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HONOLULU, Hawaii (November 28, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---The preliminary findings of the first census of Micronesians in Hawaii show that there are approximately 4,000 immigrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, 2,500 from the Marshall Islands, and 700 from Palau.

Citizens of the three Pacific nations, as a result of separate U.S. Compacts of Free Association, are permitted to freely enter Hawaii, Guam, and other U.S. areas to live and work.

The Hawaii census was conducted by the Honolulu-based Pacific Basin Development Council and the U.S. Bureau of the Census in association with the FSM, Marshalls, and Palau governments. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The data collected now are being analyzed.

In addition to determining the total number of Micronesians living in Hawaii, Council Executive Director Jerry Norris says the project also seeks information about their impact on the state's economy and social services.

At the time the United States entered into the Compacts, the U.S. Congress pledged to reimburse Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam for any adverse economic impacts of the Compacts, such as increased state spending to meet the immigrants' educational and medical needs. The Micronesian census, Norris noted, will determine if Hawaii is eligible for additional federal funding.

A full census report is expected to be released next month, he said.

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