Many peoples with different cultural backgrounds have contributed to the present population of the Hawaiian Islands. There has been much intermarriage between the diverse groups that have fused, until Hawaii is frequently cited as an example of a successful melting pot for races. The number of pure-blood native Hawaiians has declined pretty steadily since the discovery of the islands by Captain Cook. However, the number of part-Hawaiians has been increasing for many years, and they now greatly outnumber the full Hawaiians.
Settlers came to Hawaii for various reasons. Americans and Europeans came first as traders and missionaries; and their descendants, along with more recent immigrants, to a great extent manage the plantations, big ranches, banks, factories, mills, and large mercantile establishments. Need for laborers on the sugar plantations account for most of the immigration of Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and a few from other Pacific islands. Descendants of these former plantation workers now are found operating small farms, running thousands of retail stores, and engaging in service, clerical, and professional occupations.
The population has been increasing since about 1875, and it more than tripled between 1900 and 1950, according to the census, which was taken every 6 years from 1860 to 1900, after which it has been taken every 10 years.