Even before the pandemic, the children and youth of Hawaiʻi were falling behind the rest of the nation in terms of economic wellbeing. In particular, Hawai‘i fell to 49th place (out of 50 states) for the percent of children in households with a high housing cost burden. We also rank 47th in the percent of 16-19 year olds who aren’t attending school or working.
These grim but unsurprising conclusions were published in the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“It is very concerning that Hawaiʻi already ranked in the bottom 10 states on children’s economic wellbeing, according to the pre-pandemic data,” says Ivette Rodriguez Stern of CTAHR’s Center on the Family. “It took the lowest-income families a decade to recover from the Great Recession, and now we are once again facing the threat of a greater share of our keiki growing up in economic hardship, which can have long-lasting effects on education and future employment.”
The center is a partner on Hawaii KIDS COUNT, a local collaboration supported by the foundation that includes the Hawaiʻi Children's Action Network and Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. The center was contracted to lead social indicator research and guide the partnership’s use of data to inform policy initiatives.
Read Ivette’s op-ed in Civil Beat, a news report on Hawaiʻi Public Radio, and the 2021 Kids Count Data Book.