Hawaiʻi Among the First to Reach 99.9% Response Rate


Shape our future starts here. United States Census 2020

As of Oct. 11, 2020, 99.9% of Hawaiʻi households have been counted in the Census. Hawaiʻi was among 12 states and Puerto Rico to first reach 99.9% complete. Still trailing are Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Mississippi and Louisiana.

This is a big accomplishment, especially given the delays that arose due to the pandemic. Our organized efforts to successfully coordinate the 2020 Census did not go unnoticed.

The Kalaimoku Group was part of the U.S. Census’ national communications team. Thanks should be extended to all of the Census-workers who went door-to-door, as well as to the many local organizations and private individuals who contributed to bringing awareness to the public about the importance of participating in the U.S. Census. A special mahalo to the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Complete Count Committee, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kamehameha Schools, Papa Ola Lōkahi and Liliʻuokalani Trust.

The Census is recorded every 10 years as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The data collected determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and how billions of federal dollars are allocated. The 2020 Census data is also anticipated to show, for the first time, more Native Hawaiians living on the U.S. Continent than in the Hawaiian Islands.

Residents began receiving official Census Bureau mail in March 2020, and the count was kicked off with Census Day on April 1. In July, Census-takers went around our many communities to try to count as many people as possible who hadn’t responded, until October when the count came to an end.

Among Hawaiʻi responders, 62.9% self-responded either online or by mail, while an additional 37% of households were counted through the work of door-to-door census takers. This combination achieved the 99.9% enumeration. Roughly half of all residents, some 50.3%, used the internet to respond to the Census.

The highest response rates came from Honolulu County with a 68.8% self-response rate, although it was lower than Honolulu’s 2010 rate of 71%. Hawaiʻi Island also showed a slight decline at 49.5% compared to 2010’s rate of 52.7%.

In contrast, Kauaʻi and Maui Counties recorded higher self-response rates in 2020 (54.1% and 53.1% respectively) than in 2010 with about a 2% to 3% increase each.

The remainder of the year will be spent preparing the counts to be delivered to the president and Congress by December. March 2021 is the projected timeline for states to receive that data.