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Kalawao County, Hawaii

US county information
NameKalawao County
StateHawaii
Seatnone (administered by Hawaii Dept. of Health)
US Area
Total Area52.33 sq mi (135.5 km2)
Land Area13.21 sq mi (34.2 km2)
Water Area39.12 sq mi (101.3 km2)
Population90 (2010)
Density4/km2 (10.4/sq mi)
Founded1905
Congressional district2nd
Time zoneHawaii

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Kalawao County is a county located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The county is on the Kalaupapa or Makanalua Peninsula, on the north coast of the island of Moloka i. The small peninsula of Kalaupapa is isolated from the rest of Moloka i by sea cliffs over a quarter-mile high—the only land access is a mule trail.

Kalawao County is a separate county from the rest of Moloka i, which is part of Maui County. Maui County does not claim jurisdiction over the three villages of Kalaupapa, Kalawao, and Waikolu. Some maps, however, do not show Kalawao as a separate county.

The county does not have a county government, with the exception of a sheriff who is selected from local residents by the State Department of Health, which administers the county.

The county is coextensive with the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and encompasses the Kalaupapa Settlement where the Kingdom of Hawai i, the Republic of Hawai i, the territory, and the state once exiled persons suffering from leprosy (Hansen's disease) beginning in the 1860s. The quarantine policy was lifted in 1969, after the disease became treatable on an outpatient basis and could be rendered non-contagious. However, many of the resident patients chose to remain, and the state has promised they can stay there for the rest of their lives. No new patients, or other permanent residents, are admitted. Visitors are only permitted as part of officially sanctioned tours. State law prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from visiting or living there, although limited exceptions have been made for children seeing their relatives.

With a population of 90 at the 2010 census, Kalawao County's population is the second smallest of any county in the United States, ahead of only Loving County, Texas. Ranked by median household income, it is the poorest county in the United States.


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