Report: Kaua‘i residents face ‘high financial stress’

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i residents are statistically more likely to be experiencing a high level of financial stress than other state residents, according to a study from the Bank of Hawai‘i Foundation released this month.

The report suggests that some Kaua‘i residents have experienced “some of the most negative impacts” of the pandemic by being more likely to have applied for unemployment and have sought outside assistance from food banks or charity programs.

About 41% of those surveyed on Kaua‘i said they lived paycheck-to-paycheck. And of the 33% of Kaua‘i residents who have applied for unemployment benefits, 67% of them reported having not received a benefit payment as of mid-May.

The Bank of Hawai‘i Foundation commissioned Anthology Research to report the study, “COVID-19 in Hawai‘i – Facts and Insights” to gain a better understanding of residents “feelings, fears and financial hardships related to the virus.” The study included 1,096 participants statewide by phone and internet between May 14-22.

About 46% of those surveyed on Kaua‘i said they felt no financial stress, 19% stated some financial stress, 12% reported moderate financial stress, and 22% said high financial stress, the highest of any other island.

About 45% of state residents have had an income decline since the start of the pandemic. Those on neighbor islands were more likely to be furloughed or laid off than residents on O‘ahu.

Kaua‘i residents are resilient, though. Kaua‘i residents were reported as the best in terms of happiness, optimism and confidence.

Kaua‘i clocked in highest in the state for residents who believe they are following government mandates to prevent COVID-19 (82%) and were confident in county representatives (81%).

With his Daily COVID-19 Update Videos and a span of “Stay Home Kaua‘i” videos on social media to keep residents optimistic, Mayor Derek Kawakami became a bit of a national celebrity.

Amongst other islands, Kaua‘i has kept its confirmed cases of coronavirus down by implementing strict orders prior to state government restrictions.


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. J.D. July 5, 2020 3:06 am Reply

    The state caused a lot of hardship over a new flu strain.

    1. D.A. July 6, 2020 12:08 pm Reply

      Hey JD, if you’d rather die from Covid-19 be our guest. Just remember to self-isolate so you don’t spread it before you go.

  2. rk669 July 5, 2020 6:41 am Reply

    Thank you Governor and Mayor! This is on both of you! To shut down the people trying to survive this debacle of a shutdown! And then have the state unemployment system in such disarray? Are you two still drawing a Salary while your citizens are trying to survive,paying rent and feeding their children? SHAME on Iggy and kowardkami!

  3. Westside Resident July 5, 2020 7:26 am Reply

    We can thank Trump for the generous shower of cash and subsidies.

    So far as local administration of State & County… Only the Essentials are on the radar. The non-essentials may as well move away, so far as the leadership is concerned. Not just the leadership, the government employees who remain employed…for the most part, see it this way too.

    The Essentials vs. the Non-Essentials…another fruit from the tree of identity politics. We are now divided by the worthiness of our grindstone, the worthiness of our ethnicity, the worthiness of our circumstances.

    Let no crisis go unexploited.

  4. Norm Smith July 6, 2020 4:21 pm Reply

    Not all who live on Kauai are born and raised…. and not all who live on Kauai live in 500,000$ plus homes…. Open your eyes. Hand to Mouth is living next door

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