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Wondering what a Hawaii zip code is and how it works? If you’re looking to send mail to the Aloha State or just want to understand the postal system there better, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s the key things to know about Hawaii zip codes: They have 5 digits just like all other U.S. zip codes and help the postal service route mail more efficiently in the state.

The first 3 digits identify a broader region of Hawaii while the last 2 digits specify more precise delivery areas within that region.

Background on Zip Codes

What is a Zip Code?

A zip code is a unique numeric code assigned by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to identify specific geographic areas and delivery routes. Zip codes help the USPS organize and deliver mail more efficiently. They were originally introduced in 1963 to improve mail sorting and delivery.

Zip codes usually correspond to specific geographic boundaries and locations. The first digit of a 5-digit zip code divides the country into 10 large regions. The next two digits identify a smaller geographic section within that region, and the last two digits denote a delivery area such as a street, city block, PO Box, or other mail route.

For example, the zip code 90210 corresponds to the upscale community of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California. This makes it easy for the USPS to route mail correctly to its destination.

Brief History of the Zip Code System

The current United States zip code system traces its origins back to World War II. With so many American servicemen stationed overseas, the U.S. Post Office Department struggled with organizing and delivering the huge volume of mail.

This led postal inspector Robert Moon to devise a system of five-digit codes to more accurately pinpoint mail destinations. Tested in 1943, Moon’s zip code concept helped reduce mail sorting errors. But the system wasn’t implemented nationwide until the early 1960s under Postmaster General J. Edward Day.

On July 1, 1963, non-mandatory zip codes were unveiled in the U.S. Voluntary use grew quickly until zip codes became required for all mail in 1967. This helped transform the Post Office Department into the United States Postal Service in 1971.

Today the USPS assigns and manages all zip codes. Over the years, zip codes have been expanded to include an extra 4 digits to identify more specific locations. Now primarily used for mail delivery, zip codes have become an essential part of American life often used for identification, marketing, and geographical analysis.

Hawaii Zip Code Basics

5 Digit Format

Hawaii zip codes follow the standard 5 digit format used in all 50 states. The first digit of a Hawaii zip code represents one of Hawaii’s four major islands – Oahu, Maui, Kauai or Hawaii (the Big Island).

For example, zip codes starting with 9 are located on Oahu, 96 represent Maui, 97 signify Kauai, and 96 prefix zip codes belong to Hawaii island. This geographic organization helps steer mail and shipments to the correct island.

Geographic Organization

Beyond the first digit denoting the island, the remaining digits give more specific location details. The first three digits together usually indicate a larger city or region on the island. The last two digits specify even more precise delivery zones within that area.

So a Hawaii zip code essentially works like this from start to finish:

  • 1st digit – main island
  • 1st three digits – broader city/region
  • Full 5 digits – local delivery zone

For example, 96701 represents Waipahu on Oahu island. The 96xxx codes are all located on Oahu. Then 967 signifies delivery to the greater Waipahu area. Finally, 96701 narrows it down to a particular neighborhood/street range within Waipahu for accurate mail routing.

This clear method oforganization helped the United States Postal Service develop an effective system to handleall the mail and packages coming in and out of beautiful Hawaii!

Oahu Zip Codes

Oahu is the most populous and developed island in Hawaii, home to the state’s capital and largest city, Honolulu. Here are some key things to know about Oahu zip codes:

Honolulu Zip Codes

As the largest city in Hawaii with a population of over 350,000, Honolulu has many different zip codes. Some of the main Honolulu zip codes include:

  • 96813 – Downtown Honolulu
  • 96814 – Waikiki
  • 96816 – University of Hawaii area
  • 96817 – Pearl Harbor
  • 96818 – Kalihi
  • 96822 – Hawaii Kai

Central Oahu Zip Codes

The central region of Oahu located between Honolulu and the North Shore is home to several towns and military bases, with zip codes such as:

  • 96744 – Mililani Town
  • 96792 – Wahiawa
  • 96859 – Schofield Barracks military base

North Shore Zip Codes

The North Shore of Oahu is known for its world-famous surf breaks and has the following zip codes:

  • 96712 – Haleiwa
  • 96731 – Waialua
  • 96791 – Laie

Windward Oahu Zip Codes

The windward or eastern side of Oahu features beautiful tropical valleys and towns along the coast, such as:

  • 96744 – Kaneohe
  • 96734 – Kailua

Maui Zip Codes

As the second largest island in Hawaii, Maui has several zip codes that correspond to different regions and towns across the island. Here is an overview of the main Maui zip codes:

Central Maui

Central Maui contains some of the most populous towns on the island. Key zip codes here include:

  • 96708 – Kahului, the main commercial and shipping city on Maui
  • 96732 – Wailuku, the county seat and home to government offices
  • 96793 – Waikapū, a rapidly growing region

West Maui

West Maui encompasses the famed resort areas of the island. Popular zip codes include:

  • 96761 – Lahaina, known for its historic whaling town
  • 96793 – Kaanapali, home to luxury beach resorts and golf courses
  • 96793 – Kapalua, an upscale beach community

South Maui

South Maui is synonymous with stunning beaches and high-end hotels. Main zip codes here are:

  • 96708 – Kihei, a major beach town with condos, shops and restaurants
  • 96732 – Wailea, an exclusive beach resort area
  • 96732 – Makena, known for Big Beach and luxury homes

Upcountry & North Shore

Upcountry and the North Shore are more remote but breathtakingly beautiful regions. Their zip codes include:

  • 96768 – Kula, a cool, peaceful farming community
  • 96713 – Haiku, a lush jungle area
  • 96713 – Paia, a funky North Shore surf town

Big Island Zip Codes

The Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawai’i Island, has several zip codes spanning its different regions. Here is an overview of the main zip codes found on the Big Island:

Kailua-Kona Area

The Kailua-Kona area on the western side of the Big Island features beautiful beaches and resorts. Popular zip codes here include:

  • 96740 – Covers Kailua-Kona town
  • 96738 – Holualoa area just inland from Kailua-Kona
  • 96750 – Stretches along the coastline north of Kailua-Kona

Hilo Area

The largest population center on the Big Island, Hilo features a tropical rainforest climate. Major Hilo area zip codes are:

  • 96720 – Central Hilo
  • 96727 – Encompasses Honoli’i to the north of Hilo
  • 96703 – Covers Papa’ikou to the north of Hilo

Puna District

The Puna area has rainforests and geothermal activity. Puna zip codes include:

  • 96771 – Hawaiian Paradise Park area
  • 96778 – Kea’au and surrounds
  • 96749 – Pahoa village

Kaʻū District

Featuring South Point, Green Sands Beach and Volcanoes National Park, the Kaʻū district zip codes are:

  • 96772 – Ocean View
  • 96718 – Volcano area
  • 96704 – Pāhala region

Getting the right zip code for an address on the Big Island ensures efficient mail services. The varied climate zones also mean you can experience lush tropical rainforests, colder mountain regions, dry leeward areas and stunning volcanic landscapes within this island paradise!


Now that you know the basics of Hawaii zip codes, you can address that postcard to your Hawaii-bound friend or family member properly. Understanding how zips are assigned across Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and elsewhere in the state also gives helpful regional context too.

Happy mailing to the Aloha State!

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