United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indi.

Native Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI online

. (page 25 of 34)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNative Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI → online text (page 25 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Native Hawaiians in particular because of their lower earnings. In response to high housing
costs, Native Hawaiians are more likely than non-Natives to live with subfamilies and with multiple
wage earners.

■ The Native Hawaiian population is younger, has lower average education, higher

unemployment, and lower incomes than the non-Hawaiian population.

The median age in 1990 of the Native Hawaiian population is 25.8 years compared to the
non-Native population's median age of 32.6 years. Native Hawaiians over 25 are somewhat less
likely than others in Hawaii to have a high school education (77 percent compared to 81 percent)
and much less likely to have received four years of college education (9 percent versus 24
percent). Unemployment rates are also much higher for the Native Hawaiian population: in 1 990,
the Native Hawaiian unemployment rate was twice as high as for non-Native Hawaiians
throughout the state. Furthermore, per capita income for Native Hawaiians in 1989 was $10,700,
compared to $16,000 for non-Natives.

Native Hawaiian households are more likely to be very low-income than non-Native
Hawaiians. Just over 27 percent of all Native Hawaiian households have incomes less than 50
percent of the regional (county) median compared to 22 percent of non-Native Hawaiian
households. For renter households the disparity is even greater: over 40 percent of all Native
Hawaiian renter households have incomes less than 50 percent of the median compared to 34
percent of non-Native households.

' The study used standard measures of housing problenns that define an affordability problem as a household paying
more than 30 percent of income for housing; overcrowding as more than one person per room; and structural
inadequacy as lacking complete kitchen and plumbing facilities.


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

As a result, Native Hawaiians' participation rates (over 24 percent) for federal, state, and
local housing programs are higher than their share of the total population. Homelessness is also
more common among Native Hawaiians than expected based on their representation in the state.
A recent study by SMS Research concluded that, on any given day, over 20 percent of all
homeless persons in Hawaii are Native Hawaiians.

■ The unavailability of affordable housing leading to high rates of overcrowding is the
major housing issue for Native Hawaiians living in the state with the country's
highest housing costs.

Although the share of Native Hawaiian households with affordability problems (28 percent)
is virtually the same as the share for non-Native Hawaiians (29 percent), newly formed Native
Hawaiian households and those who wish to relocate face high housing costs, especially in the
Honolulu metropolitan area. Honolulu has a median single family home price of more than
$360,000 in 1994, while median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in 1993 was $1,100.
Vacancy rates, which are frequently used as indicators of unmet housing demand, are historically
lower in Hawaii than in any other state.

To reduce overall housing costs, Native Hawaiians sacrifice space for affordability.
Indeed, the high incidence of subfamilies for Native Hawaiian households in an urban setting (17
percent for owner households compared to 5 percent for non-Native owner households residing
in Honolulu) appears to help explain why Native Hawaiian households do not have greater
affordability problems.

Affordability problems often lead directly to overcrowding. Over one-third (35 percent) of
Native Hawaiian households who rent were overcrowded in 1 990 compared to 1 6 percent for non-
Native Hawaiian households. Homeowners also experience overcrowding: 21 percent of Native
Hawaiian owners, compared to 1 1 percent of non-Natives, reported being overcrowded.

■ The condition of housing for Native Hawaiians living in rural areas is of lower
quality than for non-Native Hawaiians.

While only 3,700 Native Hawaiian households, compared to 20,000 non-Native Hawaiian
households, reside in rural areas of the state, a high percentage of rural Native Hawaiians live
in older, less stmcturally sound housing. Over 30 percent of all airal Native Hawaiians live in
housing built before 1949. Six percent of rural Native Hawaiian households lack complete kitchen
or plumbing facilities.

Access to sewage disposal is a related housing concem, with Native Hawaiians twice as
likely to dispose of sewage by using a septic tank or other non-traditional means than are non-


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

Native Hawaiians. The use of non-traditional means to dispose of sewage is also evident in rural
Hawaii, wtiere only 21 percent of Native Hawaiian tiousing units are connected to a public
sewage system compared to 30 percent of non-Native units.

