Counties of Hawaii
LocationState of Hawaii
Populations82 (Kalawao) – 1,000,890 (Honolulu)
Areas5.2 square miles (13 km2) (Kalawao) – 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2) (Hawaii)

The five counties of Hawaii on the Hawaiian Islands enjoy somewhat greater status than many counties on the United States mainland. Counties in Hawaii are the only legally constituted government bodies below that of the state. No formal level of government (such as city governments) exists below that of the county in Hawaii.

Unlike the other 49 states, Hawaii does not delegate educational responsibility to local school boards; public education is carried out by the Hawaii State Department of Education.[1] Hawaiian counties collect property taxes and user fees in order to support road maintenance, community activities, parks (including life guards at beach parks), garbage collection, police (the state police force, called the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, is limited in scope), ambulance, and fire suppression services.[2]

All the counties were created in 1905 from unorganized territory, seven years after the Territory of Hawaii was created.[2][3] The county of Kalawao was historically exclusively used as a leper colony, and does not have many of the elected officials the other counties do.[4] Many services for Kalawao County are provided by Maui County. For example, the web site for the office of the Maui County Clerk says "The office is also responsible for the elections in the County of Maui and the County of Kalawao".[5]

County information

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify counties, is provided with each entry. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.

FIPS code[6] County seat[7] Est.[7] Etymology Island(s)
Population[8] Area[8] Map
Hawaii County 001 Hilo 1905 Island of Hawaiʻi, with which the county is coterminous; said to be named for Hawaiʻiloa, a legendary Polynesian navigator. Hawaiʻi 202,906 4,028 sq mi
(10,432 km2)
State map highlighting Hawaii County
Honolulu County 003 Honolulu 1905 "Sheltered bay" or "place of shelter" in the Hawaiian language,[9] Named after Honolulu, the capital and largest city of the state. Oʻahu and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (except Midway Atoll) 1,000,890 597 sq mi
(1,546 km2)
State map highlighting Honolulu County
Kalawao County 005 1905 The village of Kalawao on Molokaʻi The Kalaupapa Peninsula on Molokaʻi 82 5.2 sq mi
(13 km2)
State map highlighting Kalawao County
Kauai County 007 Lihue 1905 Kauai, the largest of the islands in the county; name possibly derived from Kauaʻi, the eldest son of Hawaiʻiloa. Kauai, Niʻihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula 73,454 622 sq mi
(1,611 km2)
State map highlighting Kauai County
Maui County 009 Wailuku 1905 Maui, the largest of the islands in the county; named for Māui, a demigod from native mythology. Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokai (except the Kalaupapa Peninsula), and Molokini 164,221 1,120 sq mi
(2,901 km2)
State map highlighting Maui County


  1. ^ Hawaii State Department of Education. "Hawai'i DOE, About". Retrieved April 26, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Hawaii State: Facts & Figures – Des Osman Realty". Archived from the original on December 18, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2007.
  3. ^ Office of the County Clerk. "Foreword" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2007.
  4. ^ "Hawaii's 4 (or 5) Counties". September 1, 1999. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  5. ^ "Office of the County Clerk". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA. Archived from the original on September 22, 2004. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Find A County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved May 11, 2013. (Find a county)
  8. ^ a b "Hawaii QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". State & County QuickFacts. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  9. ^ "Honolulu Homes Guide". 2005. Archived from the original on August 9, 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2007.