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Honolulu, the capital and largest city in Hawaii, is a vibrant Pacific metropolis that draws visitors from around the world with its sunny beaches, iconic landmarks, and melting pot of cultures. If you’re wondering just how many people call Honolulu home, read on as we dive into the latest population statistics and trends for this island gem.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: As of 2022, the population of Honolulu, Hawaii is approximately 352,399.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore Honolulu’s population growth over the past decade, break the numbers down by race and ethnicity, look at population density, and compare Honolulu to other major Hawaii cities.

We’ll also glimpse into the future to project Honolulu’s population in coming years.

Current and Historical Population

Population in 2022

According to the latest census data, the population of Honolulu was estimated to be 337,256 in 2022. This makes Honolulu the most populated city in the state of Hawaii.

Population Growth 2010-2022

Over the past decade, Honolulu has seen steady population growth. From 2010 to 2022, the population grew by 5.7%, adding around 18,000 new residents.

Year 2010 2022
Population 319,594 337,256

This growth rate is on par with the state average, driven by a strong economy and job opportunities drawing new residents to the city.

Racial Makeup and Diversity

Honolulu is known for its multicultural population and diversity. As of 2022 estimates:

  • 41.6% identify as Asian
  • 18.9% identify as white
  • 9.7% identify as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander
  • 8.6% identify as Hispanic/Latino of any race
  • Compared to the rest of Hawaii, Honolulu has higher shares of Asians and multiracial residents. This vibrant mix of cultures is part of what gives the city its welcoming, aloha spirit.

    Population Density

    Honolulu is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Hawaii. With a population of over 350,000 people, it is also the most populated city in Hawaii. However, despite its large population size, Honolulu actually has a relatively low population density compared to other major U.S. cities.

    According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Honolulu has a population density of around 1,696 people per square mile. This makes it less densely populated than cities like New York City (28,000 people per square mile), San Francisco (18,000 people per square mile), and even Anchorage, Alaska (1,700 people per square mile).

    There are a few key reasons why Honolulu’s population density remains fairly low:

    • Geography – Honolulu occupies a large land area on the island of Oahu, spreading out over approximately 68 square miles of land. This allows the population to spread out more compared to compact cities built on small landmasses.
    • Urban sprawl – Much of Honolulu’s growth has followed typical urban sprawl patterns, with new housing and commercial developments being built further outward rather than increasing density in the urban core.
    • Zoning laws – Strict zoning codes limit the height of buildings in Honolulu, preventing the level of dense vertical development seen in places like New York City.

    While Honolulu’s population density doesn’t compare to the most compact major U.S. cities, it is still the densest place in Hawaii by far. The island of Oahu as a whole has a population density of just 1,636 people per square mile.

    Other Hawaiian islands are even less dense, such as Hawaii Island at just 92 people per square mile.

    Going forward, Honolulu will likely continue to grow outwards rather than upwards due to geographic constraints. However, there are ongoing discussions about allowing more mixed-use development and transit-oriented development to help concentrate residents around transportation hubs.

    This could lead to pockets of increasing density in certain neighborhoods over time.

    Honolulu Compared to Other Hawaii Cities

    Honolulu vs. Hilo

    Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu, is the capital and largest city in Hawaii with a population of approximately 350,000. In contrast, Hilo, situated on the Big Island of Hawaii, is home to around 45,000 residents.

    Though much smaller than Honolulu, Hilo serves as the county seat and largest settlement on the island of Hawaii.

    As the economic and transportation hub of the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu offers more job opportunities, tourist attractions, dining and entertainment options compared to Hilo. Honolulu International Airport handles over 21 million passengers each year, while Hilo International Airport serves just over 600,000 annually.

    However, Hilo boasts lower costs of living, less crowded neighborhoods, and closer proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park than Honolulu. The median home price in Hilo is around $315,000, significantly more affordable than Honolulu’s median of nearly $800,000.

    Additionally, Hilo residents enjoy less congested roadways and easier access to hiking trails, waterfalls and volcanic landscapes.

    Honolulu vs. Kailua

    Kailua, situated on Oahu’s windward coast, has under 50,000 residents, a fraction of Honolulu’s population. As a world-famous beach town, Kailua attracts over 2.2 million visitors each year with its sparkling bays, ocean recreation, and small-town charm.

    In comparison to urban Honolulu, Kailua offers a more relaxed pace of life, family-friendly neighborhoods and proximity to the beach. The median home price in Kailua exceeds $1.3 million, however, making home ownership less accessible for many buyers.

    Honolulu real estate also comes at a premium but offers easier access to arts, culture, shopping and careers.

    Both Honolulu and Kailua have their advantages and appeal depending on lifestyle preferences. Honolulu serves as an economic center and lively tourist destination, while Kailua provides a quieter setting focused on outdoor recreation.

    At over 7 times the population, Honolulu dwarfs Kailua in size but comes with big-city drawbacks like traffic congestion and noise.

    Honolulu Population Projections

    2025 Projections

    The population of Honolulu is expected to continue growing over the next few years. According to projections from the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the population of Honolulu County is forecast to reach 1,012,700 residents by 2025.

    This represents an increase of over 40,000 residents from the 2020 census count of 972,200. The growth rate from 2020-2025 is projected to be about 4.3%, which is a bit faster than the 3.8% growth rate Honolulu saw from 2010-2020.

    Driving this population growth is both natural increase (births minus deaths) as well as net migration. Hawaii continues to be an attractive destination for domestic transplants and international migrants alike.

    Job opportunities, quality of life, and the stunning natural landscape all help draw new residents in.

    Within Honolulu, most of the growth is expected to occur in the urban core and along the rail transit corridors. Areas like Kakaako, Ala Moana, and Waikiki continue to add housing and will likely see their populations swell.

    The completion of the rail project over the next few years will also shape growth patterns.

    2030 Projections

    Looking ahead to 2030, Honolulu’s population is forecast to hit 1,052,100 according to the DBEDT projections. This would represent a further increase of about 40,000 residents from 2025.

    The 2025-2030 growth rate is expected to slow slightly compared to 2020-2025, coming in at around 3.8% for the 5-year period. However, increased development activity and housing construction in areas like Halawa and East Kapolei should keep growth brisk.

    Moreover, modern planning and zoning policies aimed at containing urban sprawl could see more growth directed to high-density areas, especially along the rail line. This may allow Honolulu to pack in more residents per square mile than in decades past.

    By 2030, Millenials and Generation Z will be solidly established in the workforce and will make up an increasing share of homebuyers. Much of Honolulu’s housing stock is aging, so there could be substantial demand for newly constructed condos and apartments in walkable, transit-connected neighborhoods.


    As we’ve explored, Honolulu remains Hawaii’s most populous city by far, driven by steady growth over the past decade. Racially diverse and densely populated, Honolulu shows no signs of slowing down, with population projections estimated to top 400,000 residents by 2030.

    While crowded at times, Honolulu retains the relaxed island vibe that brings so many to its pristine shores. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, Honolulu offers the best of urban living paired with access to Hawaii’s natural splendor.

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