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Honolulu County, HI



(by Population)




Square Miles
Honolulu, Diamond Head volcano
Honolulu, Diamond Head volcano
Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail
Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail
Pearl Harbor National Monument
Pearl Harbor National Monument

Haʻaheo No ʻO Honolulu

The motto of Honolulu County is Haʻaheo No ʻO Honolulu, or Honolulu Pride. There is good reason for this. The county is home to five protected areas and, arguably, some of the most beautiful and diverse land in America.

About 70 percent of Hawaii's population lives within Honolulu County. It consists of the entirety of the island of Oahu and several outlying islands. The state capital, Honolulu, is the center of government.

Education and culture are other strong points of pride. There are a number of educational institutions within Honolulu County, including the University of Hawaii System. The oldest United States symphony west of the Rocky Mountains is the Honolulu Symphony, founded in 1900. The Bishop Museum, the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo are all important natural museums within the county.

More than 150 different areas in Honolulu County are on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of these include the Aloha Tower, Foster Botanical Garden, Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor.

History of Honolulu County

The history of Honolulu County dates to over 1,500 years ago when Polynesians arrived in the islands. The Kamehameha Dynasty united the islands in the early 19th century with Honolulu being named the capital in 1845.

It was around the time that Honolulu became capital that the diversity of the population was encouraged. The county, along with the rest of the state, prospered from sugar production. However, there weren't enough laborers to adequately manage the crops and land. Workers were recruited from southeast Asia and Portugal to help the county grow.

When Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1888, Honolulu County became even more important. The U.S. Navy created a strong presence in the county by building a base on a lagoon called Pearl Harbor.

It wasn't until 1959, after Hawaii became a state, that tourism truly began to take off. Though the first hotel was built in 1901 and tourists had been visiting the islands since the mid-1800s, it was the ability to quickly fly from the West Coast of the United States to Honolulu that made tourism a mainstay in the county's economy.

County Geography

The geography of Honolulu is unique in that of the 2,128 square miles, more than half is water. The Pacific Ocean accounts for 1,527 square miles of the county's area.

The land was created by volcanic activity, which caused a series of mountains and beaches. Mountain ranges like the Waianae Range and Koolau Range are popular for hiking. Volcanic cones, like Diamond Head, and craters, like the Punchbowl crater, are unique land forms in Honolulu County as well.

The beaches in Honolulu County are consistently ranked among the best in the world. Lanikai Beach is known for the white sand and turquoise waters that rush against the Mokulua Islands. Other beaches that regularly make lists of most beautiful beaches in the world are Sunset Beach, Waimanalo Beach and Yokohama Bay.

The Diversity of Honolulu County

Honolulu County is among one the most diverse counties in the country. The population is comprised of Asian, Caucasian, Pacific Islander, African American, Native American and two or more races. Many of the families that live in Honolulu County are of Japanese, Filipino, German, Chinese, Irish and Portuguese descent. About five percent of the population is native Hawaiian.

Honolulu County has an excellent education rate with more than 90 percent of the population possessing a high school degree. More than 1/3 of its citizens have a bachelor's degree or higher.

The poverty rate in Honolulu County is less than the national average. The average per capita income and the median household income is much higher than the national average, making the county a good place to visit or live.

Most of the population of the county lives in the city of Honolulu. The primary employment sectors are food service, education, business, sales and transportation. Much of this is related to tourism.

Tourism is Tops in Honolulu County

Tourism is the top industry in Hawaii. This is especially true of Honolulu County. Hawaiian Airlines, Kyo-Ya Hotels & Resorts, Honolulu International Airport, Hilton and the Walt Disney Company are among the largest employers in the county. There are many small businesses that thrive from tourism, including locally run tourism companies, restaurants and inns.

The biggest employers in Honolulu outside of tourism are the hospitals of Queen's Medical Center and Hawaii Pacific Health. Educational institutions like Honolulu Community College, Hawaii State Teachers Association, Kamehameha Schools and University of Hawaii are also large employers.

Honolulu County Attractions

Hawaii benefits from year-round warm weather, pristine beaches, and unique land forms that draw visitors from around the world. Nearly half of these visitors head to Honolulu County. The majority of these tourists are domestic, though many come from neighboring countries like Canada and Japan.

Attractions in Honolulu County are plentiful. Tourists could easily spend their days swimming, snorkeling, surfing or simply sunning in the sand. Those travelers who prefer to have specific destinations in mind will find both natural and man-made locations throughout the county.

Many of the most popular attractions in the county are within the city of Honolulu. Pearl Harbor National Monument is a historic space that holds meaning even to those who didn't lose loved ones during the Japanese attack. The Battleship Missouri is located nearby. The Honolulu Museum of Art is another important location. Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail is a good choice for those who want to walk along the ocean with the possibility of spotting whales.

Outside of the city of Honolulu are more than just immaculate beaches. The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie and the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa are two spots that regularly cause visitors to venture outside of the city and into other parts of Honolulu county.

Additional Honolulu County Information