New state report shows wide disparities in income, homeownership by race

New state report shows wide disparities in income, homeownership by race

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About 57 percent of Hawaii residents own their homes, which is one of the lowest homeownership rates in the nation.

But that's not the full story.

A new state analysis of Census figures shows homeownership varies widely by ethnic group.

Homeownership was lowest among those of Marshallese ancestry (7.7 percent), the report found, and highest among those who identified as Okinawan (77 percent).

The analysis was aimed at underscoring the diversity in the islands, but it also pointed to disparities between racial and ethnic groups.

Nearly a fourth of Hawaii residents identify as multi-racial, the analysis found. That compares to just 3 percent nationally.

"We have the most diversified culture, workforce, and lifestyle among all the states in the nation," said state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Luis P. Salaveria, in a news release.

"This gives us an advantage in terms of international trade and tourism by supplying the diversified workforce and providing a wide variety of food and cultural activities. At the same time, there is more demand for government and private services, especially in the areas of education and health care."

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • The median age in Hawaii is 38. Of the groups studied, Japanese had the oldest median age (44) and Marshallese had the youngest (18).
  • About one third of all Hawaii households have at least one child. Also, about one third had at least one senior 65 or older.
  • The median household income in Hawaii over the period (2011-2015) was $69,515. Of the top five largest race groups, Filipinos had the highest household income and Native Hawaiians had the lowest.
  • Poverty rates varied widely by racial groups. Of the five largest race groups, Japanese had the lowest poverty rate (6.6 percent), while Native Hawaiians had the largest (16 percent). Meanwhile, more than half of those who identified as Marshallese lived in poverty.

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