Western diseases, to which Hawaiians had no immunity, decimated their numbers. At the time of western contact, well over 500,000 people inhabited the Hawaiian Islands.
By 1805 that number had been more than halved.
By 1853 there were only 71,000 Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian people in the islands.
Within 100 years of western contact, the Hawaiian population had been reduced by nearly 90 percent.
According to the 2000 census, the numbers of people who claim some native Hawaiian ancestry have increased to over 400,000. But only 239,000 live in Hawai`i and they are the poorest, most locked-up population in the state.
Although they only make up about 20 percent of the state's population, in June 2001 they made up 39 percent of the state's prison population, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
Sadly, today they make up 37 percent of the state's homeless population.
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