Census shows steady drop in young adult population

The total number of young adults, ages 20-34, is continuing to drop on Kaua’i, according to counts taken for the 2000 Census.

The median age of Kaua’i’s resident population on April 1, 2000 was 38.4. On April 1, 1990 the median age was about 34, and in 1985 the median age was 31.5. A median number is determined to be the middle number within a set of numbers, so an equal number of younger and older residents would fall above and below Kaua’i’s median age.

The loss of young adults to other places is a trend that is occurring elsewhere in rural areas of the United States as young residents leave for education and better work opportunities. On Kaua’i the counts also show an aging population, , and as the Baby Boomer generation approaches retirement, and a growing number of retirees move to Kaua’i. Legislative bills that would help pay college tuition for the young adult age group are being proposed in various states. Such a bill was introduced, but not approved, in this year’s legislative session in Hawai’i.

The moving away of this age group is a trend across Hawai’i, according to the 2000 Census.

On Kaua’i, the census count for 2000 showed 2,829 Kaua’i residents who were 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24, and 6,753 local residents from ages 25 through 34. The total count for these age groups as of April 1, 2000 was 9,582, or about 1,500 less than when the April 1990 census count was taken. On that date, these two age groups numbered 11,172. A federal county population estimate for July 1, 1985 showed 11,639 Kaua’i residents ages 20-34, showing slight growth over that five-year period.

Overall Kaua’i resident population census counts have grown over this 15-year time span. In 1985 the total resident population was estimated at 45,237. By April 1, 1990 the count was 51,177. While the devastation of Hurricane ‘Iniki set probably set back population growth, the Census 2000 count still grew to 58,463. Current estimates show a local population of over 59,000.

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