Hawaii is one of the most beautiful island archipelagos in the world and one of the fifty United States. Because of its unique location, it’s thousands of miles from its closest neighbor.
So what countries border Hawaii? Other than the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is not close enough to the United States mainland or any other country to share a border.
It lies 2,400 miles southwest of the U.S.
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Midway Island, an unincorporated US territory, is the only other island close to Hawaii and lies about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu.
It’s a coral atoll with a 15-mile radius in the western extremity of the Hawaiian archipelago, encircling the Eastern (Green) and Sand islands.
Midway’s landmass is only 2.4 square kilometers (6.2 square km). The subtropical climate is mild and rainy in the winter and dry and warm in the summertime.
U.S. congress recognized Midway Island’s critical role to Hawaii in 1869.
That’s when they authorized $50,000 for the construction of the Seward Roads and the widening of Welles Harbor, both on the northern edge of Sand Island.
After Spain’s loss in the Spanish-American War of 1898, the United States gained control of the Mariana Islands, including the Philippines and the territory of Guam.
For Japan, the handover of the Philippines to the United States was considered a grave threat to the country’s plans to expand its territory in East Asia.
As a result, the naval institutions in the United States and Japan braced for potential war between both nations.
Because of Midway’s location, it became a crucial area to control in the Pacific.
The U.S. Navy now has command and control over Midway Island.
The United States had to set up refueling and provisioning centers between Hawaii and the Philippines so that ships from the U.S. Navy could have easy access to the country while protecting it.
Although it’s not the shortest trip, the most common foreign destination for Hawaiian residents is Japan, as Hawaii is only an 8.5-hour flight away from Tokyo.
The more budget-friendly location many people choose is to fly to Kansai International, in Osaka, which is a flight that is closer to nine hours.
The Hawaiian Islands were (and are still being) formed by volcanic activity.
Hawaii’s hot point stands immobile, quietly developing new volcanoes. Due to the hotspot’s position, all land volcanoes presently active on the southern portion of Hawai’i Island stay fixed and contribute to the growth of the island.
Loihi Seamount, the island’s latest volcano, is situated off the shore of Hawaii Island.
Before the late 1800s, the last eruption beyond Hawai’i Island happened at Haleakala on Maui. Presently, however, active volcanoes on Hawaii slowly but surely increase the island’s landmass.
During the modern age, the United States experienced its most lethal eruption at Kilauea, which erupted in 1790. The blast claimed the lives of up to 5,405 soldiers and their families who were advancing on Kilauea.
Degradation and ensuing volcanism resulted in stunning geological structures, including the second-highest peak on the island, Kilauea.
Volcanic slope volatility has resulted in seismic activity, most notably in 1868 and 1975, on the volcano’s perimeter. Avalanches of subsurface rubble from ocean island eruptions have resulted in steep, sheer cliffs.
Many nations have access to Hawaii, as it lies between Fiji, the Philippines, Guam, Micronesia, and Japan.
In 2017, 1,568,609 visitors from outside the United States came to Hawaii, and the Japanese were the largest group of overseas visitors to the island state.
The average Japanese tourist spends only five days in Japan, whereas other Asian tourists spend 25 percent more time and remain for 9.5 days or longer.
In the first half of 2021, there were 2,751,849 visits, a 27.6 percent increase over the first half of 2020 (likely due to the decline in the Covid-19 pandemic).
Still, total arrivals were 46.8% lower than in the first half of 2019, when 5,171,182 people came.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority statistics show that tourists to the Hawaiian Islands forked out $17.75 billion in 2019, up 1.4% from 2018.
While in Hawaii, visitors will spend money on things like hotel and inter-island travel and eating, shopping, car rentals, and activities.
Helping to pay for the state’s operations, visitors spent $2.07 billion in 2019, a boost of $28.5 million (+1.4 percent) over 2018.
Tourism generated an additional 216,000 jobs for the state of Hawaii in 2019.
Over a hundred non-profits, festivals, and events benefited from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT), which travelers pay when they lodge in licensed facilities.
