December 1994 Home   Newsletters

January 1995

February 1995

President's Message: Leage Anticipates a Busy 1995 (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Recommendations for State Convention Agenda
Mayor Outlines Ambitious Plan for Honolulu
New Directions for 1995
Physical and Sexual Violence Bill to Be Revised (Pamela Ferguson-Brey)
Congratulations, Pamela!
Planning and Zoning Committee Has Busy Month (Astrid Monson)
State Data Book Wins Again (Astrid Monson)
City Finances Discussion Slated (Jean Aoki)
Rights Petition Circulated
Information Exchange Conference Planned (Marion Saunders)
Letters to the Editor - LWV Action Praised (Faye Kennedy)
Letters to the Editor - Mahalo for LWV Kokua (Martha Ross)
Volunteers Needed

State Data Book Wins Again

The November Voter indicated how various tabulations in the current State Data Book (SDB) called into question some of the conventional wisdom (CW) on land use and housing issues. Here are some examples of similar material on population, transit, tourism, and taxation:


CW: Honolulu is the 11th largest city in the United States.

There is some confusion between a city or municipality and a metropolitan area. Oahu, although legally co-terminous with the City and City of Honolulu, is actually a metropolitan area - a central city surrounded by suburbs, with open area between them. The U.S. Census carefully defines and ranks municipalities (cities), counties, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and Census designated places (CDPs).

SDB: The population of Oahu, an MSA, is 836,231 (1990). It ranks 51st among the nation's MSAs and 40th among the nation's counties. Honolulu is a CDP, consisting of the Honolulu District (Red Hill to Mokapuu Point, south and southwest of the crest of the Koolaus) plus the northwestern Hawaiian islands, excluding Midway, and has a population of 377,059 and ranks 39th among the nation's incorporated places (cities) and CDPs. (Table 1.13)

It is only when Oahu's total population (the MSA) is incorrectly compared with the nation's central cities (municipalities) that it ranks 11th. When compared city-to-city of metro area-to-metro area, Honolulu is far lower in the population scale.

CW: The population of Honolulu is increasing rapidly.

SDB: From 1980 to 1990 the population of Honolulu District increased from 365,048 to 377,059. This increase of 12,000 in ten years amounted to 3.3%, compared with a 12.4% increase from 1970 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1990 the increase for Oahu as a whole was 72,000, an increase of 9.7%, compared with an increase of 20.9% from 1970 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1990 the increase was 30.7% on the island of Hawaii, 41.6% on Maui, and 30.9% on Kauai (Table 1.10)


CW: Automobile volumes are growing so rapidly that we will soon face gridlock.

SDB: Registered vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles and those subsequently shipped out of state or scrapped entirely increased from 599,379 in 1989 to 613,119 in 1991 and then decreased to 604, 602 in 1993, a net gain of 5,223, or less than one percent, in four years. (Table 18.7)

Registered passenger vehicles decreased from 497,661 in 1990 to 483,237 in 1993, while trucks increased from 101,253 to 105,477. (Table 18.8)

New passenger and truck registration decreased from 57,524 in 1990 to 45,833 in 1993. (Table 18.11)

CW: People are wedded to their cars and will not use public (mass) transit

SDB: With 475 buses from 1989 to 1992 and 495 in 1993, Oahu's total annual passenger volume, including senior citizens, the handicapped, students and free transfers, grew from 74,964,453 in 1989 to 79,343,403 in 1993. Revenues increased from $18,843,083 to $20,751,058. (Table 1.25)

This is the highest transit ridership per bus in the nation.


CW: We need a "world class" convention center to accommodate an estimated 600,000 convention attendees a year.

SDB: The number of meetings and conventions held in the state of Hawaii has decreased each year between 1978 and 1992, dropping from 903 to 389. Estimated attendance dropped from 217,101 to 169,980; guest rooms occupied, from 126,181 to 84,990; and revenues from $300.7 to $223.8 million. On Oahu, 203 meetings and conventions were held in 1991 and 145 in 1992. Estimated attendance was 83,942 in 1991 and 102, 653 in 1992. (Tables 7.15 and 7.16)


CW: Honolulu's taxpayers are the most heavily burdened in the U.S. They have to work up to four months out of the year to pay their taxes.

SDB: Estimated state and local taxes in Honolulu vary from 7.8% of a gross family income of $25,000 to 10.2% at a $100,000 income level. These figures compare with a 51 city median (taking the largest city in each state, plus Washington, D.C.) of 8.5% and 10.0%, respectively. (Table 9.4)

The residential property tax rate in Honolulu is $0.37 per $100, compared with the median U.S. city rate (adjusted for 100% assessment base) of $1.47. Honolulu's rate is the lowest in the U.S. (Table 9.21)

It should be noted that most cities support their schools out of the property tax , whereas Honolulu does not. Education counts for about half of a typical mainland city's total expenditures.

Astrid Monson
Chair, P&Z Committee

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