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News and voices from Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Lana‘i, Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i.

Maui is State’s Fastest-Growing County

Tony Webster / Flickr
Tony Webster / Flickr

According to figures from the U.S. Census bureau, Hawai‘i’s population is growing slightly faster than that of the United States.  But not every island is growing at the same pace. We get some details from Eileen Chao of the Maui News.

Maui’s population is growing faster than any other county in the state.

When it comes to overall population, the Valley Isle comes in third—behind Honolulu and Hawaii counties.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 163,000 are living in Maui County.  That's 5.3% more than the population in 2010.

Other islands in Hawaii have also grown since then, but at a slower rate.  Kauai's population increased 5% to 70,000 people.   The Big Island followed closely behind with a 4.9% increase, and Oahu's population grew by four percent.

Some residents are concerned about the effects the population increases will have on things like traffic, hospitals and housing.  Retired economics professor Dick Mayer says government and businesses should be paying attention to new areas of need related to continued growth.  For example, the percentage of residents ages 65 and older has climbed steadily over the last five years.  That could mean the county should fund more senior health services for Maui's aging population.

The census doesn't include the number of homeless people living in Maui, which Mayer says has also been growing in the last five years.  A point in time count released by the state earlier this year estimated Maui's homeless population to be about a thousand people.  But local agencies say the real number could be double that figure.

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