Sep 2, 2011

THE CHANGING FILIPINO DEMOGRAPHIC IN HAWAII: ITS MEANING AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS


Belinda A. Aquino, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
University of Hawaii at Manoa

(The following is abstracted from the Keynote Speech of Dr. Aquino at the annual convention of the Congress of Visayan Organizations on August 13, 2011 at the Maui Beach Hotel, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii)


First of all, I should like to extend my congratulations to COVO and its officers, leaders and members for holding this Convention, which marks the 24th anniversary of its founding with the avowed mission of unifying the various Visayan communities in Hawaii and promoting Visayan languages, cultures, and  traditions in Hawaii.  Your organization has survived the test of time because 24 years is a long time and you can rest assured that your accomplishments all these years will serve to inspire the younger generations to emulate your example and keep the Visayan spirit alive in the state.

My presentation today seeks to explore the meaning of the changing Filipino demographic in
Hawaii and its implications for public policy in areas such as employment, health, and education, among others.  I may not be able to discuss all these because of time constraints, ,so I will focus on these three items and our distinguished panel this morning will add whatever is relevant for the discussion to make this a more integrated public presentation.

This talk is based largely on the results of the 2010 Census for the State of
Hawaii, which were released in May 2011.  Other sources like the American Community Survey, which was taken yearly from 2006 to 2009 are also referenced where appropriate.

I must start off with a couple of caveats which will inform this discussion accordingly.  First, I am not a trained statistical analyst, which means that I may not be able to deliver an airtight and authoritative interpretation of the statistical information which had been gathered from survey data. We in the social science field view most of the data as reliable given the fact that the methodology for census taking has been tried and tested, and validated through practice year in and year out.  

The second concern, which is related to the first, is  that the data are extracted from sample populations, which may not capture the nuances or complexities of communities that are being surveyed. We may not get the full picture of demographic  trends and patterns, especially in such ethnically diverse or mixed states like
Hawaii.  We are all aware that census surveys will always miss certain information, which therefore makes analysis and interpretation also a partial  undertaking.

The Data

For purposes of our discussion, we will be looking at two sets of  census data - one for 2000 and the other for 2010.  This will give us a comparative perspective which is expected to yield more meaningful conclusions.

These two sets of data will show comparative growth among the three biggest population groups, namely,
White (Caucasians), Filipino and Japanese.  We will refer to the summary prepared by Hawaii News Now, posted on Internet on
June 20, 2011, which was  eventually published by Civil Beat.   The two sets of data presented below are divided into two categories:  1) Population by Race Alone  and 2) Population by  Race Alone  or Mixed.

I. Population by Race Alone

                           2000                 2010              Growth

White                    294, 102        336,599          + 14.4%
Filipino                  170,635         197,497          +15.7%
Japanese               201,764         185,502          - 8.1%

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