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The five counties of Hawaii on the Hawaiian Islands enjoy somewhat greater status than many counties on the United States mainland. Counties in Hawaii are the only legally constituted government bodies below that of the state. No formal level of government (such as city governments) exists below that of the county in Hawaii. (Even Honolulu is governed as the City and County of Honolulu, a county that covers the entire island of Oahu.) Unlike the other 49 states, Hawaii does not delegate educational responsibility to local school boards; public education is carried out by the Hawaii State Department of Education. Hawaiian counties collect property taxes and user fees in order to support road maintenance, community activities, parks (including life guards at beach parks), garbage collection, police (the state police force, called the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, is limited in scope), ambulance, and fire suppression services. All the counties were created in 1905 from unorganized territory, seven years after the Territory of Hawaii was created. The county of Kalawao is used exclusively as a leper colony, and does not have many of the elected officials the other counties do.
The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify counties, is provided with each entry. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.
|Hawaii County||001||Hilo||1905||Island of Hawai'i, with which the county is coterminous; said to be named for Hawaiiloa, a legendary Polynesian navigator.||Hawaii||185,079||4,028 sq mi|
( 10,432 km2)
|Honolulu County||003||Honolulu||1905||"Sheltered bay" or "place of shelter" in Hawaiian language, Named after Honolulu, the capital and largest city in Hawaii.||Oahu, minor outlying islands beyond Niʻihau, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (except Midway Atoll.)||953,207||597 sq mi|
( 1,546 km2)
|Kalawao County||005||1905||The village of Kalawao on the island of Molokaʻi, which lies within its boundaries.||Molokaʻi (only Kalaupapa Peninsula and small adjacent areas)||90||5.2 sq mi|
( 13 km2)
|Kauai County||007||Lihue||1905||Kauai Island, the largest of the islands in the county; name possibly derived from Kaua'i, the eldest son of Hawaiʻiloa.||Kauaʻi, Niʻihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula||67,091||622 sq mi|
( 1,611 km2)
|Maui County||009||Wailuku||1905||Maui Island, the largest of the islands in the county; named for Māui, a demigod from native mythology.||Maui, Kahoolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokai (except for a portion of Molokai that comprises Kalawao County), and Molokini||154,834||1,120 sq mi|
( 2,901 km2)