|Hawaii County and the state of Hawaii|
|• Total||1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)|
|• Land||1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||994 ft (303 m)|
|• Density||1,739.5/sq mi (671.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Hawaii-Aleutian (UTC-10)|
|GNIS feature ID||0359281|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), all of it land.
2000 Census data
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,233 people, 761 households, and 563 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,739.5 people per square mile (673.6/km²). There were 835 housing units at an average density of 650.5 per square mile (251.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 25.03% White, 0.09% African American, 0.04% Native American, 42.86% Asian, 3.94% Pacific Islander, 1.03% from other races, and 27.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.63% of the population.
There were 761 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 21.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $41,964, and the median income for a family was $45,962. Males had a median income of $28,359 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,226. About 6.0% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.
Honokaa's economy was based primarily on the sugar production of The Hāmākua Sugar Company from 1873 to 1994. With the closing of the Honokaa sugar production and the most recent staggered tourism, the local economy has been in decline. It has become increasingly a bedroom community for Hilo. As the gateway to the Hāmākua Coast, Honokaa provides the first unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean traveling downslope from Waimea.
The Hāmākua Coast was the classic plantation community in the early 20th century, but since the closing of The Big Island's sugar industry, the district has had to diversify its economy. Presently, much of the district is still zoned for agriculture, Hāmākua has seen rising prospects in other crops including pineapples, coffee, papaya, macadamia nuts, and tea.
Honokaa is the home of the fourth Governor of Hawaii since statehood, John D. Waihee III, who served from December 2, 1986 to December 2, 1994. Waihee is the first Native Hawaiian to hold that office anywhere in the United States.
Honokaa boasts a historic downtown district. In 1930, The Honokaa People's Theatre was built on Māmane Street by the Tanimoto family. Since 1993, the theater had hosted the Hāmākua Music Festival every Fall. Proceeds went to fund local music education on the Island. The festival has hosted a number of jazz, classical, and Hawaiian folk musicians including Ray Brown, Gene Harris, James Moody, Howard Alden, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Hubert Laws. It also contributed to the economy by bringing some tourism to the town; the nearby Hāmākua Sugar Company discontinued the production of sugar in 1994. The Hāmākua Music Festival was discontinued in 2006, but was held again in 2009.
Ranching, along with nascent diversified agriculture, is the primary industry in Honokaa and the Hamakua District. Honokaa hosts a Saturday farmers' market, held on Māmane Street, and the Andrade Meat Market, features locally raised and grass fed beef.
While ranching and rodeos may seem idiosyncratic to some visitors, ranching in Hawaii has a long history. This tradition had been celebrated annually on Western Weekend beginning in 2006, and included children's activities, Country Western Bands, a block party with Paniolo barbecue, a rodeo, and the ribald Saloon Girl Contest. Western Weekend had been sponsored in part by a grant from the County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development, Hawaii Tourism Authority. The only paved road into Waipio Valley is through Honokaa.
Honokaʻa is the namesake and prominent setting in the 2009 Japanese Film Honokaʻa Boy (Japanese: ホノカアボーイ). The world premier occurred in the Honokaʻa People's Theatre, which was featured prominently in the film.
There is reference to a marketplace in the town in the film Cloud Atlas.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Revival of Hamakua Music Festival". web site. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
- "Honokaʻa High & Intermediate School". web site. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
- "Honokaʻa Elementary School". web site. Retrieved 2010-03-17.