Hilo (//; Hawaiian pronunciation: [ˈhilo]) is the largest town and census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 43,263 according to the 2010 census.
|Coordinates: 19°42′20″N 155°5′9″W|
|• Mayor||Harry Kim|
|• Total||58.3 sq mi (151.0 km2)|
|• Land||53.4 sq mi (138.3 km2)|
|• Water||4.9 sq mi (12.7 km2)|
|Elevation||59 ft (18 m)|
|• Density||810/sq mi (312.9/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−10 (Hawaii-Aleutian)|
Hilo is the county seat of the County of Hawaiʻi and is in the District of South Hilo. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, at the base of two shield volcanoes, Mauna Loa, an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. Mauna Kea is the site of some of the world's most important ground-based astronomical observatories. Much of the city is at risk from lava flows from Mauna Loa, and the bayfront was twice destroyed by tsunamis. The majority of human settlement in Hilo stretches from Hilo Bay to Waiākea-Uka, on the flanks of the volcanoes.
Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula that takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. The town is served by Hilo International Airport.
Around 1100 AD, the first Hilo inhabitants arrived, bringing with them Polynesian knowledge and traditions. Although archaeological evidence is scant, oral history has many references to people living in Hilo, along the Wailuku and Wailoa rivers during the time of ancient Hawaii. Oral history gives the meaning of Hilo as "to twist".
Originally, the name "Hilo" applied to a district encompassing much of the east coast of the island of Hawaiʻi, now divided into the District of South Hilo and the District of North Hilo. When William Ellis visited in 1823, the main settlement there was Waiākea on the south shore of Hilo Bay. Missionaries came to the district in the early-to-middle 19th century, founding Haili Church.
Hilo expanded as sugar plantations in the surrounding area created jobs and drew in many workers from Asia. For example, by 1887, 26,000 Chinese workers worked in Hawai'i's sugar cane plantations, one of which was the Hilo Sugar Mill. At that time, the Hilo Sugar Mill produced 3,500 tons of sugar annually.
A breakwater across Hilo Bay was begun in the first decade of the 20th century and completed in 1929. On April 1, 1946, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a 46-foot-high (14 m) tsunami that hit Hilo 4.9 hours later, killing 160 people. In response, an early warning system, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, was established in 1949 to track these killer waves and provide warning. This tsunami also caused the end of the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and instead the Hawaii Belt Road was built north of Hilo using some of the old railbed.
On May 22, 1960, another tsunami, caused by a 9.5-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile that day, claimed 61 lives, allegedly due to the failure of people to heed warning sirens. Low-lying bayfront areas of the city on Waiākea peninsula and along Hilo Bay, previously populated, were rededicated as parks and memorials.
Hilo expanded inland beginning in the 1960s. The downtown found a new role in the 1980s as the city's cultural center with several galleries and museums opening; the Palace Theater reopened in 1998 as an arthouse cinema.
Closure of the sugar plantations (including those in Hāmākua) during the 1990s hurt the local economy, coinciding with a general statewide slump. Hilo in recent years has seen commercial and population growth.
Geography and climate
Hilo is on the eastern and windward side of the island. It is classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP), and has a total area of 58.3 square miles (151.0 km2), 53.4 square miles (138.3 km2) of which is land and 4.9 square miles (12.7 km2) of which (8.4%) is water.
Hilo has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af), with substantial rainfall throughout the year. Its location on the windward coast (relative to the trade winds), makes it the fourth-wettest city in the United States, behind the southeast Alaskan cities of Whittier, Ketchikan and Yakutat, and one of the wettest in the world. An average of around 126.72 inches (3,220 mm) of rain fell at Hilo International Airport annually between 1981 and 2010, with 272 days of the year receiving some rain. Rainfall in Hilo varies with altitude, with more at higher elevations. At some weather stations in upper Hilo the annual rainfall is above 200 inches (5,100 mm).
Monthly mean temperatures range from 71.2 °F (21.8 °C) in February to 76.4 °F (24.7 °C) in August. The highest recorded temperature was 94 °F (34 °C) on May 20, 1996, and the lowest 53 °F (12 °C) on February 21, 1962. The wettest year was 1994 with 182.81 inches (4,643.4 mm), and the driest was 1983, with 68.09 inches (1,729.5 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 50.82 inches (1,290.8 mm) in December 1954. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 27.24 inches (691.9 mm) on November 2, 2000.
|Climate data for Hilo International Airport, Hawaii (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1949–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||92
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||84.9
|Average high °F (°C)||79.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||71.4
|Average low °F (°C)||63.8
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||59.0
|Record low °F (°C)||54
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||9.26
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||16.3||15.8||21.4||24.9||23.5||25.1||26.8||26.8||24.3||23.6||23.0||20.6||272.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||76.6||76.0||78.1||80.2||78.9||77.4||79.5||79.5||79.2||80.0||80.3||78.7||78.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||161.0||152.0||152.7||135.9||155.0||176.9||167.2||174.9||161.5||136.3||115.0||129.0||1,817.4|
|Percent possible sunshine||47||47||41||36||38||44||41||44||44||38||34||38||41|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990)|
As of the census of 2010, 43,263 people lived in 15,483 households in the census-designated place. The population density was 796.7 people per square mile (307.7/km²). The 16,905 housing units reflected an average density of 311.3 per square mile (120.2/km²).