In addition, there are several other noteworthy events and organizations in Hawaii, such as the Okinawan Festival, the Merrie Monarch Festival, the Nature Conservancy, and The Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
There is no bridge connecting California with the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii is a collection of islands and does not share physical borders with any other state. Therefore, it is impossible to drive there.
Because of the distance between the islands and the conditions of the ocean surrounding them, it is even impossible to drive from island to island.
You can fly to Hawaii and pick up a rental car, or you can have your car shipped there by freight service. Car ferries between the main islands of Hawaii do not exist.
If you want to get from Hawaii to California, you’ll need to fly to Maui, the island closest to San Francisco.
The states most similar to Hawaii are California and Washington in terms of terrain. You’ll also find beautiful beaches and mild weather in California, although California’s climate is significantly dryer on average.
Washington, like Hawaii and California, is a mountainous state on the Pacific Coast but with a colder temperature.
Only seven of Hawaii’s 136 isles in the archipelago are inhabited; the rest comprise coral reefs and atolls, and mini-islets.
As a result of hot areas of the Earth’s crust rising to the surface, all of the islands in the Pacific Ocean were able to emerge above the water’s surface.
Kahoolawe, Niihau, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu are Hawaii’s eight main islands, seven of which are inhabited.
In honor of King George III and as a gesture of friendship, Hawaiian monarchs flew the British flag. This action enraged Americans living on the islands.
Designers incorporated the Union Jack onto the flag Kamehameha ordered for the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1816.
More than 93% of voters in Hawaii accepted the proposal to admit the territory as a state, making Hawaii, which had been a U.S. territory since 1898, the 50th state in August 1959. However, many Hawaiian natives maintain that Hawaii was illegally annexed by the U.S.
Hawaii is home to a large immigrant population, many of whom came from the Philippines.
About one out of every five residents of Hawaii is an immigrant, while one out of every seven is a native-born American with at least one immigrant parent.
Foreign-born people also make up an essential part of the state’s labor force in many different sectors; roughly two-thirds of the state’s farmers, fishers, and foresters are immigrants.
Immigrants own more than a quarter of Hawaii’s enterprises, are essential to Hawaii’s diverse and dynamic communities, and contribute significantly to the well-being of everyone living there.
Hawaii is a melting pot of people from all over the world. Most immigrants hail from the Philippines, about 45%. Other countries with immigrants in Hawaii include:
- China – 9%
- Japan – 8%
- Korea – 6%
- Marshall Islands – 4%
All of these countries are in the world’s Asia-Pacific region.
At one point, Korea was the state’s most important market. In 2018, Hawaii’s exports to Korea were $233 million, or 35% of the state’s total exports.
The other economies benefitting Hawaii most are:
- Japan – $72M
- Singapore – $66M
- Malaysia – $61M
- China – $35M
Among the global regions that Hawaii exports to are:
- APEC – Average $582M
- Asia- Average $565M
- European Union – Average $41M
- Caribbean and Central/South American countries – Average $2M
- African Sub-Saharan – $309 thousand
Exports to active FTA partners account for 50% of Hawaii’s total exports ($333 million).
Agricultural exports from Hawaii, which ranked 39th, were $371 million in 2017. (This is the latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).
The following were the top agricultural exports based on the most recent data:
- Additional items derived from plants – Amount: $261 million – State Rank: 18th
- Nuts from a tree – Amount: $51 million in 2017 – State Rank: 7th
- Various Livestock products – Amount: $43 million – State Rank: 21st
- Veal and beef – Amount: $4,000,000 – State Rank: 42nd
- Fresh fruits – Amount: $3,000,000 – Rank: 28th
Foreign investments continue to create jobs for Hawaiian citizens.
In 2015 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), foreign-owned businesses in Hawaii employed 37,200 people. Foreign investors from the UK, France, and Japan were the most common.
Just over seven percent of Hawaii’s total private-sector employment was generated by foreign investment in 2015.