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Marshallese Pop. in Hawaii up 20%

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The 2003 Census of Micronesians in Hawaii shows nearly 3,000 Marshallese on all islands in mid 2003, up from the 1997 total of about 2,500 - a 20 percent increase.

The population of Marshall Islands born migrants, meanwhile, grew by 25.5 percent (from 2,100->2,600), compared to the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau impact populations, which grew faster at 35.7 (3,300->4,500) and 62.2 percent (130->210), respectively. *These numbers do not include those born in Hawaii and that moved to the state prior to the 1986 compacts negotiations.

The 2003 census revealed significant changes in demographic, social, economic and housing conditions among Marshallese living in Hawaii.

In 1997, 83.7 percent of the total population consisted of impact migrants (the non-impact part of the total population enumerated included those who came before Compact implementation and non-Marshallese living in Marshallese households). In 2003, the impact population increased to nearly 88.6 percent of the total population, meaning the total population consisted of more recent migrants (compared to the population in 1997).

Marshallese households in Hawaii grew from 432 to 490 during the 6 years between the two censuses. The households became more crowded, with the average persons per household increasing from 4.8 to 5.3. The home ownership rate dropped among Marshallese in Hawaii, which is consistent with the increase in the impact population. In 1997, 13.7 percent of all Marshallese households were owned (with ongoing mortgages or fully paid) whereas in 2003 4.5 percent were owned. Households renting, on the other hand, increased from 69.4 to 83.4 percent. Households with telephones increased from 55.3 to 69.5 percent and those with televisions increased 75.2 to 84.2 percent.

Language and Education Characteristics

The percentage of persons aged 5 and over speaking English at home fell dramatically, from 17.8 to 6.8 percent, again supporting the trend of more recently arrived migrants. The percentage of adults (aged 25 and over) who completed high school increased slightly (from 43.1 to 46.0 percent) while the percentage who completed college fell slightly.

Economic Characteristics

The labor force participation rate among the impact population showed minimal increase, from 29.9 to 32.9 percent. The unemployment rate, on the other hand, fell dramatically from 28.0 to 12.2 percent. Median annual household income (in nominal terms) grew from $10,725 to $18,561, a 73.1 percent increase. While per capita income grew by over 50 percent, from $2,977 to $4,537, it was still far lower than the state-wide per capita income of $30,001. Fewer migrants were living below the poverty line in 2003 (49.0 percent) compared to 1997 (71.3 percent).

The Population of the Marshall Islands is only around 57,000.



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