■ The housing needs of Native Hawaiians living on Hawaiian Home Lands are different
than those for Native Hawaiians living elsewhere throughout the state.

Housing needs differ on the Home Lands from other areas for Native Hawaiians in part
because the average cost of housing on the Home Lands tends to be less than in other areas
of Hawaii. This difference is due to, in part, various fonms of housing loans and subsidies
available for home construction and repairs on Home Lands. Affordability problems are therefore
lower for Homeland owner residents (9 percent) than for other Native households who own

Overcrowding is experienced by 37 percent of the households living on the Home Lands
where the presence of subfamilies (28 percent) is also higher than it is for Native Hawaiians living
in other areas of the state. Also, only 1.5 percent of Home Land housing units had facility
problems compared to 4 percent of rural Native Hawaiian homeowners.

■ Homeownership opportunities for Native Hawaiians have always been limited and
have decreased due to rapid Increases In housing costs.

The state of Hawaii's low homeownership rate (54 percent compared to 64 percent for the
nation as a whole) is largely attributed to low household incomes but also to housing supply
considerations, including high land costs, government building regulations, and settlement
patterns typical of an archipelago with a single major city.

Lower income Native Hawaiians are, of course, especially susceptible to diminishing
homeownership opportunities when home prices increase. The mean value of a single family
housing unit in Honolulu county increased, for example, from $159,000 in 1986 to more than
$360,000 in 1991. The estimated probability of a Native Hawaiian household (not living on the
Home Lands) with income less than 80 percent of regional median income owning a home in
1990 was only 29 percent.

Moreover, it appears that high rents and high house prices are inducing many Hawaiians
to emigrate to the mainland to seek more affordable housing opportunities. The Native Hawaiian
population on the United States mainland grew rapidly in the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990,
the Native Hawaiian population on the mainland grew by 33 percent to 72,000 persons, while the
Native population in Hawaii grew at a more modest rate of 17 percent to reach 138,000,
according to the 1990 Decennial Census.


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

A survey of housing needs in Hawaii, conducted in 1992, revealed that 76 percent of
Native Hawaiian householders who planned to move out of the state were Influenced by housing
prices. The importance of housing prices in the decision to migrate is not surprising given the
affordability problem for young householders. While Native Hawaiian households on the mainland
tend to be younger than Native Hawaiians in Hawaii, they were just as likely (50 percent) to own
their homes. Furthermore, mainland Native Hawaiians were much less likely to experience
overcrowding (12 percent compared to 28 percent) and facility problems (1.1 percent compared
to 2.2).

■ Housing for Native Hawaiians is likely to be in short supply in the foreseeable future

due to expected population growth and current housing production trends.

In July 1994, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population for the state of Hawaii at
1 ,178,564 or a 1 .5 percent annual increase from the 1990 Census figure. Projecting this growth
rate to the year 2000 produces an estimate of 431 ,000 households, for an increase of 1 6 perceni
over a ten-year period.

Because of its younger age structure, the number of Native Hawaiian households in
Hawaii is likely to increase at a more rapid rate than that for the population at large. It is
expected that the 43,000 households in 1990 with a Native Hawaiian householder or spouse will
increase to 56,000 by the year 2000, an increase of 30 percent over a ten-year period.

The actual number of Native Hawaiian households formed in the 1990s and remaining in
Hawaii will depend in large part on the availability of affordable housing for them. One possibility
is that the continued shortage of affordable housing will translate into greater rates of
overcrowding throughout the 1990s. Moreover, it is unlikely that the number of affordable new
units will be enough to adequately meet the needs of low-income households, including those of
Native Hawaiian ancestry.


Given the extent of housing needs among Native Hawaiians, basic policy implications
emulate those for Native Americans residing on the mainland.

