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Kauai, also known as the “Garden Isle,” is oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and the fourth largest island, measuring 552 square miles. It was the last island to be conquered by King Kamehameha I.

Kauai has a population of about 69,691 with a median household income of $65,101, the third highest income among the major islands. According to a 2016 U.S. Census Report, the median age of residents on the island was 39.4 years with 77.5 percent of the population aged 18 or older. Kauai is divided into five main regions: Lihue, the East Side (Coconut Coast), the North Shore, the South Shore and the West Side.

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For the 2010 midterm elections, incumbent Bernard Carvalho won his re-election bid for mayor in a landslide, receiving 77 percent of the vote. His challenger, Diana LaBedz received 16 percent (about 7 percent of ballots were left blank).


Kauai is roughly circular in shape. Almost half of its shoreline is covered with beaches. The island is the 21st largest island in the United States and is located about 105 miles northwest of Oahu.

One of Kauai’s most prominent features is the Napali Coast, on the island’s north shore. Spanning 17 miles, the shoreline features rugged terrain, cliffs, and waterfalls and is a major tourist attraction. There is only one way to access the Napali Coast by land: an 11-mile hike beginning at Kee Beach and finishing at Kalalau Beach. Most see the Nepali Coast by boat.

Kauai’s highest peak is Mt. Kawaikini at 5,243 feet above sea level. Mt. Waialeale, in the center of the island, is often considered the wettest spot on earth with about 460 inches of annual rainfall.


In King Kamehameha I’s quest to unite all of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai for a long time remained a thorn in Kamehameha’s side. The king launched two separate attacks on Kaui – whole armadas of ships and canoes – and failed both times. His force was first driven back by a storm and the second time, reportedly by sickness. Eventually, Kauai’s King Kaumualii, decided to submit peacefully, allowing the island to fall under Kamehameha’s rule.

Kamehameha became known as “Kamehameha the Great” and would thereafter establish diplomatic ties with Westerners. The Kingdom of Hawaii was officially established in 1810.

In 1835, the first sugar mill on Kauai opened in Old Koloa Town. Sugar became the predominant industry for the island in the 19th century, lasting well into the 20th century until tourism replaced agriculture as the island’s main industry.


Of Kauai’s employed population 17,100 worked in management, professional, or related occupations. About 7,764 worked in sales and office work and 9,868 were in service occupations. There were 3,828 in construction, maintenance or repair work  and 2,576 were employed by production, transportation or material moving businesses.

While private industry employed the bulk of Kauai’s population, the report found that 15 percent worked for federal, state or local government agencies. The rest were self-employed.

The average commute time to work for Kauai residents was 19.2 minutes. About 78 percent of workers drove to work alone, 12 percent carpooled and the rest used public transportation, other means or worked from home.

As of 2916, Kauai’s unemployment rate was 3.0% percent.

Of the 22,405 households in Kauai County, the median income was $62,359.

Eleven percent of Kauai residents lived in poverty in 2016.


According to the U.S. Census, the average household size on Kauai was 2.8 people. The majority of Kauai residents, 58 percent, were born in Hawaii.

Families made up 71 percent of the households in Kauai. For residents over the age of five, 18 percent spoke a language other than English at home.

About 89 percent of Kauai residents over the age of 25 had earned a high school diploma while only 24 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Between 2006 and 2008, there were 13,000 Kauai residents enrolled in schools: 1,400 in nurseries or kindergarten, 9,800 in elementary or high school and 2,200 in college or graduate school.

One of the main institutions of higher learning on Kauai is the Kauai Community College:

Kauai Community College
3-1901 Kaumuali´i Highway
Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 245-8311

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