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»10,931 sq mi(28,311 km2)(43rd)
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Hawaii is the 50th and most recent U.S. state to join the United States, having joined the Union on August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, (wind) surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight “main islands” are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest and is often called the “Big Island” to avoid confusing the island with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Hawaii is the 8th-smallest, the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Hawaii’s ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, which is fourth in the United States after those of Alaska, Florida and California.
Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas and the only state with an Asian plurality. It and Arizona are the only two states that do not observe daylight saving time, and Hawaii and Alaska are the only two states that are not in the contiguous United States.
The history of Hawaii can be traced through a succession of dominant industries: sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane (see Sugar plantations in Hawaii), pineapple, military, tourism, and education.
Since statehood in 1959, tourism has been the largest industry, contributing 24.3% of the gross state product (GSP) in 1997, despite efforts to diversify.
Hawaiian exports include food and apparel. These industries play a small role in the Hawaiian economy, however, due to the considerable shipping distance to viable markets, such as the West Coast of the United States.
Food exports include coffee (see coffee production in Hawaii), macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, sugar cane, and both honey and honeybees: “by weight, Hawaii’s honeybees may be the state’s most valuable export.”Agricultural sales for 2002, according to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, were US$370.9 million from diversified agriculture, US$100.6 million from pineapple, and US$64.3 million from sugarcane.
Hawaii’s relatively consistent climate has attracted the seed industry which is able to test three generations of crops in a single year on the islands as compared to one or two on the mainland. Seeds yielded $264 million in 2012, supporting 1,400 workers.
Hawaii was briefly one of the few states to control gasoline prices through its Gas Cap Law. Since oil company profits in Hawaii compared to the mainland U.S. were under scrutiny, the law tied local gasoline prices to those of the mainland. It took effect in September 2005 amid price fluctuations caused by Hurricane Katrina but was suspended in April 2006.
Hawaiian Electric Industries provides electricity (mostly from fossil-fuel power stations) to 95% of the state’s population. Average electricity prices in October 2014 (36.41¢/kWh) were nearly three times the national average (12.58¢/kWh) and 80% higher than the second-highest state (Connecticut).
Top 5 Products exported Hawaii
- Bottled water: $23 million
- Cold water shrimp and prawns: $18 million
- Coffee, not roasted, not decaffeinated: $9 million
- Coffee, roasted, not decaffeinated: $5 million
- Paintings, drawings and pastels: $11 million
Top 5 Export destinations of Hawaii
What does Hawaii Import
- crude and petroleum oil aircraft,
- passenger vehicles,
- precious metals
Tourism is an important part of the Hawaii economy. In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands with expenditures of over $10 billion. Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year.
The summer months and major holidays are the most popular times for outsiders to visit, however, especially when residents of the rest of the United States are looking to escape from cold, winter weather. The Japanese, with their economic and historical ties to Hawaii and the USA as well as relative geographical proximity, are also principal tourists.
Hawaii is home to numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition. The state is also home to the Hawaii International Film Festival, the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema. Honolulu is also home to the state’s long running GLBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival
- Oahu is famous for Pearl Harbor tours, but also popular are shark dives in cages, Waikiki snorkel tours as well as around Oahu Tours where you will see all the major highlights of Oahu including Diamond Head, the North Shore and Dole Plantationwhere you can sample menu items made from fresh picked pineapples.
- Maui is the location for humpback whale watching from December 15 to April 15 each year as the massive humpbacks migrate to Hawaii’s warm waters to bear their calves. Also famous from Maui is the Molokini Crater which is a partially submerged volanco crater that you can snorkel at.
- Kauai is untamed and beautiful. It has been featured in many major motion pictures over the past two decades (Jurassic Park, Tropic Thunder, The Descendants, Avatar, and many more) . See this island by land or by air to take in the true beauty of this island. Oh and just be ready to see the roaming Roosters that inhabit the island.
- The Big island is the volcano island where you can take a land tour or fly over the incredible huge volanco on a helicopter tour. Doors off flights allow you to feel the heat from the volanco, an amazingly unique experience. Also on the Big Island you have the rare opportunity to swim with wild dolphins, not captive ones.
- Hawaii is best known for its beaches and water activities. Surfing is practically a religion in Hawaii, and scuba diving andsnorkeling opportunities exist nearly everywhere. In addition, jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking are available in tourist areas.
- Since many of the Islands tours and excursions are interacting with nature in some way, it’s important to look in to each and make sure they are respecting the Islands. There are many endangered animals and plants, because of this there are many laws protecting them. A good example would be tour boats that have been fined for chasing dolphins or whales in order to please the tourists, while it’s actually illegal and highly disrespectful. Govern yourself the same way while you visit and remember to kokua na `aina or respect the land.