Census Bureau

Comparisons of Selected Social and Economic Characteristics Between Asians, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians (Including Alaskan Natives)

Edward W. Fernandez

Population Analysis and Evaluation Staff
Population Division
U.S. Bureau of the Census
Washington, D.C. 20233

June 1996

POPULATION DIVISION WORKING PAPER NO. 15

Line Divider

This paper reports the general results of research undertaken by Census Bureau Staff. The views expressed are attributable to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Census Bureau.

This paper was initially presented at the 1996 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, Louisiana.


ABSTRACT

COMPARISONS OF SELECTED SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS BETWEEN ASIANS, HAWAIIANS, PACIFIC ISLANDERS, AND AMERICAN INDIANS (INCLUDING ALASKAN NATIVES)

by

Edward W. Fernandez
Population Division
U.S. Bureau of the Census

The U.S. government stipulates that federal agencies collect and present information on the White, Black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian race populations, and on the Hispanic origin ethnic population. Recently, representatives of some of these groups have suggested changes to this list. Persons of Hawaiian race, for example, suggest that they either be: (1) classified uniquely and separated from the Asian and Pacific Islander group, or (2) merged with the American Indian population and classified in the group: American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiians.

This paper explores the effects of acting on these suggestions. Generally, expunging Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander group generates a Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander population which is different generally from the original Pacific Islander group. Also, including Hawaiians within the American Indian population does alter, although less radically, some of the recorded characteristics of the latter.


CONTENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION.....1

  2. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF ASIANS, PACIFIC ISLANDERS, AND HAWAIIANS.....4

                   Population Size.....4
          Selected Characteristics.....5
    
                       age-sex-families-nativity and language-
                       educational attainment level-labor force 
                       status-occupation-workers in family-income-
                       poverty.

  3. CONSEQUENCES OF EXTRACTING HAWAIIANS FROM THE PACIFIC ISLANDER POPULATION.....11

          Selected Characteristics.....11
    
                       age-sex composition-type of family-nativity-
                       language ability-educational attainment-labor
                       force status-occupation-workers in family-
                       income-income below poverty level.

  4. COMPARISON BETWEEN HAWAIIANS AND AMERICAN INDIANS INCLUDING ALASKAN NATIVES).....18

          Selected Characteristics.....18
    
                       age-sex comparison-type of family-nativity-
                       language ability- educational attainment-labor
                       force status-occupation-workers in family-
                       income in 1989-income below the poverty level.

  5. REFERENCES.....25

TEXT TABLES

A. Comparison of Population Size and Population Composition Between Selected Racial Groups: 1990 Census.....5

B. Broad Age Groups of the Asian, Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander, and Hawaiian Populations: 1990.....6

C. Family Characteristics of Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990.....7

D. Educational Attainment Levels of Selected Racial Groups: 1990.....8

E. Unemployment Rates of Selected Racial Groups, By Sex: 1990.....10

F. Education Attainment Levels of Pacific Islanders, Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990.....14

G. Income Measures for Pacific Islanders, Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990.....17

H. Unemployment Rates by Sex of the American Indian/Hawaiian, the American Indian, and the Hawaiian Populations: 1990.....21

I. Income Measures for the American Indian/Hawaiian, the American Indian, and the Hawaiian Populations: 1990.....23

FIGURES

NOTE: These figures are not available on the internet. In order to see them you must order the paper. To order please call our Statistical Information Office at 301-457-2422 or send an e-mail message to pop@census.gov.

Population Size of Selected Racial Groups: 1990 Census

Broad Composition of the Pacific Islander Population: 1990 Census

Broad Age Comparison of the Pacific Islander Pop. & Components: 1990 Census

Education Level of the Pacific Islander & Component Populations: 1990 Census

Unemployment Rates of the Pac. Islander Population & Components: 1990 Census

Type of Income for the Pacific Islander Population & Components: 1990 Census

Distribution of the Combined American Indian & Hawaiian Pops.: 1990 Census

Age Distribution of the Amer. Indian and Hawaiian Populations: 1990 Census

Educational Attainment Levels of the Amer.Ind./Hawaiian Pop.: 1990 Census

Unemployment Rates of the American Indian & Hawaiian Pops.: 1990 Census

Type of Income of the American Indian & Hawaiian Populations: 1990 Census

DETAILED TABLES

NOTE: These tables are not available on the internet. In order to see them you must order the paper. To order please call our Statistical Information Office at 301-457-2422 or send an e-mail message to pop@census.gov.

  1. Comparative Characteristics of Selected Racial Groups: 1990

  2. Comparison of Selected Social and Economic Characteristics between the American Indian (including Alaskan Native) Population and the Hawaiian Population: 1990


COMPARISONS OF SELECTED SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS BETWEEN ASIANS, HAWAIIANS, PACIFIC ISLANDERS, AND AMERICAN INDIANS (INCLUDING ALASKAN NATIVES)

by

Edward Fernandez
Population Division
U.S. Bureau of the Census

INTRODUCTION

To comply with civil rights legislation and the administration of specific programs, almost all federal agencies need statistical information on the characteristics of certain racial and ethnic population groups in the United States. This information on the racial and ethnic character of the land is used, partly, by the Federal government to distribute funds, to issue grants, to monitor the implementation of the Voting Rights Act, and to determine the social, economic, and health well-being of these groups. But to satisfy the legislation that impels these actions, federal agencies must concord on what are the primary racial/ethnic groups in the nation.

