Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics of Hawaii Population by Selected Races

Honolulu Skyline (Photo courtesy of UHERO)
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Honolulu Skyline (Photo courtesy of UHERO)

By Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian – The U.S. Census Bureau released data on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of population by selected races today. The data are tabulated from the Bureau’s American Community Survey conducted between 2006 and 2010.  Data represent the average of the five years surveyed.  During the 2006-2010 period, the Census Bureau surveyed a total of 37,358 households in Hawaii, an average of 7,472 households per year, representing 7.3% of Hawaii’s total households, covered about 7.3 % of Hawaii’s resident population.

Following are the summary of major indicators for Hawaii.  The findings are based on selected “race alone and in combination” groups in the State of Hawaii – White; Black or African American; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Vietnamese; Native Hawaiian; and Samoan.


Social Characteristics

  •      87.6% of Samoan households were family household, ranked #1 among all the race groups, followed by Filipino at 82.8%, and Native Hawaiian at 77.1%.
  •      In terms of % of households with children, Samoan households also ranked #1 with 67.0% of them having children (under 18 years of age) in their households.  A little over half (51%) of the Filipino households have children.
  •      40.9% of the Japanese households had people 65 years or above and ranked on top of all the racial groups.  30.8% of the Filipino households had aged persons and was above the state average of 28.8%.
  •      Samoan households had the largest size at an average of 4.6 persons per household, followed by Filipino households at 4.03 persons, and Native Hawaiians at 3.46 persons per household.
  •      The average birth per year during the 2006-2010 period was 18,847, about 41% or 7,730 of the births were given by White or part White women.  5,344 births per was given by Filipinos and 4,944 were given by Native Hawaiians.
  •      Whites has the highest % of people with bachelor’s degree or higher.  35% of the Whites 25 years or above had at least a bachelor’s degree; Japanese ranked #2 with 34.9%, and #3 was Chinese with 31.1%.  Samoans had the lowest % of college degree at only 8.8%.
  •      About 15% of the Hawaii households moved their residence each year.  26.7% of the Blacks moved their homes each year.  19.1% of the Whites changed their home each year.  The Vietnamese had the least mobility with 91.9% of the household stayed at the same residence.
  •      57.7% of the Vietnamese in Hawaii were born outside of the United States; 36.6% of the Koreans were foreign born and 32.4% of the Filipinos were born in a foreign country.
  •      Of the foreign born population, 43.6% were holding foreign passport, Filipinos are the largest group with nearly 37,000 of them were non-U.S. citizen.
  •      75.7% of the Vietnamese 5 years of age or above speak a language other than English at home; Koreans and Samoans were the other groups that speak a language other than English at home with 44.4% and 44.3%, respectively.

Economic Characteristics

  •      Blacks had the highest civilian unemployment rate during the 5 year period at 9.4%, followed by the Native Hawaiians and the Samoans both at 9.1% unemployment.
  •      10% of the Samoan workers used public transportation to go to work; 9.8% of the Filipino workers and 8.7% of the Vietnamese workers used public transportation to commute to work.
  •      White, Japanese, and Black are the top three groups in terms of % of workers in the management, business, science, and arts occupations at 38.4%. 38.4%, and 37.0%, respectively.
  •      15.6% of the Vietnamese in Hawaii were self employed, 11% of the Whites, and 9.9% of the Koreans were self-employed.  Samoans has the least percentage of self-employed persons at only 0.9%.
  •      Filipino households had the highest median household income at $71,446 a year; followed by Japanese at $70,808 and Chinese at $67,082.  Vietnamese had the lowest median household income at $41,582.
  •      In terms of family income, Japanese families ranked #1 at $88,651 a year, followed by White at $78,174 and Chinese at $77,411.
  •      White had the highest per capita income at $31,422, followed by Japanese at $30,875 and Chinese at $25,065.  Samoans had the lowest per capita income at $13,319.
  •      Samoans had the highest poverty rate during the 5 years with 17.3% of them having income below the poverty line, followed by the Vietnamese at 15.9% and the Native Hawaiians at 12.1%.  Japanese had the lowest poverty rate with only 5.3%.

Housing Characteristics

  •      Japanese had the highest home ownership at 74.6% during the 2006-2010 period, followed by the Chinese at 62.4%, and the Filipino at 61.4%.  Samoans had the lowest home ownership at only 26.3%.
  •      21.5% of the Vietnamese households did not have any vehicles, 13.3% of the Korean households, and 11% of the Chinese households did not own any vehicles.
  •      Median homeowner cost was the highest among Vietnamese at $2,489 a month including a mortgage; followed by the Blacks at $2,421 and the Whites at $2,363. Native Hawaiian home owners pay the least at $1,950 a month.
  •      Black renters paid the highest rent at $1,740 a month, followed by White renters at $1,465 and Samoans renters at $1,161.

Source:  Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Research and Economic Analysis Division.