Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hilo is the county seat of Hawai‘i County, Hawai‘i, and is situated in the South Hilo District. The city overlooks Hilo Bay , and is near two mountains, Mauna Loa, an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, upon which several astronomical observatories are placed.
The city is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula, which takes place each year in the week following Easter.
Hilo is located at 19°42'20" North, 155°5'9" West (19.705520, -155.085918), the southernmost city in the United States.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Census Designated Place (CDP) has a total area of 151.4 km² (58.4 mi²). 140.6 km² (54.3 mi²) of it is land and 10.7 km² (4.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 7.10% water.
Hilo's location on the eastern side of the island of Hawai‘i (windward relative to the trade winds) makes it one of the wettest cities in the world. An average of 129.19 inches (3281 mm) of rain falls on Hilo annually.
Its location on the shore of the funnel-shaped Hilo Bay also makes it vulnerable to tsunamis.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 40,759 people, 14,577 households, and 10,101 families residing in the CDP. The population density is 289.9/km² (750.8/mi²). There are 16,026 housing units at an average density of 114.0/km² (295.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP is 17.12% White, 0.45% African American, 0.34% Native American, 38.30% Asian, 13.12% Pacific Islander, 0.94% from other races, and 29.74% from two or more races. 8.78% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 14,577 households out of which 30.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% are married couples living together, 15.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% are non-families. 24.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.70 and the average family size is 3.19.
In the CDP the population is spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP is $39,139, and the median income for a family is $48,150. Males have a median income of $36,049 versus $27,626 for females. The per capita income for the CDP is $18,220. 17.1% of the population and 11.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.5% of those under the age of 18 and 6.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Although archaeological evidence is scant, people certainly inhabited the areas along Hilo Bay, Wailuku and Wailoa Rivers before the Western world made contact. Missionaries came to Hilo in the early to middle 1800s, founding several churches, notably Haili Church .
Hilo expanded as sugar plantations in the surrounding area drew in many workers from Asia, and the city became a trading center.
A breakwater across Hilo Bay was begun in the 1900s and completed in 1929. On April 1, 1946 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a 14-meter high tsunami that hit Hilo hours later killing 159 people. As a result, an early warning system, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, was established to track these killer waves and provide warning. On May 23, 1960, another tsunami, caused by a 9.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile the previous day, claimed 61 lives allegedly due to people's failure to heed warning sirens. Low-lying bayfront areas of the city on Waiakea peninsula and along Hilo Bay, previously populated, were rededicated as parks and memorials.
Starting in the 1960s, Hilo expanded inland. In the 1980s, the downtown found a new role as the city's cultural center with several galleries, museums being opened as well as the Palace Theatre reopening in 1998 as an arthouse.
During the 1990s, Closure of the sugar plantations (including those in Hamakua ) led to a downturn in the local economy, coinciding with a general statewide slump. In recent years, Hilo has been experiencing commercial and population growth as the neighboring district of Puna has become the fastest-growing region in the state.
For more information, see Schools of Hilo, Hawaii
Government and Politics
Hilo is not an incorporated city, and does not itself have a municipal government. The entire island, which is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, is under the jurisdiction of Hawaii County, of which Hilo is the county seat.
Hilo and its outlying areas are traditionally more Democratic-leaning than West Hawaii, which adds to tension between the two major municipal areas. It has also presented more opposition to development than other large communities elsewhere in the state.
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