REPORT: Hawai‘i Has Most Diversified Culture, Workforce, Lifestyles

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The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, which shows the different lifestyles among the 14 top race groups in Hawai‘i.

The report is called “Demographic, Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics for Selected Race Groups in Hawaii.”

“We have the most diversified culture, workforce and lifestyle among all the states in the nation,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This gives us an advantage in terms of international trade and tourism by supplying the diversified work force and providing a wide variety of food and cultural activities. At the same time, there are more demand for government and private services, especially in the areas of education and healthcare.”

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian noted that the Pacific Islander groups (Samoan, Marshallese, Guamanian or Chamorro, and Tongan) have significantly larger household sizes, higher poverty rates, higher unemployment rates, lower home ownership and lower per capita income. Population in these groups are the youngest in the state.


Some highlights from this report are:

  • Nearly a fourth, 23.7%, of Hawai‘i’s population identified as multiracial during the 2011-15 period while the share of multiracial population in the U.S. was 3% during the same time period.
  • The top five “race alone or in combination” groups were: White (43%) Filipino (25%), Japanese (22.1%), Native Hawaiian (21.3%) and Chinese (14.1%). An estimated 57% of the total population was non-white.
  • The median age in Hawai‘i was 38-years-old. Of the groups studied, Japanese had the oldest median age at 43.9 years, and the Marshallese had the youngest median age at 18.5.
  • 53.8% of the population living in Hawai‘i during the 2011-15 period was born in Hawai‘i. Native Hawaiians had the largest share of native-born population. The Marshallese had the largest share of foreign-born population.
  • An estimated 33.5% of all households had at least one child living in it, and an estimated 32.5% of households had at least one person 65 or older living in it.
  • More than 95 percent of the White, Japanese, Black or African American, and Okinawan populations in Hawai‘i had at least a high school diploma during the 2011-15 period.
  • Blacks or African Americans aged 16 and older had the highest rates of labor force participation in Hawai‘i. Okinawans had the lowest civilian unemployment rate during the 2011-15 period.
  • One-tenth, 10.4%, of civilian workers in Hawai‘i were self-employed during the 2011-15 period. The Vietnamese had the highest rates of self-employment.
  • The median household income in Hawai‘i was $69,515. Of the top five largest race groups in Hawai‘i, Filipinos had the highest household income and Native Hawaiians had the lowest.
  • An estimated 7.7% of families in Hawai‘i lived in poverty during the 2011-15 period. An estimated 11.2% of all people in Hawai‘i lived in poverty.
  • Homeownership rates in Hawai‘i were among the lowest in the nation. An estimated 56.9% of homes in Hawai‘i were owner-occupied while the U.S. home ownership was 63.9%. Only three race groups had homeownership rates greater than the national average: Okinawans (77.3%t), Japanese (73.6%) and Chinese (64.1%).

The statistics in the report are based on the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-15 American Community Survey, special tabulation by race groups, and this data set is the latest available for the selected race groups.

The report is available online.



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