Hawaii’s population decline still leans toward Las Vegas

Hawaiʻi is one of many states whose population has declined in recent years. When it comes to people leaving the islands, Honolulu has been the hardest hit, with a recent net loss of filers.

The national newsroom of PBN’s parent company, American City Business Journals, pulled data from the IRS and the US Census Bureau to analyze Americans on the move from 2019 to 2020. Just under 9 million Americans moved from one county to another that year.

Overall, the results detail a clear movement of people out of states such as New York, Louisiana, California, Illinois and Massachusetts to Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia.

Hawaiʻi was a net loser in population, but not evenly so. Neighboring islands gained nearly a thousand more people than they lost. But Honolulu lost 4,000 more people than it gained other states.

About 24,000 left Oʻahu that year – and only 20,000 moved in. The 4,000 took with them a combined income of $162 million.

Emigration from Hawaii does not quite fit the national pattern of people and capital fleeing the so-called blue states for the red states. The main cities for people who left Hawaiʻi from 2019 to 2020 are Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as El Paso and Phoenix.

But the main recipient of the kamaʻaina leak was our traditional ninth island, Las Vegas — gaining just over 1,500 Hawaiians in 2020.