■ The unique housing needs of Native Hawaiians require unique solutions.

■ The diversity of Native Hawaiian housing needs requires flexible responses so that
limited available public funding assistance may be used with maximum efficiency.


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

■ Public policy should support an environment in which public and private sector

resources are used to address the housing needs of Native Hawaiians, as

As with policy prescriptions for American Indian and Alaskan Native housing needs, it is
vitally important that programs be administered flexibly, with program assistance tailored to the
particular needs of the locality, and with necessary levels of training and technical assistance
provided. Home Lands will not solve all housing needs of Native Hawaiians. fvlost Native
Hawaiians are likely to have to look to the private housing market to meet their needs. It is
important, therefore, not only that the Home Lands be used to provide housing as efficiently and
equitably as possible, but that Native Hawaiians with serious housing needs be matched with
appropriate public or private housing services. Indeed, there is need to link housing,
infrastructure, and economic development options in the local planning effort to address the
diverse housing needs of Native Hawaiians.


Section 1


This study of Native Hawaiian housing needs complements a companion Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored Assessment of American Indian and Alaskan
Native Housing Needs and Programs. The companion study, initiated in 1 993, was designed to
evaluate the housing problems and needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives as well as the
effectiveness of HUD'sJndJan housing programs.

The key objectives of this adjunct study are to assess the housing problems and needs
of Native Hawaiians given the particular housing conditions and mari<et circumstances that exist
In Hawaii. The tasks include defining and analyzing the extent of housing needs of Native
Hawaiians living in various environments using existing data sources. The analysis focusses on
housing affordability, overcrowding, and quality, using data drawn principally from existing data
sources, such as the 1990 Census.

The research on Native Hawaiian housing needs has drawn heavily upon published and
unpublished tabulations from the U.S. Census, which is the most comprehensive, reliable source
of infonnation on housing and population characteristics. To supplement Census analysis,
information was gathered in Hawaii from knowledgeable professionals and housing organizations
about local housing characteristics and concerns. This information also permits an examination
of the housing conditions and needs of Native Hawaiians living in urban and rural areas of the

One of the purposes of the study was to examine the housing needs of Native Hawaiian
households on Hawaiian Home Lands. The Hawaiian Home Lands are trust land established by
an act of Congress in 1921 for homesteading by Native Hawaiians with 50 percent or more
Hawaiian ancestry. This tnjst is now administered by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
of the state of Hawaii.


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

Approach: The Overall Study

The approach of this evaluation mirrored the one used for the companion AIAN study, with
three major differences. First, this Native Hawaiian Housing Needs Study did not include an
evaluation of housing programs that serve Native Hawaiians. Second, it did not include primary
data collection activities such as the household and Indian Housing Authority surveys conducted
for the larger study of the AIAN population. Finally, the Native Hawaiian study drew on data from
the Census public-use microdata file to supplement infonnation available for the Census special

For the Native Hawaiian housing assessment, Urtaan Institute researchers:

■ Conducted an extensive literature review of published material on the
socioeconomic and housing circumstances of Native Hawaiians.

■ Consulted with Hawaii-based experts on Native Hawaiian housing. One of two site
visits was made to Hawaii at the onset of the study to access material on Native
Hawaiians and conduct interviews with knowledgeable persons about Native
Hawaiian housing. A second site visit took place later to conduct additional
interviews and verify information derived from 1990 U.S. Census and other

■ Analyzed special tabulations of 1 990 U.S. Census data for the state of Hawaii, and
census microdata for Native Hawaiians in 1980 and 1990. These data allowed the
study team to assess housing conditions for non-Natives as well as Native

■ Convened an infonnal advisory panel of knowledgeable housing experts to review
and comment on the draft report resulting from the study.

