2020 census data details Hawaii households

Jun. 4—When Tatiana Anguay came home to Maui after college on the mainland, she had no idea that years later she'd be living in the same house with four generations of her family.

Anguay, 31, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sofia, have their own studio unit in the larger family home in Kahului she shares with her parents, grandparents and 20-year-old sister.

"Obviously I didn't expect to live there so long term but with how high rent is and home costs, it was a lot easier," she said.

Since her grandparents, now in their 80s, purchased the modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in the mid-'70s, the house was expanded over the years to create a four-bedroom living space on the bottom floor, three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, and Anguay's studio.

It's a situation not unfamiliar to the more than 44,500 households in Hawaii with three or more generations living under one roof, according to the latest data on household characteristics from the 2020 census.

"Lots of communication," said Anguay, a construction consultant for a solar company, when asked how they manage their multigenerational living arrangement. "Everyone's gotta have a say in everything that happens in the household because everyone has financial parts of it. The good thing with how old it is and how long they've lived here is that the paying off part is done; it's just the maintenance and being able to keep up with the bills and the electric."

Another benefit, she added, is that her daughter is growing up surrounded by her kupuna.

"It makes babysitting a lot easier and it's also cheaper. Being able to rely on the people that live with you to accommodate you is such an awesome blessing."

With high housing costs and a strong sense of ohana, Hawaii once again leads the nation in multigenerational households, with 9% of the state's 490,267 households comprising three or more generations, according to the census data released May 25.

That's up from 8.8% in 2010 and 8.2% in 2000. Nationally, multigenerational households make up 7.2% of total U.S. households; California was second behind Hawaii at 7.3%.

Barbara DeBaryshe, interim director and specialist at the University of Hawaii's Center on the Family, said living with extended family is often an economic necessity given the state's high cost of housing, "but it is also a characteristic strength of our communities."

"Living together can support intergenerational bonds, make it easier to care for very young or elderly family members, and enrich the lives of family members through their daily shared experiences," she said.

The census data for Hawaii also reflects the traditional household structures of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Filipino, Chinese and other Asian families, according to Chief State Economist Eugene Tian with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Sixteen percent of Hawaii households that identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander alone on the 2020 census form had three or more generations living together, the highest share among the race groups. Of Asian-alone households, 11.1% were multigenerational, as were 10.7% of "two or more races" households.

Although not included in the latest release from the 2020 census, separate data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey showed that when grouped together, Native Hawaiians and part Hawaiians had the highest increase in multigenerational households, from 26% in 2010 to 33% in 2020, according to Sarah Yuan, a specialist with the UH Center on the Family.

The ACS data also showed that "middle-income" groups earning $93,000 to $119,000 for a family of four had the highest percentage of multigenerational households in 2020 at 35%, Yuan said, and the largest percentage increase in multigenerational living, of 8 percentage points.

Coupled households

Evidence of Hawaii's growing population of older residents can be found in the 2020 data indicating that nearly 40% of all households in the state included someone age 65 or older, an increase of more than 9 percentage points from 2010, while at the same time, 31.5% of households included children under the age of 18, a drop of almost 3 percentage points.

Married-couple households, which totaled 240,160, made up nearly half of all local households, a small decline from 2010. Although cohabitation has become more commonplace, especially among young adults, unmarried-­couple households were much less prevalent, numbering 34,254 and comprising only 7% of all Hawaii households in 2020.

In both instances — married and unmarried — coupled households without children under the age of 18 were more numerous than those with children. The 2020 data indicated that 35.4% of married couples in Hawaii were living with minor children, down more than 4 percentage points from 2010.

For cohabiting couples, 33% were living with keiki under the age of 18.

DeBaryshe said the decline in married couples with minor children is due in part to Hawaii's aging population and lower birthrate, "with more adults deciding not to become parents." And with more unmarried parents living together, "the share of married-parent households will decline even if children are living with both parents."

She added that whether parents are married or not is of less importance to their children.

"It's not the piece of paper — the marriage license — that makes a difference," according to DeBaryshe. "It's the stability and quality of the relationship between the adults in the kids' lives."

Overall, married couples with children comprised 17.3% of total households in Hawaii, a decline of nearly 3 percentage points across the decade.

Same-sex couples

In the first census since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, the tally showed that same-sex households made up 2.2% of Hawaii's 274,414 "coupled households," and 1.2% of total households.

Nationally, same-sex couples made up 1.7% of coupled households and 0.9% of total households.

A breakdown of the coupled households in Hawaii revealed an overwhelming majority were opposite-sex married couples (86.1%), followed by opposite-sex unmarried couples (11.6%), same-sex married couples (1.3%) and same-sex unmarried couples (0.8%), according to the census data.

Both married and unmarried same-sex couples were pretty much evenly split between male-male and female-female pairings.

Hawaii, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, was among the four states with the highest concentrations of same-sex married couples (nearly 0.8% of total households) and among 14 states with the highest percentage of same-sex unmarried couples (almost 0.5%).

"It has been only a little more than 10 years since same-sex civil unions, and shortly thereafter, same-sex marriages were legalized in our state. Hawaii may be seen as a relatively welcoming place for same-sex couples and LGBTQ people in general," DeBaryshe said. "Pacific cultural traditions respect mahu, and Hawaii has avoided the controversy over issues such as health care and the representation of diversity that are happening in some mainland states."

The District of Columbia had the largest share of same-sex married couple households (1.4% of all households), and North Dakota and South Dakota had the smallest (0.2%). The District of Columbia also had the highest percentage of same-sex unmarried households (1.2%), while Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming had the lowest (0.2%).

Other newly released data from the 2020 census offered additional details of Hawaii households:

>> Single-male householders with children under the age of 18 numbered 7,752, or 1.6% of total households. The 16,628 single-female householders with minor keiki comprised 3.4%.

>> A total of 48,841 grandchildren under the age of 18 lived in their grandparents' home, or 3.4% of the state's population.

>> Nearly one-quarter of Hawaii households, or 24%, consisted of one person living alone, compared with 27.6% for the U.S. as a whole.

>> The percentage of 65-and-older Hawaii households in which the person lived alone increased by nearly 3 percentage points, to 10.8% in 2020 from 8.1% in 2010.