Primary Season State Profile: Hawaii

Published by Peter Lawrence on Friday, March 11, 2016 - 12:00am

While hot housing markets can be indicative of healthy economies, they sometimes also pose challenges for low- and moderate-income renters looking for affordable housing. In Hawaii, however, the economic picture and housing conditions for Hawaiians are both positive. In 2014, 11 percent of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents lived in poverty, including nearly 13 percent of children, giving the state the 5th and 4th lowest rates in these respective categories nationally. Nearly 54,000 households in Hawaii pay more than half their income on rent.


  • Presidential caucus: March 8, 2016
  • Number of delegates: 19 Republican/35 Democratic
  • Allocation method: Proportional
  • 4 electoral votes
  • 2012 Results: President Obama won Hawaii by 71 percent to 28 percent over Mitt Romney.

Tax Credit Usage in Hawaii

In December 2014, the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation approved $7.2 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTCs) for six affordable rental housing developments containing 638 affordable rental homes. Four of the six awards went to developments catering to families, and the other two were designated for elderly residents. To understand Hawaii’s LIHTC priorities, the state’s qualified allocation plan (QAP) is here.

Blog Graph Snapshot: LIHTC Properties and Poverty Rates in Hawaii
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The LIHTC, new markets tax credit (NMTC) and historic tax credit (HTC) have combined to assist in the addition of more than 12,000 jobs in Hawaii. For other impacts the credits have had in the state, see the table below.

Blog Chart LIHTC, NMTC and HTC Use in Hawaii
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Renewable Energy Landscape

In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to commit to 100 percent clean energy. Hawaii has committed to procure all of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2045. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that Hawaii currently has 203 MW of installed wind capacity, 29th most nationally. There are an additional 3 MW of wind capacity under construction and in 2014, the wind energy industry in Hawaii supported as many as 100 jobs either directly or indirectly.

There were 107 MW of solar capacity installed in Hawaii in 2014. The 497 MW of solar energy currently installed in Hawaii ranks the state 7th in the country, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). SEIA says several large retailers in Hawaii have gone solar, including Macy’s and Target. Safeway has installed one of the largest corporate photovoltaic systems in the state with 332 kW of solar capacity at their location in Ewa. There are currently more than 115 solar companies at work in Hawaii, employing 2,200 people.