To make this selection, the Federal Interagency Committee on Education in 1974 created an Ad Hoc Committee on Racial and Ethnic definitions consisting of 25 persons representing federal agencies that collect and/or use population racial and ethnic data. Two standards imposed on the committee were: (1) that it ensure that the classification of each major group selected would be serviceable to all federal agencies regardless of the racial and ethnic data detail these agencies required, and (2) that data collected for each major group would not be presented combined with that of another selected major group. After agreement on a draft of the selected categories, several agencies - including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) - agreed to test the chosen categories, with definitions, for about a year and record any difficulties in their use.

Following this test-period, another committee, namely: The Ad Hoc Committee on Racial and Ethnic Categories, was created to review the results of the year-long testing rendered by the investigating agencies. After careful analysis, thorough review, and pertinent revisions, the OMB, in May 1977 produced Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, entitled: "Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting". This directive set the rules by which all federal agencies must define, collect, and present information about distinct racial and ethnic populations in the nation. Since 1977, no revisions have ever been made to Directive No. 15.

The racial and ethnic categories and definitions included in OMB's Directive No. 15 are as follows:

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.
Black: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Asian or Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.
American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliations or community or community recognition.
Hispanic: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

In recent years, criticism has surfaced about the nomenclature and the definitions of the categories in Directive 15, and some data-users urge a more current and careful review of the Directive's racial and ethnic partition because the nation is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse through growing immigration. One poignant recommendation regarding Directive 15 is to add more categories to the list; another is to classify Hawaiian persons differently. We now attend to this latter issue.

The Issue of Hawaiian Classification. - In particular, some Native Hawaiian groups suggest that they be considered separately from the category Asian and Pacific Islander and included as one of the major groups in Directive 15 - their rationale: Hawaiians are inhabitants of the State of Hawaii and, contrary to many Asian persons, are not U.S. immigrants. Furthermore, Hawaiians constitute only a small portion (i.e. about 211,000 persons) of the overall Asian and Pacific Islander population (which totals about 7,274,000 persons) and Hawaiian inclusion in this group masks and conceals the unique social and economic characteristics of the Hawaiian population. (Tables A; 1).

Another issue regarding the classification of Hawaiian persons is whether they could be included with the American Indian and Alaskan Native group. If so, the current "American Indian and Alaska Native" group would be augmented to become the: "American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian" population group. Anyone in this group could be defined as: "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America or the Hawaiian Islands.....," etc.

Apart from altering the categories set in Directive 15, implementing the above could conspicuously change some of the customary socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the originally listed groups. For example, extracting Hawaiians and classifying them separately from the Asian or Pacific Islander group may not conspicuously change the aggregate total of the latter, but it could certainly affect, in some cases dramatically, the social and economic characteristics of the Pacific Islander population group in which Hawaiians are a predominant component. As the two components of the Pacific Islander population group, both Hawaiians and Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders represent similar-sized populations (i.e. 211,000 and 154,000 persons, respectively); but by contrast, they are noticeably dissimilar in some important social and economic population characteristics. Therefore, by extracting Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander group we not only reduce the size of the latter by more than one-half, we also create two separate populations markedly different from each other (i.e. Hawaiians vs. Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders).

Thus, if the Hawaiian population were selected as a major group among those in Directive 15, it would require extraction from the "Asian and Pacific Islander" group and also from the component Pacific Islander population. Consequently, numbers and characteristics of both the combined Asian and Pacific Islander group and its subgroup: the Pacific Islanders would change because of (1) Hawaiian population size, and (2) Hawaiian population socio-economic attributes.

Other noticeable changes in the original groups of Directive 15 would occur if we included Hawaiians within the "American Native" population (i.e. American Indians and Alaska natives). However, since the Hawaiian population is only about one-tenth that of the American Indian population, we would not expect too much of a difference between an American Indian, etc. population without Hawaiians and one that includes Hawaiians. But our expectation is mistaken because some Hawaiian population characteristics are so blatantly different from those of the American Indian and Alaska Native population, that adding even the relatively small number of Hawaiians will noticeably change some of the general traits of the American Indian and Alaska Native population.

In this study, we demonstrate how some of the major racial groups specified in Directive 15 are affected when we alter their population components. Specifically, we show the demographic consequences of: (1) extracting the Hawaiian population from the Asian or Pacific Islander population, particularly by removing Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander group, and (2) including Hawaiians among the American Indian population.

Initially, however, to show the effects of the above alterations in better perspective, we describe and compare some general socio-economic attributes depicted by the 1990 census about the Asian, Pacific Islander, Hawaiian, and American Indian populations.

