Hawaii’s population declined for a second year. The reason: People leaving for the mainland

Visitor arrivals and spending increased for most of the Hawaiian Islands in September.
Visitor arrivals and spending increased for most of the Hawaiian Islands in September.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Dec. 21, 2018 at 12:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For a second consecutive year, Hawaii saw its resident population decline in 2018 as more people left the islands for the mainland than moved in, newly-released Census figures show.

The Census estimates that Hawaii’s population declined by about 3,700 people from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018.

That’s the fifth-largest population decline of any state — only nine saw population drops this year — and underscores the tough choices families are making as the cost of living in the islands continue to rise.

[Read more: HUD: $93,000 now considered ‘low income’ on Oahu]

[Read more: People are leaving Hawaii in droves – and this year was no exception]

Hawaii’s total resident population on July 1, 2018 was 1,420,491.

A state analysis of the figures showed that on average in 2018 Hawaii saw:

  • 47 births and 35 deaths per day;
  • 11 more people coming in from foreign countries than leaving Hawaii for international destinations;
  • 34 more people moving to the mainland from Hawaii than coming in from other U.S. destinations;
  • 23 more people moving out of the state each day than coming in (compared to 19 the year before).

In other words, Hawaii’s population decline is due in large part to a net loss of residents to other states.

That was also the case last year, when 37 more people left the state every day for the mainland than moved to Hawaii from other states.

Meanwhile in 2017, Hawaii’s birth rate was slightly higher — with an average 49 births per day.

Earlier this year, University of Hawaii economists warned that slowing growth in the islands could be pushing many to pursue opportunities on the mainland.

“What we are seeing is lots of growth in accommodations and food service jobs and not a lot of growth in most of the rest of the economy,” said economics Professor Carl Bonham in September.

“People who live in Honolulu who may be aren’t real happy about how expensive it is to live here they have great opportunities elsewhere."

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