Hilo, Hawaii

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Hilo, Hawaii

Introduction to Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo is situated along the shore of Hilo Bay on the east side of the island of Hawaii. It's the largest city on the island and is located in Hawaii County. The active Mauna Loa volcano as well as the dormant Mauna Kea volcano are nearby. Prominent astronomical observatories are located on Mauna Kea.

The Manuna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the major producers of macadamia nuts in the world is situated in Hilo. The city receives a vast amount of rain and is recognized as one of the wettest cities in the entire world. Fortunately for residents and tourists a significant amount of the rain occurs at night.


During the ancient days of Hawaii, the area was a primary trading center for natives. Missionaries arrived in Hilo during the early 1800's and establish several churches. The city became a prominent trading center due to the nearby sugar plantations. In 1946 an earthquake occurred close to the Aleutian Islands which produced a large tsunami which struck Hilo and killed 160 people. Another powerful tsunami hit the island in 1960 and ended the lives of 61 people. In the 1990's the sugar plantations were closed down which significantly harmed the economy.


  • King Kamehameha Statue.
  • Chase Gallery.
  • The Lyman House Memorial Museum includes numerous exhibits of Hawaii culture and is well known for its exhibits of shells and minerals.
  • Pacific Tsunami Museum offers exhibits regarding two of the devastating tsunamis that struck Hilo.

Nature Attractions

  • Banyan Drive is also called the "Hilo Walk of Fame." Celebrities have planted banyan samplings which over the years have developed into beautiful, huge trees.
  • Hilo Tropical Gardens features lily ponds, waterfalls as well as Oriental style bridges.
  • Liliuokalani Park and Gardens includes Japanese gardens and a Japanese Teahouse.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers views of the active flow area of the Kilauea volcano and several excellent hiking locations.
  • Nani Mau Gardens is a commercial botanical center which features a vast number of species of plants, fruit trees and orchids. It includes a Japanese type bell tower, a butterfly house and a botanical museum.
  • Pana'ewa Rain Forest Zoo showcases a variety of species and is situated in a beautiful rain forest.
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo Botanical Gardens provides a notable cycad collection, containing close to one hundred different species. It also includes palm tree varieties from all over the world.


Opportunities for surfing can be found on the island shores. The Richardson Ocean Park is popular for snorkeling and having a leisurely time on the beach. Four Mile is a notable location for swimming. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular at the excellent reefs off the coast.

Tourists enjoy exploring the Kaumana Caves. Charming shops are located on the Bayfront. The Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival offers steel guitar and ukulele music. The Merrie Monarch Festival features one of the worlds most prominent hula competitions. The Hilo Municipal Golf Course is situated in a lush setting.

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High Points

Hilo strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Hawaii):

Category Trophy
Affordability of Property Taxes
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Hilo Affordability of Property Taxes
Short Commute Times
(vs. State)
Top 9% Hilo Short Commute Times
Affordability of Rents
(vs. State)
Top 15% Hilo Affordability of Rents

Comparative Profile of Hilo, Hawaii

Comparing Hilo to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Hawaii (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Senior Citizens 9 9
Age of the Population 9 7
Male Share of the Population 7 2
Racial Diversity 6 6
Female Share of the Population 4 9
Well-Paid Single Men 4 6
Well-Paid Single Women 3 6
Children Under 5 Years Old 2 3


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 7 2
Portion of People Married 5 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 6 7
Median Family Income 5 4
People in Middle Class or Better 4 4
People Above Poverty 3 3

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Working at Home 9 7
Short Commute Times 9 10
Walking and Biking to Work 7 6
Public Transportation Use 2 4


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Affordability of Property Taxes 10 8
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 9 5
Affordability of Rents 8 9
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 7 8
Housing Recently Built 7 4
People Living Alone 4 9

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Hilo
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Hilo Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 209 miles SE of Honolulu, Hawaii
County Hawaii
Standard Zip Codes 96720
P.O. Box Zip Codes 96721
Phone Area Codes 808
Time Zone Hawaii (-10 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city does not observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 19.729
Longitude -155.09

Hilo Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.8 miles
Jan Temp 64 to 79 F
Apr Temp 66 to 79 F
Jul Temp 69 to 83 F
Oct Temp 69 to 83 F
Annual Precip 126.2 inches
Distance 23.5 miles
Jan Temp 50 to 68 F
Apr Temp 52 to 67 F
Jul Temp 55 to 72 F
Oct Temp 55 to 72 F
Annual Precip 107.3 inches
Station NAALEHU 14
Distance 56 miles
Jan Temp 62 to 77 F
Apr Temp 64 to 78 F
Jul Temp 67 to 81 F
Oct Temp 67 to 81 F
Annual Precip 48.3 inches
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Hilo
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Hilo Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 40,759 100%
Male 19,950 48.9%
Female 20,809 51.1%
Under 18 10,065 24.7%
18+ 30,694 75.3%
65+ 6,823 16.7%
Median Age 38.6
Average Family Size 3.19
White 6,976 17.1%
African-American 183 0.4%
Asian 15,610 38.3%
American Indian & Alaskan 137 0.3%
Other 385 0.9%
Mixed Race 12,120 29.7%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 3,579 8.8%

Hilo Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 80.8%
Portuguese 6.7%
English 2.1%
German 2%
Irish 1.3%
US/American 1.1%
Italian 1%
Norwegian 0.5%
Scottish 0.4%
Russian 0.4%
Swedish 0.4%
European 0.3%
French (except Basque) 0.3%
Polish 0.3%
Scotch-Irish 0.3%
Dutch 0.3%
British 0.2%
Danish 0.2%
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Hilo
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Hilo 40,759 $48,150
Honomu 541 $35,536
Kurtistown 1,157 $51,176
Mountain View 2,799 $33,750
Pahoa 962 $43,571
Papaikou 1,414 $40,446
Pepeekeo 1,697 $35,345

Hilo Hospitals

(Government - State)
(808) 974-4700
Emergency Service: Yes

Starbucks in Hilo

(As of 2005)
Hilo drive-thru
438 Kilauea Ave
Prince Kuhio Plaza
111 East Puainako St

Wal-mart in Hilo

(As of 2006)
325 Makaala St
(808) 961-9115
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Hilo
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Featured Colleges in the Hilo Area (QuickSchools™)

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

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Hilo High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

A Title I School.
Serves 1,511 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.7

Serves 1,292 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.8

A Charter School.
A Title I School.
Serves 131 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.1

A Charter School.
A Title I School.
Serves 97 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.9

Hilo Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Hawaii Community College

University of Hawaii at Hilo

(List of Hawaii Colleges)

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Hilo
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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Bartow, Florida 84.1   27.8% 16.9% 17% 21 $44,093 6.3% 34.1% 15,340 13.1% 61.8 0.8% 8.9
2. Foley, Alabama 81.6   27.7% 21.7% 15.5% 18 $38,427 6.4% 25.5% 7,590 11.5% 126 1% 12.3
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