Half of Hawaii barely gets by

Photo: Elyse Butler

Published in Hawaii Business Magazine (February 2019).

This article won the gold medal in in the category for best explanatory journalism from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers (2020). 

Many numbers suggest that most people in Hawaii should be thriving. Only 11 percent of the population lives in poverty according to federal standards, one of the lowest rates in the nation. The unemployment rate is a historically low 2 percent, the visitor economy keeps growing and Hawai‘i’s median household income is relatively high compared to the rest of the country.

Yet so many of us can name friends, colleagues and relatives who are just a paycheck or emergency away from losing their homes.

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