Hawaii is a state in the Pacific Ocean, composed of eight main islands and several smaller ones. It has a population of about 1.4 million people, making it the 40th-most populous state in the country. Hawaii is known for its diverse culture, tropical climate, tourism, agriculture, and military presence.
Among the many demographic groups that live in Hawaii, single mothers are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Single mothers are women who are raising one or more children without a spouse or partner. They may be divorced, widowed, separated, never married, or cohabiting with someone who is not the biological father of their children. Single mothers face many challenges and barriers in their daily lives, such as poverty, low income, unemployment, lack of education, health problems, social isolation, discrimination, and violence.
According to the latest Census data from 2021, there are about 67,000 single-parent families with children under 18 years old in Hawaii. Out of these, about 54,000 (81%) are headed by single mothers. This means that about one in six (16%) households with children in Hawaii are led by single mothers. In this article, we will explore some of the statistics and facts about single mothers in Hawaii, based on various indicators and categories.
The demographic characteristics of single mothers in Hawaii vary by age group, race, education level, and other factors. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Age Groups: The median age of single mothers in Hawaii is 40 years old. About 22% of them are under 30 years old, 33% are between 30 and 39 years old, 28% are between 40 and 49 years old, and 17% are 50 years or older.
- Race: The majority of single mothers in Hawaii are Asian (42%), followed by Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (24%), White (16%), Two or More Races (14%), Hispanic (3%), Black (1%), and American Indian and Alaska Native (0.4%). However, the racial distribution of single mothers differs from that of married couples with children. For example, while Asian women make up 37% of married mothers in Hawaii, they account for 42% of single mothers. Similarly, while Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women make up 19% of married mothers in Hawaii, they represent 24% of single mothers.
- Education: The educational attainment of single mothers in Hawaii is lower than that of married mothers. About 10% of single mothers have not completed high school, compared to only 3% of married mothers. About 32% of single mothers have a high school diploma or equivalent, compared to 18% of married mothers. About 34% of single mothers have some college education or an associate degree, compared to 36% of married mothers. Only 24% of single mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 43% of married mothers.
Employment is a crucial factor that affects the economic well-being and quality of life of single mothers and their children. However, finding and maintaining a stable and decent job can be challenging for single mothers, especially if they have young children who need care and supervision. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Employment Status: About two-thirds (66%) of single mothers in Hawaii are employed, either full-time or part-time. This is slightly lower than the employment rate of married mothers (69%). However, among those who are employed, only 45% work full-time all year long. About one in four (25%) are jobless for the entire year.
- Occupation: The occupational distribution of single mothers in Hawaii reflects their lower educational attainment and earning potential. About 38% of them work in low-wage jobs that typically require less than a bachelor’s degree and pay less than $15 per hour. These include service occupations (such as food preparation, personal care, and cleaning), sales and office occupations (such as retail salespersons, cashiers, and receptionists), and production occupations (such as sewing machine operators, packers, and inspectors). Only 14% of them work in high-wage jobs that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher and pay more than $30 per hour. These include management occupations (such as financial managers, marketing managers, and human resource managers), professional occupations (such as teachers, nurses, and lawyers), and technical occupations (such as computer programmers, engineers, and accountants).
Income is another important indicator that measures the economic status and living standards of single mothers and their children. However, single mothers often face income inequality and insecurity, due to their lower employment rate, lower wages, and higher expenses. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Income Level: The median income for single-mother families in Hawaii in 2021 was $60,000. This is well below the median income for married-couple families ($120,000). The income gap between the two groups is significantly large ($60,000).
- Income Source: The main source of income for single-mother families in Hawaii is earnings from work (76%). However, many of them also rely on public assistance programs to supplement their income and meet their basic needs. About 36% of them receive food stamps (SNAP), 6% receive cash benefits from TANF, and 3% receive SSI.
- Income Adequacy: The income adequacy of single-mother families in Hawaii can be assessed by comparing their income level with the poverty threshold and the living wage. The poverty threshold is the minimum amount of income that a family needs to afford the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, shelter, and health care. The living wage is the minimum amount of income that a family needs to afford a decent standard of living, which includes not only the basic necessities, but also some additional expenses, such as child care, transportation, education, and savings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty threshold for a family of three (one adult and two children) in 2021 was $21,960. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, the living wage for a family of three (one adult and two children) in Hawaii in 2021 was $37.94 per hour, or $78,907 per year. Based on these benchmarks, we can see that about 22% of single-mother families in Hawaii live in poverty, and about 24% of them earn less than the living wage.