Census: Oahu has state's highest concentrations of rich and poor

Published: Dec. 4, 2015 at 10:03 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2015 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - New Census figures show just how concentrated pockets of wealth and poverty are in Hawaii.

Oahu had the starkest differences in income among residents, with both the state's wealthiest neighborhoods and the highest number of census tracts where more than 30 percent of people live below the poverty line.

"On Oahu, we have the richest and the poorest," said Eugene Tian, state economist.

Here are highlights from the five-year estimates (2009-2014):


Waialae Iki had the highest median household income -- at $163,636.

Diamond Head came in second at $134,636, and Kalaheo Avenue rounded out the top three, with a median household income of $133,011.

The state's median household income over the same period was $68,201.


The Linapuni Street Census tract in Kalihi had the highest concentration of poverty in the state, with 69 percent of residents living below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of residents in the Mayor Wright Housing census tract lived in poverty, the second-highest concentration. Coming in third was Hilo's Villa Franca-Kaikoo tract, where 43 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

By comparison, the state's poverty rate for the same period was 11.3 percent.

In 2015, a family of four was living in poverty in Hawaii if they earned $27,890 or less.

Linapuni Street also had the percentage of family poverty – at 58 percent. Statewide, 7.8 percent of families lived in poverty over the same period.

In an analysis of the Census estimates, the state pointed out that of the 17 Census tracts in the state where 30 percent of residents or more live in poverty, 10 are on Oahu, six are on Hawaii Island, and one is on Maui.


There were 11 Census tracts in the state where the median value of owner-occupied housing units topped $1 million.

They included Portlock and Waialae Iki on Oahu, Haena on Kauai and Wailea on Maui. (Eight of the 11 tracts were on Oahu.)

Meanwhile, the statewide average value was $504,500.


There were seven Census tracts where 100 percent of residents had a high school degree, and many communities topped 98 percent.

Statewide, 91 percent of residents had a high school degree.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of Hawaii residents had a college degree.

In the Schofield Forest Reserve Census tract, 100 percent of residents said they had a college degree. Wailalae Iki had the second-highest rate, with 75 percent of residents reporting they had a college education.


One-fourth of Hawaii residents spoke a language other than English over the period.

Among the Census tracts with the highest percentages of residents who spoke a language other than English: Mayor Wright Housing, Linapuni Street, Umi Street, Chinatown and Palama.

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