Some Characteristics of Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians

Population Size
In the 1990 census, a total of 7,273,662 persons identified as Asian or Pacific Islander; this population included 6.9 million Asians and 365,000 Pacific Islanders. Within the Pacific Islander group, there were 211,000 Hawaiian persons. Hawaiians, therefore, comprised about 60-percent of the total Pacific Islander population, and about 3-percent of the overall Asian or Pacific Islander population. (Tables A; 1).

Table A. Comparison of Population Size and Population Composition Between Selected Racial Groups: 1990 Census

-----------------------------------------------------------------
 Population Groups             Number        Percent     Percent
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Asian & Pacific Islander      7,273,662        100.0          --

  Asians                      6,908,638         95.0          --

  Pacific Islanders             365,024          5.0       100.0
    Hawaiians                   211,014          2.9        57.8
    Non-Hawaiians 1/            154,010          2.1        42.2

  Total                       2,170,248        100.0          --

American Indians 2/           1,959,234         90.3       100.0

Hawaiians                       211,014          9.7        10.8
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Selected Characteristics
Age - Hawaiians, with a median age of 26.3 years in 1990, were notably younger than Asians (median age: 30.1 years); but Hawaiians were older, on average, than Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders (median age: 23.2 years). This median age comparability was clearly reflected in the specific age distributions of these groups, for instance,Hawaiians had a higher proportion of persons under 5 years (9.8-percent) than Asians (8.0-percent), but a significantly lower proportion of persons 65 years old and over (4.8-percent versus 6.4-percent). (Tables B; 1)

Sex - In 1990, the numbers of Hawaiian males and females were about equal, but there were less Asian males than females (95.5 males per 100 females). Furthermore, the Non- Hawaiian Pacific Islander population had more males than females (103.3 males per 100 females). (Table 1)

Table B. Broad Age Groups of the Asian, Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander, and Hawaiian Populations: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                     |                Race
                     |-------------------------------------------
                     |               Non-Hawaiian
     Age             |   Asian         Pacific          Hawaiian
                     |                Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                     |
All persons          |  6,908,638     154,010            211,014
                     |
  PERCENT            |
                     |
Under 5 yrs...       |   8.0           11.7                9.8
                     |
18 yrs. and over...  |  71.8           61.7               65.4
                     |
65 yrs. and over...  |   6.4            2.9                4.8
                     |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Families - Over 1.5 million families in the 1990 census were Asian or Pacific Islander families; most of them Asian. A higher proportion of Asian families were married-couple families than were Non-Hawaiian pacific islander or Hawaiian families; for example, about 82 percent of Asian families were married-couple families compared to 71 percent of Hawaiian and 76 percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families. Furthermore, 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of Hawaiian and Non- Hawaiian Pacific Islander families included a female householder with no husband present compared to only 12 percent of Asian females.

Compared to Hawaiians, who had an average of 3.84 persons per family, and to Asians, with 3.79 persons per family, Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders had the largest families among these groups with a ratio of 4.4 persons per family.

Table C. Family Characteristics of Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |               Race
                          |--------------------------------------
                          |               Non-Hawaiian
         Age              |    Asian        Pacific     Hawaiian
                          |                Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |
Total families...         |   1,486,349      29,108       43,586
                          |
      PERCENT             |
                          |
Married-Couple families.. |     81.6          75.7         71.2
                          |
Female Householders (1).. |     11.9          16.5         21.3
                          |
Male Householders (2)..   |      6.5           7.8          7.5
                          |
                          |
Persons per family...     |      3.79          4.44         3.84
                          |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Nativity and language. - Among the three mutually exclusive groups: Asians, Hawaiians, and Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, clearly Asians had the largest proportion of foreign-born immigrants (66 percent) compared to Non-Hawaiians Pacific Islanders with 30-percent and Hawaiians with only 1.3 percent foreign born.
More than half of the Asian and Non-Hawaiian pacific islander foreign-born (57.6-percent and 54.6-percent, respectively) reported having entered the U.S. between 1980 and 1990; about one-fifth of the foreign born in each of these groups said they had entered between 1975 and 1979, and about one-fourth reported entering before 1975.

For the Asian population 5 years old and over, about three- quarters said that in the home they spoke a language other than English, and 65 percent reported they specifically spoke an Asian or Pacific Islander language. Although 62 percent of Non- Hawaiian pacific islanders age 5 years and over reported speaking a non-English language at home, only 10 percent of Hawaiians did so. Furthermore, for those speaking an Asian or Pacific Islander language, about 3,800 Hawaiians and 22,000 pacific islanders reported not speaking English "very well". (Table 1)

Educational Attainment Level. - The 1990 census showed that for persons 25 years old and over, about 78-percent of Asians, 80-percent of Hawaiians and 71-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders were high school graduates. But differences at higher educational levels were particularly evident between Asians and the other two groups; for example, although only 12 percent of Hawaiians and 9 percent of Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders had achieved a Bachelor's or higher degree, about 38 percent of Asians had gained a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Table D)

