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The CHANGE Framework

Community & Economy

Community & Economy

Hawaii deserves a diverse and growing economy that allows people to earn incomes and build assets while also affording opportunities for a good quality of life.

Hawaii Business Change Reports

Hawaii Business Magazine

Community & Economy

Read the February edition of the Hawaii Business Magazine's Change Reports on Community & Economy in our state.

Indicator: Income and Work
Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate and the fourth highest median household income in the country. However, Hawaii also has the highest cost of living in the nation, below-average wages, and job growth comprised of predominantly low-wage jobs. The combined force of these and other factors means that nearly half of Hawaii’s families are not earning enough to cover their basic living expenses, and this number has increased since 2007. (Aloha United Way, ALICE: A Study of Financial Hardship in Hawaii, 2018)

Data point

  • 62% of all jobs in Hawaii pay less than $20 an hour, with more than two-thirds of those paying less than $15 an hour.

Data point
ALICE represents households that are Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed. Eleven percent of Hawaii’s households are below the poverty level but an additional 38 percent earn incomes that are insufficient to cover basic expenses.

Change Framework Graph 01

Source: American Community Survey and the ALICE Threshold, 2015

Summary
The basic cost of living in Hawaii outpaces wages, making it difficult for individuals and families to be self-sustaining and able to get ahead.

Efforts underway

Related sources

Housing Affordability
Housing is the largest portion of expenses for many families in Hawaii. 42% of Hawaii homeowners pay more than 30% of their income on housing and the burden is higher for those who rent—51% of renting households in Hawaii spend more than 30% of their income on rent. When housing and transportation costs are combined, virtually all moderate-income households on Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui are cost-burdened.

Change Framework Graph 02

Source:

Data point

  • The state will need at least 28,000 units to meet the total housing demand; two-thirds of them need to be affordable. (2011 Hawaii Housing Planning Study)

Change Framework Graph 03

Source:

Summary
The number of affordable and available housing units in Hawaii does not come close to meeting the need. The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism projects that the state will need an additional 66,000 housing units between 2015 and 2025, yet Hawaii’s housing stock has been increasing at a rate of only 1,115 units per year. Seventy-four percent of the demand for housing is for households earning $75,000 or less per year.

Efforts underway

  • A new affordable housing coalition is being formed by Hawaiian Community Assets, Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development, and Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Related sources

Indicator: Wealth and Assets
Between 1990 and 2016, Hawaii experienced a 23 percent increase in the number of low-wage jobs, while the number of middle- and high-wage jobs rose by 20 and 18 percent respectively. When workers’ wages cannot keep up with their expenses, they cannot save or build for retirement or emergencies. The good news is that Hawaii has the highest percentage of any state of employed people who have at least something saved for retirement.

Data point

  • Fewer than 66% of Hawaii residents have at least $1,000 saved and 47% have $0 in savings.

Graph
Percent of families living below the federal poverty level (from lowest/light 3.4% to highest/dark 30.5% by House legislative districts, 2017)

Change Framework Graph 04

Source: Hawaii Wellbeing Data Project

Summary
Many Hawaii residents are extremely vulnerable when unplanned expenses and emergencies occur, especially medical emergencies.

Efforts underway

Related sources

Indicator: Community-Based Economic Development
A diversified economy is more resilient to impacts of recession and can recover more quickly. In 2016, the five leisure and hospitality-related sectors accounted for 42 percent of all private sector jobs and they paid an average wage of less than $32,000. This underscores Hawaii’s need for economic diversity and the creation of jobs that cover the state’s high cost of living.

Data points

  • Hawaii’s Gross Domestic Product is $88.1 billion (2017) with tourism now accounting for 19% of all economic activity in the state (increased since 2013).
  • By 2045, Hawaii’s population will be 1.65 million – 15% more than the current population.

Change Framework Graph 05

Source: http://hsdc.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/HBR-Innovation-Assets-Report.pdf

Data points

  • Regional economies are drivers of innovation, growth, and jobs. However, when a region is overly reliant on only one sector for growth, the economy can suffer due to this lack of diversity. Hawaii Green Growth tracks the growth across the state’s different business sectors.

Change Framework Graph 06

Source: https://dashboard.hawaii.gov/en/stat/goals/5xhf-begg/nmui-ua2k/2z4n-22mb

Indicator: Small Businesses
There are 129,000 small businesses in Hawaii employing 271,000 people. Native Hawaiians own 13,000 businesses – 30% of which are tourism-related.

Change Framework Graph 07

Source: http://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/Native_Hawaiian_Owned_Business_in_Tourism.pdf

Summary
Hawaii small businesses employ 52% of the total workforce in the state.

Efforts underway

Other Sources

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