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Census 2000 Brief: The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population: 2000

Written by:
Report Number C2KBR/01-14

Census 2000 showed that the United States population was 281.4 million on April 1, 2000. Of the total, 874,000, or 0.3 percent, reported1 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.2 This number included 399,000 people, or 0.1 percent, who reported only Pacific Islander and 476,000 people, or 0.2 percent, who reported Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander as well as one or more other races. The term Pacific Islander is used in the text of this report to refer to the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population, while Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander is used in the text tables and graphs.

This report, part of a series that analyzes population and housing data collected from Census 2000, provides a portrait of the Pacific Islander population in the United States and  discusses its distribution at both the national and subnational levels. It begins by discussing the characteristics of the total Pacific Islander population and then focuses on the detailed groups, for example, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian, and Fijian. The text of this report discusses data for the United States, including the 50 states and the District of Columbia.3 Data for Pacific Islanders residing in the U.S. Island Areas of Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are not included.

The term “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander” refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Pacific Islanders include diverse populations that differ in language and culture. They are of Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian cultural backgrounds.4

In 1960, the year after Hawaii became the 50th state, two separate response categories were included on the decennial census questionnaire for the state of Hawaii only: “Hawaiian” and “Part Hawaiian.” In 1970, the term “Hawaiian” appeared on every state census questionnaire except for Alaska. Hawaiians remained the only Pacific Islander group listed separately until 1980, when the terms “Guamanian” and “Samoan” were included with “Hawaiian” on all census questionnaires. In 1990, a response category for “Other Asian or Pacific Islander” was also included with a write-in area for specific groups. Three specific Pacific Islander groups — “Native Hawaiian,” “Samoan,” and “Guamanian or Chamorro” — were included in Census 2000. Also, a separate “Other Pacific Islander” response category was added with a write-in area for respondents to indicate specific Pacific Islander groups not included on the questionnaire.

1 In this report, the term “reported” is used to refer to the answers provided by respondents, as well as responses assigned during the editing and imputation processes.

2 Census 2000 asked separate questions on race and Hispanic or Latino origin. Hispanics who reported their race as Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, are included in the numbers for Pacific Islanders.

3 Data for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are shown in Table 2 and Figure 3. This report is based on data from the Census 2000 Summary File 1, which were released on a state-by-state basis during the summer of 2001.

4 See Table 4 for a list of the Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian detailed groups.


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