Filipinos in Hawaii Article

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Total population
342,095 (22.8%) [1]
English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Visayan, other Philippine languages [2]
Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Muslim, Irreligion, Others
Related ethnic groups
Filipino American

People of Filipino descent make up a large and growing part of the State of Hawaii's population. In 2000 they were the third largest ethnic group and represented 22.8% of the population, [3] but more recent data indicates they have become the largest ethnicity in Hawaii (25.1% in 2010).

The Filipino and Hawaiian languages are distantly related to each other, being in the Malayo-Polynesian group of Austronesian languages.


Filipino immigrants, c. 1906

During the colonial era, the Spanish East Indies, which included the Philippine Islands, were administered as part of New Spain. It is likely, but not documented, that people from the Philippines visited the Hawaiian Islands en route to/from Mexico.

19th century

A few Filipinos, known as "Manila men" settled in the Kingdom of Hawaii during the 19th century. They mainly worked as cooks and musicians in the Royal Hawaiian Band. No deliberate migration existed during this period. [4]

Manila Men

The Manila Men were some of the first Filipino overseas workers. They were the first Filipinos to be documented having come to North America. [5]

Early 20th century

The importation of Filipino workers for the sugarcane plantations began between 1906 and 1910. By the 1920s Filipinos in Hawaii were still largely male, men outnumbered women by nearly seven to one, and unmarried. They represented, at one point, half of the workers in the sugar industry. Initially the Filipinos tended to be "peasants" of lower education than other groups. [6]

Filipino-American World War II veterans during Araw ng Kagitingan memorial ceremony, 2009

Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association

Many Filipino farm laborers were recruited to go to Hawaii in 1906 by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) to work on the sugar plantations in Hawaii. [7] Albert F. Judd, an HSPA recruiter tried to get three hundred Filipinos to work in Hawaii. Those Filipinos were sent to the Olaa Plantation on the Big Island of Hawaii [8]. The sugar industry was a booming at the time so the newly annexed countries of Hawai’i and the Philippines were used in concert to support the industry for the United States.

By the 1920s there was an average of 7,600 Filipinos arriving in Hawaii annually. [9] Most Filipinos considered themselves temporary residents in Hawaii until around the 1940s. The HSPA preferred Filipinos to work on sugar plantations because they were known to be hard working and were given the lowest wage of all ethnicities working in the plantation.

Impact on Hawaii's Working Class

Some Native Hawaiians worked alongside Filipinos in the sugar plantations. Since the sugar industry in Hawaii was the main source of income for the working class, there was high demand for these jobs. Sugar plantation employers were haole and used racist tactics to divide the plantation laborers. [10] American sugar plantation owners weren’t able to get Native Hawaiians to work for them so they relied heavily on the importation of other ethnicities. [8]

After 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 allowed more Filipinos to bring family to Hawaii and this allowed more Filipino arrivals, particularly Filipino women, to enter the state. The increase in arrivals also caused some backlash and in the 1970s Filipinos felt discriminated against. They also tended to do more poorly at schools than average in that decade. [11] The reasons why Filipino students underperformed in school in the 1970s is unknown, but discrimination may have contributed. In 1970, of the 93,915 Filipinos living in Hawaii, only 34.4% were high school graduates. [12]

Ethnic plurality

The 2010 census showed that Filipinos surpassed Japanese as Hawaii’s largest ethnic group. The total population of Filipinos was 342,095 of which 197,497 were full Filipinos, the total population of Japanese was 312,292 of which 185,502 were full Japanese. [13] [1] According to surveys conducted by the American Community Survey showed that Filipinos overtook Japanese between 2007 and 2008. [14]


  1. ^ a b Ben Gutierrez (17 June 2011). "Filipinos now second-largest racial group in Hawaii". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  2. ^ Magdelena, Federico V.; Aquino, Belinda A. (2010). "A Brief History of Filipinos in Hawaii". Center for Philippine Studies. University of Hawaii Manoa. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
    "The Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii" (PDF). Hawaii Economic Issues. State of Hawaii. 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  3. ^ Ethnicity and inequality in Hawaiʻi by Jonathan Y. Okamura
  4. ^ Why did Filipinos come to Hawaii? Many were lured by false promises of plantation work By Belinda A. Aquino. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Vol. 10, Issue 345 - Sunday, December 11, 2005
  5. ^ Prince, James A. (2014-10-04). "Notable Filipinos: Manila Men: The First Filipino Overseas Workers". Notable Filipinos. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  6. ^ The Filipino piecemeal sugar strike of 1924-1925, Volume 3 by John E. Reinecke, pgs 1-2
  7. ^ Star-Bulletin, Honolulu. " | Editorial | /2005/12/11/". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  8. ^ a b Bohulano Mabalon, Dawn (2013). Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 48. ISBN  978-0822353393.
  9. ^ "Labor Migration in Hawaii". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  10. ^ "Log In - ABI/INFORM Collection - ProQuest". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  11. ^ People and cultures of Hawaii: a psychocultural profile by John F. McDermott, Wên-Shing Tsêng, Thomas Maretzki, pg 171-181
  12. ^ Shepard, George (July 1974). "Population Profiles, Vol. 5: Demographic and Socioeconomic Profiles of the American Indian, Black, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Spanish Heritage, and White Populations of Washington State in 1970" (PDF). Education Resources Information Center. Washington Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  13. ^ Jennifer Sinco Kelleher (21 May 2011). "Census shows Hispanics grow presence in Hawaii". The Maui News. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  14. ^ Filipinos Overtake Japanese As Top Hawaii Group by Michael Levine

Further reading

  • Labrador, Roderick N. Building Filipino Hawai'i (University of Illinois Press; 2015) 170 pages