In each of the above groups, differences between the sexes in educational attainment levels was much more evident among Asians. For instance, 82-percent of Asian males 25 years old and over were high school graduates compared to 74-percent of females. Similarly, 43-percent of Asian males had earned a Bachelor's or higher degree compared to 33-percent of Asian females. By contrast, gender differences for Hawaiians and for Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders in educational attainment levels, although apparently lower for females at both the high school and bachelorūs levels, were not statistically significant. (Table 1)

Table D. Educational Attainment Levels of Selected Racial Groups: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                           |                  Race
                           |-------------------------------------
                           |               Non-Hawaiian
    Education Level        |    Asian        Pacific     Hawaiian
                           |                Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                           |
Persons 25 yrs. and over.. |  4,140,345      68,307      107,714
                           |
      PERCENT              |
                           |
High School or more..      |     77.6          70.9         79.5
                           |
Bachelor's degree or more..|     37.7           9.1         11.9
                           |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Labor Force Status. - In 1990, about 67- percent of all Asians age 16 years and over, or about 3.5 million persons, were in the labor force; also, 71-percent of Hawaiians (about 100,000 persons) and 69-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders, or 65,200 persons, were in the labor force that year. (Table 1)

Of those persons in the civilian labor force, the unemployment rate for Asians at 5.2-percent was lower than for either Hawaiians (6.3-percent) or for Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders (8.9-percent), and gender differences in unemployment levels were also evident between these groups. For instance, although Asian males had lower unemployment rates (5.0-percent) than Asian females (5.5-percent), both Hawaiian and Non-Hawaiian pacific islander males had higher unemployment rates than the females of their respective groups. (Table E)

Occupation. - For persons age 16 years and over in 1990, there were about three-and-a-quarter million employed Asians, 91,500 employed Hawaiians, and about 55,750 employed Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders. Almost one-third of the employed Asians were working in managerial and professional specialty occupations, compared to only one-fifth of the Hawaiians and one- seventh of the Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders. Interestingly, about one-third, of employed persons in each of these three population groups were working in technical sales, and in administrative support occupations. But compared to the other two groups, Asians had lower proportions of employed persons working in service, farming, and precision production occupations or working as operators, fabricators, and laborers. (Table 1)

Table E. Unemployment Rates of Selected Racial Groups, By Sex: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |                  Race
                          |--------------------------------------
                          |               Non-Hawaiian
         Sex              |    Asian        Pacific     Hawaiian
                          |                Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |
Persons 16 yrs. + in the  |
civilian labor force...   |   3,444,188      61,191       97,701
                          |
      PERCENT             |
                          |
      Both sexes...       |      5.2           8.9          6.3
                          |
Males...                  |      5.0           9.1          6.7
                          |
Females...                |      5.5           8.6          5.9
                          |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Workers in family. - The proportions of workers per family varied somewhat among the three groups. About 9.5 percent of Hawaiian families had no workers in the family; compared to 8.3 percent of Asian and 7.5 percent of Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander families. But among these groups, about the same proportion of families, 20 percent, had three or more workers in the family.

Income. - Generally, Asians were more affluent than either Hawaiians or Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders; for instance, median family income of Asians in 1989 was $41,583 compared to $37,269 for Hawaiian families and $28,859 for Non- Hawaiian Pacific Islander families. Similarly, the per capita income of Asians, at $13,806, was higher than for Hawaiians ($11,447) and much higher than for Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders ($8,828).

Poverty. - Expectedly, from comparing family income levels: Asians had lower proportions of families in poverty than Hawaiians or Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders. Although, 11.4-percent of Asian families were poor in 1989, 12.7- percent of Hawaiian families and 18.7-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families were below the poverty level at that time. (Table 1)

Below, we describe the statistical consequences of altering the composition of some of the major groups specified in Directive 15, specifically by: (1) extracting Hawaiians from the major population category: Asian and Pacific Islanders, and particularly from its subgroup: Pacific Islanders, and (2) combining the Hawaiian population with the American Indian population to enable Hawaiians to be categorized as "Native Americans".

Consequences of Extracting Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander Population

The Census Bureau collects, analyzes, and presents a substantial amount of statistical information on the major racial/ethnic population groups of Directive 15; but it also presents statistical data on the subcomponents of those groups such as the Pacific Islander population and its own component groups: Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, Guamanians, Melanesians, and Other pacific islander groups. Thus, the indicated characteristics of the overall Pacific Islander population include those of one of its components: the Hawaiian population. But how would the characteristics of the Pacific Islander population change if we excluded Hawaiians? Would the residual Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population be very different from the original total Pacific Islander population? If so, in what ways would the former population differ from the latter? Below, we compare selected socio-economic characteristics between the total Pacific Islander population and the Pacific Islander population excluding Hawaiians (i.e. the Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders).

Selected Characteristics
Age. - In general, Hawaiians are a slightly older population than Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders; for example, only 9.8-percent of Hawaiians were under 5 years of age in 1990 compared to 11.7-percent of Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders and about 4.8-percent of Hawaiians were 65 years old and over compared to 2.9-percent of Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders.

