May 3rd, 2018

Hawai‘i Communities’ Economic Well Being

The Hawai‘i Well-Being Project is a team effort to fit together a set of reliable, continuing data to address policy-relevant strengths and liabilities in Hawai‘i. It is part of an ongoing effort to improve the well being of Hawai‘i’s communities and residents. In short, we can learn about the well being of a community in two ways: by asking individuals about their subjective experience and by looking at objective indicators. For example, the measure of safety and security is a combination of residents’ perception of safety in their community as well as the actual number of crimes within their community as reported by the Counties.

A variety of national organizations have provided “happiness” or “well-being” scores for the State of Hawai‘i in the past. These have been based on national studies with a relatively small base of local resident data. The Hawai‘i Well-Being Project was designed by local experts to identify local issues, validated through interviews with a large number of residents. With the support of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, SMS interviewed 3,199 local residents in 2017.

To fully understand residents’ well-being, the SMS Hawai‘i Well-Being Study measures well-being in each of following domains:

  • Economic
  • Health
  • Governance
  • Safety and Security
  • Social Capital
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Overall Well-Being Score by Community

This is our first installment---- the economic well-being by community.

The following charts summarize the economic scores for a list of 53 communities across the State. The score is the statistically weighted mean of responses to ten survey questions and several public domain economic data.

Each chart has two frames — the score and an index. The index is a measurement of the variance of the specific community’s mean score versus the mean score for the specific County. As an example, North Kona’s community economic score is 18 percent above the Island of Hawai‘i’s economic mean score.

Big Island Economic Scores

The Hawai‘i Well-Being Study can be used to guide policy development and can be a valuable tool for Hawai‘i communities. The community-level data and well-being model makes it possible for communities to better understand the domains and factors influencing their residents. Over time, using this tool, specific domains/factors can be identified as needing to be strengthened to improve overall community well being. As programs are implemented, key metrics can track community-level changes, programs improved, and over time, higher levels of well being achieved.

In the next few weeks we will publish weekly posts that will explain the well-being scores for the 53 communities we measured by the other domains listed. The results presented above are based on a random sample of 3,199 Hawai‘i residents, 18 years or older, providing a margin of error of +/-1.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level at the State level, individual community level data will have a higher margin of error due to smaller sample size which will improve as further iterations of the study are conducted.

For more information please contact Jim Dannemiller by filling out the form on our contact page.

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