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Hawaiian Demographics

The population of Hawaii (Hawai‘i) is approximately 1.2 million, while the de facto population is over 1.3 million due to military presence and tourists. O‘ahu is the most populous island, with a population of just under one million.

According to the 2000 Census, 6.6% of Hawaii's population identified themselves as Native Hawaiian, 24.3% were White or Caucasian, including Portuguese and 41.6% were Asian, including 0.1% Asian Indian, 4.7% Chinese, 14.1% Filipino, 16.7% Japanese, Okinawan, 1.9% Korean and 0.6%Vietnamese. 1.3% were other Pacific Islander which includes Tongan, Tahitian, Maori and Micronesian, and 21.4% described themselves as mixed (two or more races/ethnic groups). 1.8% were Black or African American and 0.3% were American Indian and Alaska Native.

The second group of foreigners to arrive upon Hawaii's shores, after the Europeans, were the Chinese who jumped off of trading ships in 1789. In 1820 the first American missionaries arrived in Hawaii to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians what the missionaries considered "civilized" ways. A large proportion of Hawaii's population has become a people of Asian ancestry (especially Chinese, Japanese and Filipino), many of whom are descendants from those waves of early foreign immigrants brought to the islands in the nineteenth century, beginning in the 1850's, to work on the sugar plantations. The first Japanese arrived in Hawaii on February 9, 1885. The largest city is the capital, Honolulu, located along the southeast coast of the island of O‘ahu. Other populous cities include Hilo, Kane‘ohe, Kailua, Pearl City, Kahului, and Kailua-Kona.