I often thought Alaska was #50, and Hawaii was #49, but it is the other way around. Hawaii is our fiftieth and final state, as of August 21, 1959; and prior to that, it was a territory since 1900. Also, the population of Hawaii remains fairly constant at around 1.5 million people. And despite a total area of only 10,931 square miles, Hawaii ranks only 13th in U.S. population density. Nearly 900,000 live on Oahu’s 600 square miles.
The median age here is only 38.5 years, with only slightly more males than females. Racially diverse, Hawaii is 38% Asian, 25% Caucasian, two or more races 23.8%, only 10.2% Native Islander, African American only 1.8%, and 1% other. But remarkably, 63% of residents are Christian, 10% non-Christian, and 26% unaffiliated. I would have expected a bigger Buddhist affiliation. Life expectancy is 81.3 years, the highest in the country.
Though Hawaii consists of four main counties (Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island), the chain contains 132 distinct islands. It is one of only two states that grow coffee. What is the other?
Of note, the main campus of the University of Hawaii sits up hill at Manoa. In previous visits, we often attended UH baseball games, when my son was a big fan. Big secret: I was once offered a teaching position at UH when they had a School of Public Health.
If you have never hiked up to the top of Diamond Head, I strongly suggest it to you. It is an easy climb, and affords a fabulous view of Waikiki, especially at sunrise. Please, wear decent shoes, I saw Asian tourists hiking up in high heels!!!!
Each day, 72,000 of us tourists visit Honolulu. And Honolulu is the second most expensive city in the U.S., behind only Anchorage, Alaska. The cost of living is 65% higher than the mainland. But it does not have to be expensive, if you have listened to anything from the Samurai School of Discount Travel**!!!
So, do you know the difference between an island and an atoll? Make sure you do not speak with a lisp! Anyway, an atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef or a string of loosely spaced small coral islands, enclosing or nearly enclosing a shallow lagoon. And island is land surrounded by water, not large enough to be a continent.
While we are at it, there are no flip flops in Hawaii. they are known only as “slippahs”, and don’t you forget it! In fact, learn mauka and makai too. Mauka means mountainside, and makai means ocean side!
So, buckle up, even though you have been here before. This is as close to paradise as many of us will ever get!
** The Samurai School of Discount Travel is ME!!!!