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Oahu is called the "Gathering Place"
Site of America's Most Exotic City - Honolulu
The Vibrant Center of the Beautiful Diversity
that is Oahu

Oahu Travel Guide & Map
waikiki beach honolulu at night diamond head oahu hawaii vacation rentals oahu homes for rent oahu hawaii
Waikiki Beach at Night, Honolulu

BIOLOGY   Oahu has a wide variety of plant and animal life. Many species are rare and endangered including the Nene Goose (the official state bird) and the Humpback Whale (the official state marine mammal). Vegetation zones include: coastal, dryland forest, mixed open forest, rain forest.

CLIMATE    Like most of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu has only two seasons: "summer" between May and October and "winter" between October and April. Depending upon locale:

  • average temperature ranges from 69.4 - 80.6 (°F)
  • Waikiki average temperature:
    • Jan.-Feb. 71.9 (°F)
    • Aug.-Sept. 80.6 (°F)
  • average annual rainfall ranges from 20 inches in the Waianae area to 158 inches in Upper Manoa Valley.

CULTURAL HISTORY    Oahu is a multi-cultural society with major immigration from:

  • Polynesia - 700 A.D.
  • United States - 1820
  • China - 1852
  • Japan - 1868
  • Portugal - 1878
  • Puerto Rico - 1900
  • Korea - 1903
  • Philippines - 1906
ECONOMY    Healthy In 2006! Key indicators are positive for continuing growth in the second half of this decade. 1 However, Hawaii's cost of living is among the highest in the nation and its 2004 per capita personal income below average. In fact, sources indicate a cost of living ranging from 30% above the national average to over 60% depending upon family size and circumstances - see the Price of Paradise!
  • 2005 Visitor Arrivals to the State totaled 7.4 million (a record) 2
  • 2005 Gross State Product was $54 billion 2

Major contributions to the State of Hawaii's economy include:
  • Visitor Expenditures: $11.8 billion (2005) - an all-time high* 2
  • Federal Defense Spending: $4.8 billion (2003) 3
  • Construction (Private Building Permits): $3.5 billion (2005) 4
* Visitor Expenditure figures are deceptive, since a certain percentage of tourism dollars do not remain in the Islands, but are returned to overseas investors.

With the demise of its sugar and pineapple industries in the 1990's, Hawaii is working to diversify its economy with a focus on industries such as science and technology, health and wellness tourism, diversified agriculture, ocean research and development, and film and television production. A Study currently being conducted by the State is looking at the extent to which the benefits from tourism can be maintained, while sustaining the quality of our social, economic and environmental assets.

EDUCATION    Honolulu City and County (includes the entire Island):
  • K-12 students in public schools (2004): 122,950 (excluding Special & Charter Schools) 5
  • Number of Public schools (2005):   180 6
  • Number of Private schools (2005):   85 7
In 2004, there were 20,549 students enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and an additional 834 students enrolled at the University of Hawaii - West Oahu Campus. In addition, a total of 19,345 students were enrolled at the four Community Colleges on Oahu that are part of the University of Hawaii system.8 Other higher education facilities on Oahu include Brigham Young University - Hawaii, Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University.

    Oahu has an area of 607.7 square miles with 112 miles of coastline (44 miles long by 30 miles wide). Oahu is:
  • located in Polynesia, near the center of the Pacific Ocean
  • just below the Tropic of Cancer
  • one of the most remote spots on Earth
  • 2,390 miles west of San Francisco, California
  • the third largest of the 8 main Hawaiian islands
GEOLOGY    Oahu (the second oldest island in the Hawaiian chain) is made up of two volcanoes: the Waianae and the Koolau Mountains. Years ago, lava flows from both joined to create the Leilehua Plateau.

GOVERNMENT    On Oahu, as throughout the State, there are no separate municipal governments. The City and County of Honolulu is administered as a single entity by a mayor and a nine-member council, elected for four-year terms. Honolulu is both the State Capital and seat of the County Government.

HEALTH    Practices (2004): 2,697 doctors, 766 dentists, 7,926 nurses and 705 pharmacists.

OFFICIAL COLOR AND FLOWER    The official color is yellow and the official flower is the ilima.

  • had a resident population of 899,593 in 2004 (71% of the State's total population on 9.2% of its land). 10
  • In 2004, there were 102,680 military personnel (Armed Forces plus military dependants) in Hawaii. Most of them were based on Oahu. 10

In 2004, Oahu's ethnic groups roughly broke down as follows:11

    Unmixed (except Hawaiian): 538,692 (61.6%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Caucasian - 178,050 (20.4%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Japanese - 159,767 (18.2%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Filipino - 119,237 (13.6%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Chinese - 45,410 (5.2%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Black - 11,021 (1.3%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Korean - 9,000 (1.0%)
        wbulit.gif - 50 Bytes  Samoan/Tongan - 16,206 (1.9%)
    Mixed (except Hawaiian) - 165,051 (18.9%)
    Hawaiian/Part Hawaiian - 169,964 (19.5%)

TOURISM    Oahu had approximately 4.8 million visitors in 2005.

Data Sources

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