Amid ongoing cost of living woes, Hawaii’s population shrinks for third year

Hawaii's population declined in 2019 for a third consecutive year.
Hawaii's population declined in 2019 for a third consecutive year.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Dec. 30, 2019 at 3:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii saw its population decline for a third consecutive year in 2019 as the state’s high cost of living continued to push many to the mainland.

New Census estimates show that Hawaii’s population dropped by more than 4,700 people ― to 1,415,872 ― from July 2018 to July 2019 when births, deaths and migration were accounted for.

That’s the biggest numerical population drop since 2015.

And it makes Hawaii one of just 10 states in the country to lose population this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Numerically, Hawaii’s population drop was the seventh-largest nationally.

The population decline, while disappointing, was widely expected.

Economists have raised red flags about what some have called an exodus of residents moving to the mainland, and state officials have also grown increasingly alarmed about the trend.

[Read more: Over 8 years, nearly 62,000 more people left Oahu for the mainland than came in]

The new estimates show that for the 12-month period that ended July 1, 2019, Hawaii lost nearly 14,000 more residents to the mainland than it gained ― in the state’s largest “domestic out-migration” loss in three years.

At the same time, Hawaii gained 5,000 more people from international locales than it lost.

Also contributing to the population decline: Births were down over the 12-month period, while deaths were up slightly. Over the year, there were 16,878 births, down from 18,019 in 2016-17.

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