Thus, if we extract Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander (PI) population, the residual Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population will become a somewhat younger population than the original Pacific Islander population. Specifically, the Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population would have a slightly higher proportion of persons under 5 years of age, namely, 11.7-percent compared to 10.6-percent, and a lower proportion of persons age 65 years and over, 2.9-percent, compared to 4.0-percent for the original Pacific Islander population. (Table 1)

Sex composition. - In 1990, the sex ratio (i.e. males per 100 females) of the Hawaiian population was 100.6, which represents almost equal numbers of males and females in the population. On the other hand, the overall Pacific Islander population clearly had more males than females as indicated by its sex ratio of 101.7 males per 100 females.

Therefore, extracting Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander population generates a Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population with an even higher sex ratio, namely: 103.3 males per 100 females. (Table 1)

Type of family. - Of the 72,694 Pacific Islander families in 1990, about 60-percent were Hawaiian and 40-percent were Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families. About 71.2-percent of Hawaiian families were married-couple families as were 75.7- percent of non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander families. Furthermore, one-fifth of Hawaiian families and one-sixth of non-Hawaiian families were families headed by a female householder with no husband present. In addition, the average number of persons in a Hawaiian family - 3.84 persons per family - was about the same as in a Non-Hawaiian pacific islander family: 4.4 persons per family.

Extracting Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander population leaves a Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population with a higher proportion of married-couple families (75.7-percent) than in the original Pacific Islander population (73.0-percent). Furthermore, the Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders will have lower proportions of families with female householders with no husband present (16.5-percent) compared to the original Pacific Islander population (19.4-percent). However, there is no discernible difference between these two populations in the proportions of families with male householders and no wife present, nor in their average number of persons per family. (Table 1)

Nativity. - In 1990, thirteen-percent of the Pacific Islander population reported being foreign born, but only slightly over one-percent of Hawaiian persons were foreign born.

However, since more than half of the Pacific Islander population are Hawaiians and very few Hawaiians are foreign born, removing Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander population leaves a residual Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population with a substan- tial proportion of foreign born persons (i.e. 29.5-percent). Therefore, the proportions foreign born between the Pacific Islander and the Non-Hawaiian pacific islander populations will be greatly disparate. By contrast, removing Hawaiians (and their few foreign born) from the Pacific Islander population creates a foreign born Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population whose period-of-entry to the U.S. and U.S. citizenship status distributions are identical to those of the original Pacific Islander foreign born. (Table 1)

Language ability. - Since Hawaiians include such a small number of foreign born (2,591 persons), we would anticipate only a small proportion of them to report speaking a foreign language at home, and expectedly, in 1990 only 10-percent did so. By contrast, almost one-third (31.2-percent) of the overall Pacific Islander population age 5 years and over spoke a foreign language at home.

If we extract the large component of Hawaiian persons from the Pacific Islander population, we discover that 62-percent of the remaining Non-Hawaiian population reports speaking a language other than English at home. Furthermore, one-half of this Non- Hawaiian Pacific Islander population age 5 years and over reports speaking an asian or pacific Islander language compared to only one-quarter of the Pacific Islander population that normally includes Hawaiians. Also, about one-third of both the total Pacific Islander population and the Pacific Islander population minus Hawaiians (i.e. the Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders) who report speaking an Asian or Pacific Islander language at home also report not speaking English "very well". (Table 1)

Educational attainment. - The educational attainment levels of Hawaiian persons 25 years old and over were higher than for Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders: about 80-percent of Hawaiians, compared to 71-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders were High school graduates. Similarly, about 12- percent of Hawaiians compared to 9-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders had Bachelor's degree or higher.

Since the educational attainment level of Hawaiians is discernibly higher than for Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders, removing Hawaiians from the overall Pacific Islander population leaves a residual Pacific Islander population with lower educational attainment levels. This follows similarly when we compare the educational attainment levels of the males and of the females of both these pacific islander groups. (Table F)

Table F. Education Attainment Levels of Pacific Islanders, Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                           |                  Race
                           |-------------------------------------
                           |    Total      Non-Hawaiian
     Education Level       |   Pacific       Pacific     Hawaiian
                           |  Islander      Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                           |
Persons 25 yrs. and over...|   176,021       68,307      107,714
                           |
      PERCENT              |
                           |
High School or more...     |     76.1          70.9         79.5
                           |
Bachelor's degree or more..|     10.8           9.1         11.9
                           |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Labor Force status. - The proportion of Hawaiians 16 years old and over in the labor force was slightly higher than for Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders, 71.2-percent versus 68.5-percent, respectively; And for those persons in the civilian labor force, a noticeably larger proportion of Non- Hawaiian pacific islanders were unemployed (9-percent) compared to Hawaiians (6-percent). This same contrast in unemployment levels also occurred between the males and females of each of the two population groups.

The substantially lower number of employed Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders and their higher unemployment rates vis--vis the Hawaiian population accentuates the differences in overall employment status when we compare the Pacific Islander population with that same population minus Hawaiians. (Table 1)

Occupation. - A higher proportion (20.2-percent) of employed Hawaiians were working in managerial and professional specialty occupations than were Non-Hawaiian Islanders (14.6- percent). Interestingly, the same proportions (32.0-percent) of both these populations were in technical sales and administrative support jobs and in farming, forestry, and fishing jobs (2.5- percent). Also, the proportional differences between employed Hawaiians and Non-Hawaiians Pacific Islanders working in service, precision products, craft and repair, and as factory machine operators, or laborers, were not statistically significant.

