As is the case with employment figures, income levels are closely related to educational attainment. The economic advancement of native Hawaiians has been relatively slow compared with that of the major immigrant groups in Hawaii. This fact may reflect the continuation of traditional values, in which accumulation of money does not figure prominently, as Adams noted (see above, page 49). Although their median income in 1949 was slightly above that recorded for all males, the proportion of Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians in the lowest income class was notably above that of any of the major immigrant groups. Other evidence indicates that pure Hawaiians, even more disproportionately than part-Hawaiians, were represented in the lowest income levels. 53/
The 1970 Census shows that by 1969 all groups had improved their economic situation (see Table 20). The median income for Hawaiians was still below that for Chinese and Japanese, but it was higher than the median income of the "all races" group, the Caucasian group, and the Filipinos. The proportion of native Hawaiians in the lower income groups also improved. These figures may be misleading, however, as pointed out in several comments received by the Commission, 54/ since military income is included in Caucasian income, lowering the range. One writer notes that a more accurate picture can be obtained from the 1975 Census Update Survey, which shows that Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian personal income was below both the Caucasian and State-wide figures. 55/ Another source of data confirms this latter statement. The Hawaii Health Surveillance Program results show that in 1977, the median family income of civilians in Hawaii for selected ethnic groups was as follows: 56/
|Pure Hawaiian||$ 9,278|
Poverty Level and Welfare
Statistics from the State Department of Health show that 41,483 native Hawaiians, or about 27 percent, were classified as below the poverty level in Hawaii in 1975 (see Table 21).
The number of native Hawaiians in certain welfare categories far exceeds their relative share of the population. In 1982, while native Hawaiians comprised 12 percent of the total State population, they made up 30.8 percent of those in the AFDC-UP category (see Table 22). In the general assistance category, 22.1 percent were native Hawaiians and native Hawaiians comprised 15.2 percent of the food stamps program. However, native Hawaiians comprised 10.7 percent of the medical category and thus were underrepresented when compared to their population share. */
The State of Hawaii Department of Social Services and Housing notes that these figures may lead to a different conclusion than that many native Hawaiians are on welfare:
- If welfare is based upon need (i.e., in accordance with strict Federal and State guidelines),
*/ The figures presented in this paragraph were submitted by the Hawaii State Department of Social Services and Housing. The population figures used are from the U.S. Census. If State of Hawaii population figures had been used, native Hawaiians would comprise 18.9 percent of the population and thus be under-represented in both the "food stamps" and "medical" categories.