Hawaii's outward migration confirmed in U.S Census Bureau's report

Hawaii's population count fell by 4,261 to 1,439,399 in 2023, reflecting a -0.3% population growth rate, the latest U.S. Census Bureau's report revealed on Tuesday. It's a decrease equivalent to 12 people per day in a state where the exodus of population outpaces the gains.

Hawaii's domestic outward migration trend continued in 2023, with 11,193 residents leaving the state, just slightly less than the 15,664 in 2022. Figures from 2010 to the present indicate Hawaii is losing its native population year over year. Migration by people of other countries into the Aloha state numbered 4,267 for a net migration loss of 6,566 individuals, in 2023.

Over the period from July 2022 to July 2023 the state recorded 15,167 births and 12,812 deaths to realize a change of 2,355, just slightly lower than last year.

Overall, the population in the Pacific region registered a slight decline from approximately 53.2 million to 53.1 million. With accounting for those leaving the region and those moving to the Pacific area from other states and countries, the Pacific region showed a net migration loss of over 185,000 people.

The results of the Census show that the only region to grow during the pandemic - the South - had the largest population increase of any region in the U.S., with an increase of 1.4 million people moving to the South. Almost 500,000 people from other states, and more than 702,000 from other countries opted to live in the region, with South Carolina recording the largest percentage rise at 1.7% topping Florida's 1.6% increase.

Nationally the U.S. population grew to an estimated 335,000,000.

"U.S. migration returning to pre-pandemic levels and a drop in deaths are driving the nation's growth," said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau. "Although births declined, this was tempered by the near 9% decrease in deaths. Ultimately, fewer deaths paired with rebounding immigration resulted in the nation experiencing its largest population gain since 2018."

Experts say that housing shortages caused by over-regulation and zoning are driving some of the outward migration of Hawaii's residents. In March, Kevin Erdman, senior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University appeared on Hawaii Today.

"When a city doesn't build enough housing, systematically, families are basically self-selecting based on how much pain they're willing to withstand to stay in the city," he said. "And as their incomes get lower, that decision becomes harder and, effectively, as you get to the families with the lowest incomes, what you're left with is a lot more of them have to move away. So you get migration of families with low incomes that are especially moving away."

 

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