Data Sources

The U.S. Bureau of the Cerisus prepared a special tabulation of 1990 decennial Census
data explicitly for this study. This tabulation amasses a comprehensive set of indicators on social,
economic, and housing characteristics. An unique feature of these data is the way it designates
a Native Hawaiian household. For this purpose, the Census Bureau used the self-identification
question related to "race" for head of household or spouse to identify a Native Hawaiian
household. All other households were identified as non-Native. In addition, these data allow the
user to cross-tabulate various Census indicators by income grouped in the same manner that
HUD determines housing program eligibility.


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

Because Census-supplied tabulations for this study were available on different levels of
Census defined geography, data could be assembled for various portions of the state, including
the city of Honolulu, the Honolulu Metro Area, and other urban and rural portions of the state.
Moreover, these data could also be assembled for the Hawaiian Home Lands to give a profile of
the housing conditions of Native Hawaiians living on the Home Lands in 1990.'

The research team also used Census data in another fonm, the 1 980 and 1 990 Public Use
Census Microdata (PUMS) files. These files contain the same variables found in the special
tabulations, since they rely on information gathered during the decennial Census. However, the
microdata files are based on infonnation about individual households, permitting the researcher
more flexibility to study relationships among several variables. Because the PUMS is based on
households as the unit of analysis, it can be used to examine areas and groups not identified in
the special tabulations. In particular, the study team used this file to examine housing needs of
non-Natives since this infonmation was not available from the special tabulations.

Limitations of Census Data

Though the Census is a rich source of data about both housing needs and social and
economic characteristics, it has a number of limitations, as explained below.

Ethnic Classification. The primary ethnic groups for which the Census Bureau publishes
data are those identified by what is commonly called the "race" question — though most scholars
believe that the term race has little scientific meaning and that the groups identified using this
question may be better described by ethnicity or culture. After 1970, the Census questionnaire
was redesigned so that individuals identify their own race. It is assumed that people with mixed
ethnic heritage — including the majority of Native Hawaiians — will identify with only one of the
groups of which they are a part. Information from the questionnaire used for the decennial
Census is also unable to supply information about the characteristics of Hawaiians with different
degrees of ancestry. Thus, for the purposes of this report. Native Hawaiians are those persons
who report Native Hawaiian "race," regardless of degree of ancestry in the 1990 decennial

Confusion over this definition of Native Hawaiian arises from the multiple purposes for
which a specific definition of "Hawaiian" is created. For example, Chapter 10 of Hawaii's Revised
Statutes defines a Hawaiian as "any descendent of the aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Hawaiian

' The delineations ot Hawaiian Home Lands (HHL) areas were undertaken by the Research, Planning and
Evaluation Unit of ALU LIKE. Inc. using the Census Bureau's User Defined Areas Program (UOAP). Because UDAP
protocols did not allow a Census block to be split when an area was being delineated, it is possible that some HHL
housing units might not be included or, conversely, some non-HHL housing units might be included in a few delineated


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

Islands which exercised sovereignty and subsisted in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, and which
peoples thereafter have continued to reside in Hawaii." In contrast, the Hawaiian Homes
Commission Act of 1920 restricted eligibility for homesteads on the Hawaiian Home Lands to
Native Hawaiians defined as "any descendent of not less than one-half part of the blood of the
races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778."

The Native Hawaiian population identified using the Census coincides with neither of these
important definitions of "Native Hawaiian." Because it relies on self-identification, the Census
Native Hawaiian population may include some people who do not qualify by any of these
definitions — for example, persons bom in Hawaii may report themselves as "Native Hawaiians"
even though they do not meet the test of aboriginal descent. On the other hand, the Census may
exclude other Native Hawaiians because the requirement to choose one race leads to an
underenumeration of Hawaiians with mixed ancestry.

