Hawaii residents are more likely to have a college degree than their mainland counterparts, but may not be reaping the same economic benefits of higher education, according to statistics analyzed by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

According to the report, 62.6 percent of Hawaii residents over the age of 25 had at least some college education — about 4 percent more than the national average. Hawaii also posted a higher percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees. And there were fewer high school dropouts living in the state, with only 9.3 percent of residents age 25 and older lacking a high school diploma, compared to 13.6 percent nationwide.

Oddly though, the educational attainment of Hawaii’s residents doesn’t seem to be providing the same benefits that it might elsewhere. Basically, Hawaii’s labor market seems to be “favorable to those with less education” but not so great for those with college degrees.

‘Done with this BS’. 16 may 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A college degree in Hawaii might not have the same economic benefits as a degree on the mainland. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“For the education levels ranging from below high school to some college, Hawaii’s median earning outpaced the national average,” according to the report.

“However, median earning for individuals in Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree or higher was about 7 percent lower than its national counterpart, posing a question of whether or not higher education is valued as much in Hawaii as it is in the nation,” the report states.

Some other interesting tidbits from the report:

  • Nineteen percent of adults in Hawaii without a high school diploma live in poverty, compared to the national average of 27 percent.
  • More women in Hawaii have college degrees than men — a trend that appears to be increasing significantly. The difference jumps from 1.6 percent in the 45-to 65-year-old age group to 11.2 percent for residents 25-to 34-years-old.
  • Educational attainment varied significantly by place of birth. People born on the mainland were more likely to have college degrees than those born in Hawaii, who in turn were much more likely to go farther in school than foreign-born residents of the state.
Educational attainment levels varied greatly by place of birth.
Educational attainment levels varied greatly by place of birth, according to the Research and Economic Analysis Division, Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. 

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