Hilo is the largest census-designated place (CDP) and the largest settlement on the Island of Hawaiʻi, also known as the County of Hawaiʻi. The population was 40,759 at the 2000 census. The population increased by 6.1% to 43,263 at the 2010 census.
Hilo is the county seat of the County of Hawaiʻi and is located in the District of South Hilo. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, situated upon two shield volcanoes; Mauna Loa, an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and the site of the world's most important ground-based astronomical observatories.
Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula which takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. It is served by Hilo International Airport, located inside the CDP.
Hilo is one of the least expensive Hawaiian cities to live in; it has a median house and condo price of $294,909. While they tend to be more expensive than homes on the mainland, homes in Hilo are around 40% less expensive than those in the rest of Hawaii.