Population Sampling. A second limitation of Census data on personal and housing
characteristics is that the detailed socioeconomic data are based on a sample of the population.
Estimates from a sample are less precise than a full enumeration of the population. When a
sample is large — such as is the case for all Native Hawaiians living in Hawaii — sampling is not
a significant source of error. However, when studying smaller sub-groups, such as Native
Hawaiians living on Hawaiian Home Lands, small sample sizes reduce the precision of estimates.
For the same reason, estimates prepared from the Census PUMS are less precise than estimates
from the special tabulations for the same populations, because the PUMS contain a smaller
sample of households.^

Identification of Home Land Areas for Special Tabulations. A related problem is due
to U.S. Census Bureau's new method to protect the confidentiality of individuals. In 1990 the
Census altered data in small populations and sparsely populated areas to protect confidentiality
of data about individuals. Because of this data substitution, ALU LIKE research staff chose to
suppress information about households living in certain sparsely populated Home Lands areas
to preserve the integrity of the Home Lands profiles. Therefore, ten "study areas" were deemed
sufficiently populated to generate reliable data for profiling the Home Land population. Special
tabulation data used the same ALU LIKE method to identify the Home Land population. (ALU
LIKE, Inc 1993: p. 2-6).

Despite these limitations, the 1990 Census data give an accurate view of Native Hawaiian
housing needs that is consistent with first-hand reports. In many cases, reported characteristics
of Native Hawaiians derived from the Census and elsewhere were verified using supplemental
data from other sources. With these types of consistency checks, our profile of Native Hawaiian

■ Annex A contains a discussion of statistical confidence intervals and signrlicance tests for data used in this report.


Housing Pmbloms and Needs ot Native Hawaiians

housing needs is based on the best information available to the study team and was limited only
by the parameters of our mandate.

Other Data Sources

A large number ot supplementary data sources were obtained during the course of this
study from various public and private agencies in order to complement the information provided
in the decennial Census files. Each of these data files was carefully examined to verify their
validity, sampling error, and specific relevance to this study.

For example, the Health Surveillance Survey conducted by the Hawaii Department of
Health in 1992 collected more complete information about the ethnic background of Hawaii's
residents. The Survey also provided more accurate estimates of the Native Hawaiian population
living in Hawaii (as defined for purposes of eligibility for state programs) than estimates derived
from the Census. In addition, surveys of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL)
applicant population conducted by Mattson, Inc. in 1992, and of applicants and lessees of the
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in 1995, provided some information about the
socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the beneficiary population of the Home Lands
Trust. The Housing Demand Survey conducted by SMS Research, Inc. provided a useful portrait
of Hawaii's housing market in 1992.

Each of these data sources has its own limitations: none supplies the detailed indicators
of housing conditions available from the Census. The 1992 Housing Demand Survey and the
1992 Health Surveillance Survey were administered to relatively small samples of Hawaii's
general population, and thus do not provide precise estimates of characteristics for the Native
Hawaiian sub-population. Data from the applicant surveys are likely to be biased due to response
selectivity, which occurs when those who choose to retum a completed survey have different
characteristics from those who do not. f^^oreover, data from special surveys like these are not
completely comparable to data derived from the Census because of differences in the wording
ot questions and in methods of survey administration. Data from such surveys are, therefore, less
useful for the purpose of comparing the needs of Native Hawaiians to those of other groups.

This study also drew on data about economic conditions and housing programs in Hawaii,
including construction reports from the Bank of Hawaii; published administrative data of the
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Hawaiian Housing Authority; extensive databases
and statistical reports maintained by the Hawaii Department of Business and Economic
Development, and Tourism, and by the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS)
of the state of Hawaii and the dty and county of Honolulu; the State Functional Housing Plan; the
Military Family Housing Mart<et Analysis conducted for the United States Army; the Hawaii
Housing Policy Study conducted by Locations, Inc. and SMS Research, Inc.; and the SMS


Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians

Research, Inc. study of Hawaii's homeless. These data sources provide useful supplementary
and issue specific data which, in conjunction with Census data, offer a comprehensive
assessment of the range, diversity, and depth of Native Hawaiian housing needs.

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNative Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI → online text (page 25 of 34)