Kauai’s population up

LIHUE —Kauai’s population is growing an average three people every day.

Between 2014 and 2015, Kauai County saw an average increase in population, which rose from 70,672 residents to 71,735 residents, and added 1,063 more people — a 1.5 percent increase, according to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kauai typically sees two births per day and two deaths per day, while two people move into the county per day, one from a foreign country and another from the Mainland.

More people on the island benefits all, said Diane Zachary, Kauai Planning & Action Alliance President and CEO.

Zachary said a variety of reasons exist to welcome and include those wanting to become part of the community.

“These people offer new talent and come with skills,” Zachary said. “It adds richness to the population. They may bring benefits. We want to diversify the economy. It will also be good for business.”

Reaching out to newcomers involves planning, the development of new housing and new opportunities as well as placing people in rentals, Zachary said.

“We’re working constantly with those few units and there’s turnover all the time,” said Phil Fudge, a Realtor with Kauai Landmark. “We’re always having vacancies. I’ve got like three vacancies. It allows you to be selective when you have that many people looking.”

Broken down, the census figures reveal that Kauai had a net migration of 696 between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Kauai also had 912 births and 624 deaths. In the course of five years, Kauai’s population rose from 67,090 to 71,735, or 6.9 percent.

Fudge said he’s not surprised at the population growth considering how many people decide they want to move to Kauai and are looking for rentals. Good paying jobs and jobs in general are at a premium. Although he doesn’t specialize in rentals, Fudge has about 40 to 50 rental units where he places tenants.

“People come here first as visitors,” he said. “They come here and think, ‘Oh my gosh. This might be a great place to stay or visit. Then they get a condo and decide they may come back retire here. Others figure they can work and do everything on the Internet.”

Kelly Libertore, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Makai Properties, said Kauai is seeing a real property shortage.

New people moving here are struggling to find rentals, she said.

“There is definitely a problem,” she said. “There is pressure. We’re hearing things like, “Can you help my friend find a rental?” They will take anything from the Westside from Lihue. You find a lot of people that share housing or they share with a friend. ‘You can stay with me.’ Eventually something will be open.”

The state’s population rose by 11,346, from 1,420,257 people in 2014 to 1,431,603 people in 2015.

Zachary said Kauai should welcome new residents in the spirit of aloha.

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