Study on Financial Struggles of Hawaii's Working Families

In February 2016, on behalf of Hawaii Appleseed, QMark Research conducted a telephone consumer survey to study the personal financial struggles of Hawaii's working families.

According to the study, nearly half of Hawaii residents are living paycheck to paycheck.

Paycheck to Paycheck

Other findings regarding the financial struggles of Hawaii families include:

  • Half (48%) currently describes their own personal financial situation as being one
    that survives “paycheck-to-paycheck.”
  • One in four (25%) Hawaii residents have, in the last five years, worried about how
    they would pay that month’s rent or mortgage.
  • Twenty-one percent have worried about how they would come up with enough
    money to pay their monthly utility bill.
  • One in five (20%) Hawaii residents have faced a medical crisis which caused
    financial worry and hardship and questions as to how they would pay these bills.
  • Seventeen percent of the families polled indicate they have worried about being
    able to provide basics such as food on the table for loved ones.


The survey results also show that Hawaii residents are highly concerned about the state’s
high cost of housing and low wages and that they support targeted tax credits to help
them make ends meet:

  • 95% believe the high cost of housing is a very serious or important problem in
  • Almost nine out of ten (89%) believe the low wages paid to many residents is a
    very serious or important concern.
  • Six out of seven (86%) of the respondents indicated support for a tax credit that
    lets low and moderate income working families keep more of what they earn.

Serious Problems

Click here for a more complete summary of the study, and here for the press release.