Waimea, Hawaii

According to Allpubliclibraries, Waimea is an idyllic city located in the Northwestern region of Hawaii Island. It is situated at the foot of Kohala Mountain and overlooks the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Geographically, Waimea has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging between 75-85 degrees F year-round. Rainfall is common in the area, with an average of 70 inches per year.

The history of Waimea dates back to 1790 when King Kamehameha I established his first capital on the island. In 1809, Kamehameha moved his court to Kailua-Kona and Waimea became a major center for cattle ranching and sugar plantations. This period saw great growth in the city, which eventually became a bustling commercial hub for exports and imports.

Politically, Waimea is part of Hawaii County and is represented by one representative in the state senate and two representatives in the house of representatives. The city also has its own mayor who is elected every four years by its citizens. The current mayor is Harry Kim who was elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020.

Economically, Waimea relies heavily on agriculture as its primary source of income; however, tourism has become increasingly important as well over recent years with more people visiting from all over the world to enjoy its natural beauty. Additionally, Waimea’s proximity to Kona International Airport makes it an ideal location for businesses that need easy access to international markets or services.

The city boasts some excellent schools including Parker School, which offers education from kindergarten through grade 12; University Of Hawaii – Hilo; and North Hawai’i Education & Research Center which provides educational resources for students throughout Hawaii Island.

Waimea’s landmarks include Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site which was built by King Kamehameha I; historic Mauna Kea Observatory where astronomers can observe distant galaxies; Kahilu Theatre which hosts theatrical performances as well as musical events; and Kamuela Museum which showcases Hawaiian culture and history through exhibits and interactive displays.

Population: 7,028
Males: 3,467 (49.3%), Females: 3,561 (50.7%)

Zip code: 96796

Median resident age: 36.5 years
Median household income: $51,150
Median house value: $196,100

Races in Waimea:

  • Two or more races (32.2%)
  • White Non-Hispanic (28.8%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (15.6%)
  • Filipino (9.0%)
  • Japanese (8.7%)
  • Hispanic (7.8%)
  • American Indian (2.8%)
  • Other Asian (1.3%)
  • Chinese (0.9%)
  • Other race (0.7%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)

Ancestries: English (7.6%), German (7.1%), Portuguese (6.7%), Irish (6.2%), Norwegian (2.7%), Swedish (2.1%).

Land area: 38.7 square miles

Waimea, Hawaii



Waimea, Hawaii is located on the Big Island’s western side and is home to approximately 8,000 people. The population of Waimea is diverse and includes Native Hawaiians, Caucasians, Asians, Pacific Islanders and other ethnicities. The area has a rich cultural history as evidenced by its Hawaiian name which means “reddish water” in reference to the red soil found in the area.

The economy of Waimea is largely based on agriculture, particularly cattle ranching and coffee production. The town is known for its local produce stands that sell freshly grown fruits and vegetables from nearby farms. Additionally, Waimea has become a growing tourist destination due to its proximity to Mauna Kea Observatory as well as its beaches, hiking trails and other outdoor activities. It also hosts numerous festivals throughout the year such as the Merrie Monarch Festival which celebrates traditional hula dancing.

In recent years Waimea has experienced significant growth due to an influx of new residents from other parts of Hawaii as well as from mainland United States. This growth has led to an increase in housing prices as well as new businesses opening up in town. As a result, there are now more job opportunities available for both locals and newcomers alike. Despite this growth, however, Waimea still retains much of its small-town charm with its friendly locals and laid-back atmosphere making it an ideal place for those seeking a slower pace of life away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.

For population 25 years and over in Waimea

  • High school or higher: 88.6%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 27.1%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 10.1%
  • Unemployed: 2.9%
  • Mean travel time to work: 25.3 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Waimea CDP

  • Never married: 28.6%
  • Now married: 55.2%
  • Separated: 1.3%
  • Widowed: 4.9%
  • Divorced: 10.1%

10.2% Foreign born (6.5% Asia, 1.5% Europe).


Hospital/medical center in Waimea:


Other hospitals/medical centers near Waimea:

  • HALE HO’OLA HAMAKUA (about 11 miles; HONOKAA, HI)
  • KOHALA HOSPITAL (about 17 miles; KAPAAU, HI)


Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Waimea:

  • KONA INTL AT KEAHOLE (about 34 miles; KAILUA/KONA, HI; Abbreviation: KOA)
  • HILO INTERNATIONAL (about 48 miles; HILO, HI; Abbreviation: ITO)
  • KAHULUI (about 80 miles; KAHULUI, HI; Abbreviation: OGG)

Other public-use airports nearest to Waimea:

  • WAIMEA-KOHALA (about 3 miles; KAMUELA, HI; Abbreviation: MUE)
  • UPOLU (about 21 miles; HAWI, HI; Abbreviation: UPP)
  • HANA (about 58 miles; HANA, HI; Abbreviation: HNM)

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Waimea:

  • UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT HILO (about 44 miles; HILO, HI; Full-time enrollment: 2,434)
  • KAPIOLANI COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 173 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 4,131)
  • UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA (about 175 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 14,113)
  • HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY (about 177 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 6,186)
  • HONOLULU COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 178 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 2,787)
  • LEEWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 187 miles; PEARL CITY, HI; Full-time enrollment: 3,511)
  • BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY-HAWAII CAMPUS (about 194 miles; LAIE, HI; Full-time enrollment: 2,273)


Public high school in Waimea:

  • WAIMEA HIGH SCHOOL (Students: 863; Location: 9707 TSUCHIYA ROAD; Grades: 09 – 12)

Public primary/middle schools in Waimea:

  • WAIMEA CANYON ELEMENTARY & INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL (Students: 562; Location: 9555 HUAKAI ROAD; Grades: KG – 08)
  • NIIHAU HIGH & ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Students: 24; Location: NIIHAU; Grades: KG – 12)

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