When we compare the occupational distribution between Pacific Islanders and Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders we find similar relationships as between Hawaiians and Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, namely, higher proportions of Pacific Islanders than of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders working as managers, and professionals, but about the same proportions in these two populations working as machine operators, fabricators, and laborers. Furthermore, Pacific Islanders had a higher proportion of families with no-workers (8.7-percent) than Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (7.5-percent). By contrast, Pacific Islander families had a lower proportion of families with only one worker (26.1-percent) than did Non- Hawaiian pacific islander families (28.1-percent). But the proportions of families with either two workers or three or more workers in the family was about the same in both populations.

Workers in family. - In 1990, about 61-percent of all Pacific Islander families were Hawaiian families (i.e. 43,080 families) and 39-percent were Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander families (i.e. 28,016 families). Among the Hawaiian families, 9.5-percent, had no workers in the family and among Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander families, 7.5-percent had no workers. The proportion of Hawaiian families with one worker per family was 25-percent compared to 28.1-percent for Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families. And the proportions of families with 2 workers or with 3 or more workers in the family were about the same for both groups of families.

Because of its large Hawaiian population content, the total Pacific Islander population showed a higher proportion of families with no workers (8.7-percent) than that of Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders (7.5-percent). By contrast, Pacific Islander families had a lower proportion of families with only one worker (26.1-percent) than did Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families (28.1-percent). But the proportions of families in both these populations with either two workers or three or more workers in t the family, was about the same. (Table 1)

Income. - The median household and the median family incomes, as well as the per capita income of the Hawaiian population was substantially higher than for the Non-Hawaiian pacific islander population. For example, the Hawaiian median household income in 1989 was $34,830 compared to $27,141 for Non- Hawaiian pacific islanders. This income disparity also occurred at the level of family income, where Hawaiians showed median family income of $37,269 compared to a median of $28,589 for Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families. Furthermore, Hawaiian per capita income at $11,447, was much higher than that of Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders ($8,828).

The greater affluence of Hawaiians over Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders is confirmed by the 1989 median household, family, and per capita income disparity between these two groups. And this contrast is so marked, that it strongly affects and clearly displays the income differences between the Pacific Islander and the Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander populations. (Table G)

Table G. Income Measures for Pacific Islander, Non- Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiians: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |                  Race
                          |--------------------------------------
      INCOME              |    Total      Non-Hawaiian
        in                |   Pacific       Pacific     Hawaiian
       1989               |  Islander      Islander
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |
Median household          |
income..(dollars)..       |   $31,980       $27,141      $34,830
                          |
Median family             |
income..(dollars)..       |   $33,955       $28,859      $37,269
                          |
Per Capita                |
income..(dollars)..       |   $10,331        $8,777      $11,447
                          |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Income below poverty level. - In 1989, almost the same number of Hawaiian families (i.e. 5,453 families) as of Non-Hawaiian pacific islander families (i.e. 5,238) were below the poverty level. But the proportion of Hawaiian families in poverty, 12.7-percent was much lower than for Non-Hawaiian families, 18.7-percent. Similarly, the proportion of Hawaiians persons below the poverty level was 13.9-percent compared to 20.4-percent of Non-Hawaiian pacific islander persons.

Since the poverty differentials between Hawaiians and Non- Hawaiian pacific islanders are so large, removing Hawaiians from the total Pacific Islander population shows that the remaining Non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander population is also substantially less affluent than the entire Pacific Islander population. (Table 1)

1/ Non-Hawaiian pacific islanders (and 1990 census counts) include the following: Samoans (62,964 persons), Tongans (17,606), Guamanians (49,345), Melanesians (7,195), Other Non- Hawaiian pacific islanders (16,900).

2/ This group represents the category: American Indian and Alaska Native.


Comparisons Between Hawaiians and American Indians (Including Alaskan Natives)

According to the 1990 census the American Indian (including Alaskan natives) population totaled almost 1,960,000 persons, and we recall that the Pacific Islander population included about 365,000 persons of which 211,014 persons were of Hawaiian race. Thus, the Hawaiian population is only about one-tenth the size of the American Indian population, and we expect that combining them will barely change the characteristics of the latter. Neverthe- less, in some few aspects, the American Indian population does differ from a combined American Indian/Hawaiian population. (Table 2)

Selected Characteristics
Age. - Although Hawaiians have proportionally less persons under age 5 years (9.8 percent) than American Indians (10.3), the American Indian population has a slightly higher proportion of persons age 65 years and over, 5.8 percent, compared to 4.8 percent for Hawaiians.

Thus, adding Hawaiians to the much larger American Indian population does not alter the proportional broad-age-group distribution of the original American Indian population. (Table 2)

Sex comparison. The Hawaiian population in 1990 had almost equal number of males and females, with the sex ratio indicating 100.6 males per every 100.0 females. But the American Indian population had more females than males - generating a sex ratio of 97.5 males per 100.0 females.

