Hoʻokahua Waiwai, Economic Self-Sufficiency: To have choices and a sustainable future, Native Hawaiians will progress towards greater economic self-sufficiency. Learn more about the work we do at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to create systemic change in Hoʻokahua Waiwai, Economic Self-Sufficiency.


Hawai‘i has the highest cost of living in the country, while Native Hawaiians have the lowest median family income in the state. Several factors contribute to Native Hawaiians’ lower incomes including larger household and family sizes and the attainment of fewer higher-education degrees. In 2011, the Median Family Income of Native Hawaiian and part-Hawaiians was $69,522 – 93.6% of the MFI of all Hawaiʻi residents. While Native Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian MFI rose 2.7% ($1,840) in 2011, the Hawaiʻi statewide MFI dipped slightly, resulting in a smaller gap between the two in 2011.

The Median Family Income, or MFI, provides a population measure of average family income in which 50% of incomes are higher, and 50% of incomes are lower. Income includes all earnings, assistance payments and pensions for a 12 month period, for all those in the family who are age 15 or older. For this strategic result, MFI data of Native Hawaiian and PartHawaiian is divided by the comparable Hawaiʻi State MFI statistic.Native Hawaiian median family income will equal 100% or greater than the Statewide median family income: 92% or greater than the Statewide median family income by 2018.

Comparison of Median Monthly Mortgage Cost and Housing Affordability for Native Hawaiians by Family Type in Hawai`i

State of Hawaiʻi Population by Race/Ethnicity: 2011


To support Native Hawaiians building stability in their economic self-sufficiency, OHA solicits proposals every biennium to provide services that increase the percent of Native Hawaiian who improve their capacity to own or rent a home. In the years 2014-2015, OHA is working with four community organizations to specifically provide services to increase stability in housing for Native Hawaiians so they may be able to progress toward long-term economic self-sufficiency.

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Native Nations Education Foundation, Parents and Children Together, and the University of Hawaii currently provide more than 312 Native Hawaiians with career pathway assistance services to prepare and assist low and moderate income, underemployed, unemployed, or displaced Native
Hawaiians increase their incomes by expanding knowledge, skills, and abilities through completion of high school equivalency, vocational training, and/or two-year degree programs.

The target population for these services are persons of Native Hawaiian ancestry whose household income is at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Hawai‘i in 2014.

To enhance access for all persons of Native Hawaiian ancestry to credit, capital, and financial services & skills so as to create jobs, wealth, and economic & social well-being for all the people of Hawai‘i, our Mālama Loan Program supports business, home imporvement, education, and debt consolidation.


Family income is often determined by steady earning from full-time employment. The following chart tracks County unemployment rates by weekly unemployment payments, whether or not benefits are actually paid.



American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing statistical survey by the U.S. Census Bureau sent to approximately 250,000 addresses monthly (or 3 million per year).
Family: A group of two or more people who reside together and who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).
Household: A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit as their usual place of residence (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).
Income: "Total income" is the sum of the amounts reported separately for wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips; self-employment income from own nonfarm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement income; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office; retirement, survivor, or disability pensions; and any other sources of income received regularly such as Veterans' payments, unemployment compensation, child support, or alimony (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).
Median Income: The amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above the median, half having incomes below the median. This includes the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of households and families including those with no income. Median income for households, families, and individuals is computed on the basis of a standard distribution. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).
Native Hawaiian: Any descendant of the aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands which exercised sovereignty and subsisted in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, and which peoples thereafter have continued to reside in Hawaiʻi.
 Code used for selecting statistics was #062: Native Hawaiian (alone or in any combination (ACS Code #602) 500-503) & (100-299) or (300, A01-Z99) or (400-999).


U.S. Census Bureau (2013).

OHA Research Disclaimer. The data presented have been vetted for accuracy; however, there is no warranty that it is error-free. The data itself does not represent or confer any legal rights of any kind. Please use suggested citation and report discrepancies to the OHA Research Division.


OHA ESS Indicator Sheet, Median Family Income 2013

OHA ESS Indicator Sheet, Median Family Income 2012

For more interesting data relating to Hoʻokahua Waiwai, Economic Self-Sufficiency, please see the OHA Native Hawaiian Data Book.