Hawaii - The Aloha State

  • Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Honolulu skyline
  • Iao Needle
  • Sunset on a Maui Beach

Hawaii is one of those places whose name conjures up visions of white sandy beaches, smoking (erupting) volcanoes with hot, red lava flowing, and huge waves crashing over surfers' heads.

Hawaii is a chain of volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean. The land mass is spread across hundreds of islands, stretched out across 1,500 miles of water. There are eight main islands: Kauai, Oahu, Niihau, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii (the Big Island, to most folks). All of the islands are volcanic in origin, formed as their tectonic locations drifted across a stationary hotspot deep in the Earth's crust below. What we see as islands are the sea mounts of undersea volcanoes, and the total rise of those undersea volcanoes from the ocean floor to the summit of Mauna Kea is about 33,500 feet, higher than Mt. Everest above sea level (29,028 feet). However, the slopes of Mt. Everest are much more stable than the slopes of these volcanic islands. Earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis are a regular problem in Hawaii.

The crater of Haleakala
The crater of Haleakala on Maui
Fast Facts about Hawaii
Capital: Honolulu
Largest City: Honolulu
Admitted to the Union: August 21, 1959 : 50th
Area: 10,931 square miles : 43rd
Highest Point: Mauna Kea : 13,796'
Lowest Point: Pacific Ocean : 0'
2010 Hawaii Population Demographics
Total Population 1,360,301
Males 681,243
Females 679,058
Population by Age
Under 18 303,818
18 & over 1,056,483
20-24 95,829
25-34 185,333
35-49 272,160
50-64 273,540
65 & over 195,138
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 120,842
Non Hispanic or Latino 1,239,459
Population by Race
White 336,599
African-American 21,424
Asian 525,078
Native American 4,164
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 135,422
Other 16,985
Two or more 320,629
Map of Hawaii