Honolulu is one of the most diversified cities in America. About 24 percent of residents are Caucasian; 21 percent are Japanese; 17 percent are mixed ancestry, other than part-Hawaiian; 16 percent are part-Hawaiian; seven percent are Filipino, six percent are Chinese; and about one percent are pure Hawaiian. There are many small Pacific and Asian minorities. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, in the city and county of Honolulu, 264,372 people were white; 195,149 were of Japanese ancestry; 120,029 were Filipino; 63,265 were Chinese; 91,967 were Hawaiian; 25,875 were black; 3,532 were Native American; and 72,042 were of other heritage.
Early Hawaiians worshipped many ancestral gods and spirits. They made daily offerings to Pele, goddess of the volcano. They also made offerings to Ku, the god of war, and Lono, the god of fertility. Today, many Hawaiians hold on to their beliefs. Others have accepted Christianity or other religions. The remains of heiau, places of worship for early Hawaiians, are found throughout Oahu. The Catholic Church, with some 200,000 members, is the largest congregation in the state. Buddhists are second, with more than 85,000 members. There are Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim houses of worship as well.
English and Hawaiian are the official languages. Hawaiian, a melodious language, is a Polynesian dialect. It has only 12 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, u, and the consonants h, k, l, m, n, p and w. In order to clarify pronunciation, a glottal stop (') or 'okina—similar to the sound between the oh's in the English oh-oh—is used in the Hawaiian language. The state's name often is spelled Hawai'i. About 85 percent of all place names in Hawaii are in Hawaiian. Many Hawaiian phrases and words, as well as words from immigrant groups, have been incorporated into everyday usage. Some common Hawaiian words include aloha (a word of many meanings that expresses love, affection, compassion, grace and charity. It is often used as a greeting), and mahalo (thanks).
Pidgin, a simplified form of English, is still used in the islands. It was developed by Hawaii's many immigrant groups to communicate with one another. Modern pidgin has been defined as local slang and has come under attack by some educators who believe it is keeping children from speaking proper English. Others defend pidgin as a cultural treasure unique to Hawaii. Pidgin is not easy to pick up. It has a cadence of its own, double meanings, and borrowed words from many languages. Some examples include talk story : to have a conversation, to gossip; ono grinds : good food (or broke da mouth, for delicious); brah : brother or friend; I am pau : I am done, finished; and Pau Hana: quitting time. Japanese and other Asian languages also are widely spoken.
|City Fact Comparison|
|Population of urban area1||377,050||10,772,000||2,688,000||12,033,000|
|Date the city was founded||1850||AD 969||753 BC||723 BC|
|Daily costs to visit the city2|
|Hotel (single occupancy)||$112||$193||$172||$129|
|Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)||$52||$56||$59||$62|
|Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)||$13||$14||$15||$16|
|Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals)||$177||$173||$246||$207|
|Number of newspapers serving the city||2||13||20||11|
|Largest newspaper||The Honolulu Advertiser||Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar||La Repubblica||Renmin Ribao|
|Circulation of largest newspaper||102, 358||1,159,339||754,930||3,000,000|
|Date largest newspaper was established||1856||1944||1976||1948|
|1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.|
|2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.|
|3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.|