CENSUS REPORT SHOWS SAMOANS AT BOTTOM OF HAWAII’S EARNING LADDER
Samoans in Hawaii make less money per year than any other ethnic group in the US state, according to the US Census Bureau.
The latest American Community Survey (ACS) by the Bureau reports the 2006-2010 median annual household income was $77,245 for the island.
According to the report Samoan families earn almost $20,000 less than that per year, raking in just $57,826 on average.
So if Samoan’s were the worst earners – who were the best?
Well the ACS revealed that the median Japanese annual family income sat at $88,651 - $30,825 more than Samoans.
Caucasians and Chinese earned slightly above the median at $78,174 and $77,411, respectively, Filipinos were at $75,087 and the Native Hawaiians’ median family income was $70,179 per year, according to the ACS.
Not only are Samoans sitting on the bottom rung of this earning ladder, University of Hawaii Professor Jonathan Okamura told Hawaii Business it has remained the same for the past 40 years.
Mr. Okamura is an Ethics Studies Professor who wrote Ethinicity and Inequality in Hawaii.
In researching his book - Okamura looked at three objective indicators of socieoeconomic ranking: income, education and occupational status.
He showed that each indicator presented very similarly with Samoans again sitting on the bottom rung for those over 25 years of age who have completed tertiary education such as a university degree.
Japanese, Whites and Chinese top this list. In regards to occupational status (see graph 3) Samoans come in last with less than 25 per cent of workers in the Management, Business, Science and Arts.
Mr Okamura said the reason these stark differences between the ethnic groups have persisted for so long was because of Hawaii’s social and economic system.
“We need to ask, ‘Does the system provide for equal opportunity?,” he asked.
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