It’s official: More Native Hawaiians live on the continental U.S. than in the state of Hawaii.
The expected outcome of a decades-long migration of Native Hawaiians from the islands to the mainland was confirmed in recently released population data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the bureau, 53% of Native Hawaiians lived on the continent in 2020, compared to 47% in Hawaii. In 2010, 55% of Native Hawaiians lived in Hawaii, compared to 45% in other states.
While Native Hawaiian populations both in Hawaii and on the continent are growing, the existing gap could widen in the coming years as the Native Hawaiian population on the continent grows at a rate five times faster than that in Hawaii.
The Native Hawaiian Research Hui, a collaborative that includes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Liliuokalani Trust, Papa Ola Lokahi, The Queen’s Health System and Kamehameha Schools, is helping to disseminate the new data to awareness of where Native Hawaiians are residing and thereby inform discussions on “creating environments where Native Hawaiians can live and thrive,” according to a release issued by OHA last week.
“We who have the privilege of remaining at the piko of Hawaiian civilization within our homeland should exemplify leadership that includes those Hawaiians who no longer live here,” said Office of Hawaiian Affairs interim CEO Colin Kippen. “Let us find better ways to keep these Hawaiians connected to their Hawaiian families, to their Hawaiian culture, and to their Hawaiian identity.”
The new data release, which for the first time disaggregated Native Hawaiians from other racial and ethnic groups, confirms the American Community Survey’s 2021 assumption that Native Hawaiians on the continent exceeded the population in Hawaii.
“While it is disheartening to note that more Hawaiians now reside outside of their pae aina, the numbers of our people continue to grow and our demographic revival is stunning,” said OHA Board chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “We are and remain one people.”
According to the data release, the continental states with the largest numbers of Native Hawaiians are California, Washington, Nevada, Texas and Oregon.
Nearly 22% of the state population is Native Hawaiian, an increase of 0.5% from 2010.