The racial makeup was 17.61% White, 0.52% African American, 0.31% American Indian & Alaska Native, 34.29% Asian, 14.17% Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 32.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.40% of the population.
The median household income at the 2000 census was $39,139, while the median family income was $48,150. Males had a median income in 2000 of $36,049 compared to $27,626 for females. The per capita income was $18,220. About 11.1% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
Hilo is served by the county Hele-On Bus.
Hilo is served by the Big Island's largest harbor, Hilo Harbor, on Hilo Bay.
Hilo is home to a number of educational institutions, including two post-secondary institutions, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, and the Hilo and Waiakea primary and secondary school districts. Charter schools in the area serve primary and secondary students.
Although sometimes called a city, Hilo is not an incorporated city, and does not have a municipal government. The entire island, which is between the slightly larger state of Connecticut and smaller Rhode Island in size, is under the jurisdiction of the County of Hawaiʻi, of which Hilo is the county seat.
Hilo is home to county, state, and federal offices.
The oldest city in the Hawaiian archipelago, Hilo has a significant tourism sector. It is home to Hawaii's only tsunami museum, mostly dedicated to the 1946 Pacific tsunami, and is notable for the banyan trees planted by Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart and other celebrities. It is home to the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo, shopping centers, cafés and other eateries, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, and a developed downtown area with a Farmers Market.
Hilo is known for the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in the Koehnen Building downtown. The museum features interactive and educational exhibits and is dedicated to creating public awareness of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and marine conservation issues.
Hilo is home to most of the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea as well as the Imiloa Planetarium and Museum. Astronomy has an economic impact of $100 million annually on the island. Astronomy on Mauna Kea was developed at the invitation of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce following the collapse of the sugar cane industry.
- Rodney Anoaʻi
- Matt Blair
- Keiko Bonk
- Ed Case
- Ryan Higa
- Titus Coan
- Glenn Cornick
- Keenan Cornelius
- Wesley Correira
- Jennifer Doudna
- Brian Evans
- David McHattie Forbes
- Harry Kim
- Kimberly Kim
- High Chiefess Kapiʻolani
- Aliʻi Nui Keōua Kuahuʻula
- High Chiefess Kinoʻole o liliha
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Darren Kimura
- George Lycurgus
- Troy Mandaloniz
- George Naʻope
- Gerald Okamura
- B.J. Penn
- Benjamin Pitman
- Bob Shane
- William Herbert Shipman
- Kolten Wong
Points of interest
- Banyan Drive
- Coconut Island
- East Hawaii Cultural Center
- Haili Church
- Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
- Hilo Tropical Gardens
- ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi
- James Kealoha Beach Park
- Kalakaua Park
- Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens
- Lower Waiakea Mountain Bicycle Park
- Lyman Museum
- Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation
- Mokupāpapa Discovery Center for Northwestern Hawaii's remote coral reefs
- Nani Mau Gardens
- Naha Stone (associated with Kamehameha I) in front of the Hilo Public Library
- Pacific Tsunami Museum
- Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo
- Prince Kuhio Plaza
- Rainbow Falls (Waianuenue) & Boiling Pots on the Wailuku River
- University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Botanical Gardens
- Wailoa River State Recreation Area with King Kamehameha Statue
Asteroid (342431) Hilo is named after Hilo.
North Hilo District
The District of North Hilo, along Hawaii State Highway 19 from north to south, encompasses the following unincorporated towns and localities:
South Hilo District
In the District of South Hilo, along State Highway 19, are the following unincorporated towns and localities:
- Honalo and the Akaka Falls
- Hilo Bay, the Wailuku River and the Rainbow Falls
- Hilo downtown: Pacific Tsunami Museum, etc.
Along State Highway 11, are:
and others. Along State Highway 200 and its extension, are:
- University of Hawaii at Hilo
- Puainako Shopping Center
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- Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
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- "Education – Discovery Center". Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument web site. NOAA. Archived from the original on 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
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- James A. Bier, Cartographer, Map of Hawai'i, the Big Island, Eighth Edition (University of Hawai'i Press)
- "Laupahoehoe Train Museum - Take a Trip Back in Time". www.thetrainmuseum.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
- "Shopping Mall in Hilo, HI | Prince Kuhio Plaza". www.princekuhioplaza.com. Archived from the original on 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-06-24.
- "Home | Puainako Center - Hilo, Hawaii Shopping Center". www.puainakocenter.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
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