Since there are so many more American Indians than Hawaiians in the U.S., combining Hawaiians and American Indians to form a composite American Indian/Hawaiian population will not affect appreciably the original sex ratio of the American Indian popula- tion. (Table 2)

Type of family. - In 1990, there were about 43,590 Hawaiian families in the nation compared to about 10 times that many American Indian families. But there were some differences between these two population groups regarding family types: for instance, the proportion of Hawaiian married-couple families was higher at 71.2-percent than that of American Indian families, 64.2-percent. Furthermore, the proportion of American Indian families with a female householder and no spouse present was 27.3-percent compared to 21.3-percent of Hawaiian families; and the percent of American Indian families with male householder without a spouse was, at 8.5-percent, also higher than for Hawaiian families: 7.5-percent.

But regardless of these proportional differences in family types between Hawaiians and American Indians, the vast size of the latter population relative to the former will not cause a the combined American Indian/Hawaiian population to have a different family-type distribution from that of the original American Indian population. (Table 2)

Nativity. The Hawaiian and American Indian populations in 1990 show only small proportions of foreign-born persons among their populations: Only 2,591 Hawaiians (1.3- percent) reported being foreign born, as did 46,919 of American Indians, 2.3-percent.

Since the Hawaiian foreign born represent only about one- twentieth the number of the American Indian foreign born, adding them to the latter to generate the American Indian/Hawaiian foreign born does not change either the proportion or the character of the reported foreign born contingent of the original American Indian population. (Table 2)

Language ability. Almost one-fourth of all American Indian persons 5-years old and over, about 433,000 persons, speak a language other than English in the home compared to about 18,601, or 10-percent, of Hawaiians. But only a small proportion of American Indians (0.4 percent) report speaking an Asian or Pacific Islander language in the home contrasted to almost 8 percent of Hawaiians. For both these subgroups who speak an Asian or Pacific Islander language, 44-percent of American Indian persons report not speaking English "very well" compared to 27 percent of Hawaiians. Also, 25-percent of the American Indians who report speaking an Asian or Pacific Islander language at home live in linguistically isolated households compared to 8.1 percent of Hawaiians.

Since only 10-percent of Hawaiians 5 years old and over reported speaking a language other than English at home compared to almost one-fourth of American Indian and Alaska Native persons, the proportional differences of persons who speak a language other than English at home are not significant between a combined American Indian/Hawaiian population (22.5-percent) and the American Indian population (23.8-percent). Table 2.

Educational attainment. - The 1990 census showed that the educational attainment level of the Hawaiian population age 25 years and over was generally higher than for the American Indian population: About 80-percent of Hawaiians had attained at least a High school diploma compared to 66-percent of American Indian persons; furthermore, 11.9-percent of Hawaiians had achieved a Bachelor's or higher degree compared to 9.3- percent of American Indians. These same relationships were evident by sex: both males and females 25 years old and over in the Hawaiian population had reached higher educational attainment levels than their counterparts in the American Indian population.

The impact of these differences in educational attainment persist when we merge Hawaiians and American Indians to form the American Indian/Hawaiian population, and we note that the educational attainment level categories of this augmented population continues to differ significantly from those of the American Indian population taken alone. (Table 2)

Labor force status. A substantially higher proportion of Hawaiians age 16 years and over were in the civilian labor force than were American Indians of the same age group. Furthermore, the unemployment rate in 1990 of Hawaiian persons, at 6.3 percent, was much lower than that of American Indians, 14.4 percent. These differences in labor force characteristics between Hawaiians and American Indians were also evident by sex: Hawaiian males, as well as Hawaiian females, both had higher proportions in the civilian labor force and lower unemployment rates than their counterparts in the American Indian population.

Of the very few socio-economic differences we have detected so far between the combined American Indian\Hawaiian population and the American Indian population, we must add another important one: the unemployment rate. Such a large gap exists between the Hawaiian and the American Indian populations in their levels of unemployment, that the combined American Indian/Hawaiian popula- tion actually begets a lower unemployment rate (13.5-percent) than that of the American Indian population (14.4-percent). Furthermore, this same discrepancy in unemployment levels also occurs between the males as well as between the females of these populations. (Table 2)

Table H. Unemployment Rates by Sex of the American Indian/Hawaiian, The American Indian, and the Hawaiian Populations: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |                  Race
                          |--------------------------------------
        SEX               |  Combined
                          |American Indian   American   Hawaiian
                          | and Hawaiian      Indian
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |
Persons 16 yrs. and       |
and in the civilian       |
labor force...            |   947,013        851,312      97,701
                          |
     PERCENT              |   
                          |
     Both Sexes...        |    13.5           14.4         6.3
                          |
Males...                  |    14.5           15.4         6.7
                          |
Females...                |    12.4           13.1         5.9
                          |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Occupation. - Marked differences were evident in the occupation distribution of Hawaiians and American Indians. For example, 20.2-percent of employed Hawaiians were working in managerial and professional occupations, compared to 18.3-percent of American Indians, and 32.1-percent of Hawaiians where working in technical sales and administrative support jobs compared to 26.8 percent of employed American Indian persons. By contrast, proportionally more employed American Indians than Hawaiians were working in jobs concerning farming, forestry, and fishing; precision production, and repair; and in jobs requiring work as: operators, fabricators, and laborers. Both population groups, however, had the same proportion of persons, 18.5 percent, working in service occupations. (Table 2)

