comscore Hawaii population decline could have big economic effects | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii population decline could have big economic effects

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / MARCH 20, 2019
                                Locals walk along Keʻe Beach at Hāʻena State Park. The beach is normally packed with tourists.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / MARCH 20, 2019

    Locals walk along Keʻe Beach at Hāʻena State Park. The beach is normally packed with tourists.

Despite an influx of residents from other areas of the United States, a new report says Hawaii’s overall population is still declining.

The report by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism highlights the migration of residents during a five-year period.

Nearly 70,000 people moved to the islands between 2013 and 2017, including 54,000 from the U.S. mainland. The figure does not include military personnel and their families, the report said.

An additional 15,000 people moved to Hawaii from foreign countries, mainly from Japan and the Philippines, the report said.

But the analysis found that over the same period, nearly 62,000 people moved away from the state.

The population decline could have significant economic effects for the labor force, business development and government services, state officials said.

The migration outflow and a declining birth rate have reduced the state’s population, Hawaii Chief Economist Eugene Tian said.

The report does not address why people move to or from the state, but the high cost of living and an improved mainland economy are among drivers, Tian said.

The largest migrant group was young adults and those of prime working age — people between 18 and 34.

The report also noted a significant number of people moving out of the state — two out of three — were born outside Hawaii.

The likelihood of Hawaii residents leaving increased with education. Residents with a master’s degree or higher education had a greater propensity to move than those with a high school diploma or less, the report said.

Hawaii was one of 10 states with population declines in the past year, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Monday. The others included New York, which lost almost 77,000 people; Illinois, which lost almost 51,000 residents; West Virginia, which lost more than 12,000 people; Louisiana, which lost almost 11,000 residents; and Connecticut, which lost 6,200 people.

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