Census data shows population decline in Oahu, Maui; growing on Kauai, Big Isle
Oahu lost 12,337 residents from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, according to US Census Bureau data released today, continuing a trend that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Oahu’s population at 1,000,890 as of July 1, 2021, down 1.2% from the previous year’s figure.
In releasing population estimates and components of change for the country’s 3,143 counties and other statistical domains, the Census Bureau noted that “falling births, aging populations, and rising deaths – intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic – have contributed to an increase in natural decline”. at national scale.
In Hawaii, however, although COVID-19 claimed about 500 lives in the July-July period, according to state Health Department data, the state still recorded more births than deaths during those 12 months. And Oahu led the way with a natural population increase of 1,468.
This has helped to somewhat mitigate the effect of the pandemic on residents fleeing the state due to the high cost of living and job opportunities.
Oahu experienced a net migration loss of 13,686 residents over the one-year period, according to census data. Although net international migration added 652 residents to the island’s population, the number of residents moving to or from the mainland showed a net loss of 14,338.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down most segments of Hawaii’s economy, primarily its essential tourism industry. Chief state economist Eugene Tian said that “since the U.S. economy has recovered faster than in Hawaii, more people may have moved to the mainland.”
Maui County’s population also fell over the 12-month period, from 434 to 164,221, a decrease of 0.3%.
Hawaii and Kauai counties saw population increases during this time, likely due to housing affordability, particularly on the Big Island, according to Tian, who heads the research and information division. economic analysis from the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Hawaii County, the second most populous in the state, had about 202,906 residents, an increase of 2,160, or 1.1%, according to census data.
Kauai County saw its population increase by 253 to 73,454, an increase of 0.3%.
A previous census data release estimated the state’s total population at 1,441,553 as of July 1, 2021, down 0.7% from July 1, 2020. The total includes the 82 residents of Kalawao County, Molokai .