In 1990, the employed Hawaiian population age 16 years and over was only one-eighth the size of the employed American Indian population, and even though some noticeable differences existed between these populations in the proportions employed in certain types of jobs, the occupational distribution of the combined American Indian/Hawaiian population is not significantly different from that of the American Indian population taken singly. (Table 2)

Workers in family. - The distribution of the number of workers-in-the-family varied markedly between Hawaiian families and American Indian families. Specifically, Hawaiian families with no workers, 9.5 percent, was noticeably lower than for American Indian families, 14.5 percent. Similarly, about one-fourth of Hawaiian families had only one worker in the family compared to one-third of American Indian families. But the proportions of families with two workers or with three or more workers in the family were consistently larger for Hawaiian families than for American Indian families; for example, 46-percent of Hawaiian families had two workers in the family compared to 41-percent of American Indian families, and 20-percent of Hawaiian families had three or more workers in the family compared with 12-percent of American Indian families.

The above-noted differences between Hawaiians and American Indians in number of workers-per-family persist (except for the proportions of two-worker families) when we compare the composite American Indian/Hawaiian with the American Indian population. (Table 2)

Income in 1989. - In 1989, the median household income, the median family income, and the per capita income of the Hawaiian population was substantially higher than for the American Indian population. The Hawaiian median household income, for instance, was $34,830 compared to $20,025 for American Indian households; similarly, Hawaiian median family income was $37,269 compared to $21,750 for American Indian families, and the Hawaiian population per capita income was $11,447 compared to $8,328 for American Indian persons.

The 1989 income disparity between Hawaiians and American Indians was sufficiently large to display income differences between a combined American Indian/Hawaiian population and the original American Indian population. For example, the median household income of a combined American Indian/Hawaiian population was, at $21,283, higher than for the American Indian population; similarly, median family income of the American Indian/Hawaiian population was $23,069, once again higher than that of American Indian families; and finally, the per capita income of the combined American Indian/Hawaiian population ($8,593) was slightly higher than that for American Indian persons. (Tables H; 2)

Table I. Income Measures for the American Indian/Hawaiian, the American Indian, and the Hawaiian Populations: 1990

-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |                  Race
                          |--------------------------------------
      INCOME              |  Combined
        in                |American Indian    American   Hawaiian
       1989               | and Hawaiian       Indian
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                          |
Median household          |
income..(dollars)..       |   $21,235         $20,025     $34,830
                          |
Median family             |
income..(dollars)..       |   $23,069         $21,750     $37,269
                          |
Per Capita                |
income..(dollars)..       |    $8,617          $8,328     $11,447
                          |
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Income Below the Poverty Level. - Although about 5,400 Hawaiian families were below the poverty level in 1989, almost 5-times as many (about 125,400) American Indian families were then living in poverty. In particular, the 12.7-percent of all Hawaiian families below the poverty level was much lower than that of American Indian families: 27.0-percent, and this family poverty-level disparity was also replicated at the person-level. For instance, although about 28,600 Hawaiian persons (14.3- percent) were in poverty in 1989, over 600,000 American Indian persons (30.9-percent) were below the poverty level.

Similarly to the income analysis noted above, the poverty level differentials between Hawaiians and American Indians are so large that differences do occur when we compare poverty-levels between the combined American Indian/Hawaiian population and the American Indian population. For example, 27-percent of American Indian families were below the poverty level in 1989 compared to 25.8-percent of American Indian/Hawaiian families. And the same circumstance occurred for persons, where 31-percent of American Indian persons were in poverty compared to 29-percent of persons in the combined American Indian/Hawaiian population. (Table 2)

We have seen above that many noticeable socio-economic differences exist between the individual Hawaiian and the American Indian populations, but when both populations are combined and compared to the initial American Indian population, most of these differences vanish. However, one particularly significant exception, among others, occurs when we compare the income levels of the combined American Indian/Hawaiian and the American Indian populations. Our analysis shows quite clearly that the income differentials between Hawaiians and American Indians are so great that even when the much smaller Hawaiian population is combined with the American Indian population, the resulting American Indian/Hawaiian population differs noticeably from the original American Indian population at the household, family, and personal income levels.

3/ Although at first it may seem improbable that some American Indian persons are truly foreign born, this need not be an implausible occurrence. For example, in recent years an increasing number of native (i.e. indigenous) Indians born in Canada, Mexico, or Central and South America have immigrated to the United States and they and their tribal affiliations were reported in the American Indian and Alaska Native category of the decennial census Race question.

Population Division Working Papers

Line Divider

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division,
Population Analysis & Evaluation Staff

Author: Edward W. Fernandez
Last Revised: October 31, 2011 at 10:03:02 PM