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DBEDT NEWS RELEASE: DBEDT releases data on Maui consumer spending

Posted on Jun 2, 2016 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today that provides data and analysis on spending patterns of Maui households in 2014.

The “Maui County Consumer Spending” report summarizes data obtained through household surveys conducted by DBEDT in 2015 and covers spending in 2014. DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Historically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.  The BLS survey only included Oahu residents and excluded neighbor island residents.  Data on consumer spending patterns for neighbor islands did not exist before DBEDT compiled the data through household surveys.

“The consumer spending data can be used to formulate government policies in the areas of taxation, labor, and human services,” said Chief State Economist, Dr. Eugene Tian. “The data are valuable for assessing the cost of living, business climate, quality of life, and estimating the income needs for the households on the neighbor islands to be self-sufficient.  Consumer spending data are also used by businesses for planning purposes.  New residents to the islands could also use this data to estimate their household budgets by spending category.”

Some of the findings in the report include the following:

  •    A typical Maui household spent an average of $65,197 in 2014. About 72 percent of the total household spending went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.
  •    The largest expenditure category was on housing, comprising an average of 40.3 percent of total expenditures or $26,277 in 2014, followed by transportation (15.7 percent or $10,226), food (15.6 percent or $10,196), and personal insurance & retirement savings (7.4 percent or $4,795).
  •    In 2014, an average Maui household spent about $3,000 more than that of Honolulu. Maui county consumers spent slightly less on housing but more on transportation and food.
  •    The average annual household expenditures for Maui were 22 percent more than the U.S. average in 2014, with Maui at $65,197 and the U.S. at $53,495.  Housing comprised a larger portion of Maui consumers’ spending (40.3 percent for Maui and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Maui consumers spent relatively more on food (15.6 percent for Maui and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and less on transportation (15.7 percent for Maui and 17 percent for U.S.).
  •    The highest income households (above $100,000) on  Maui had the highest average annual total household expenditures at $98,166 in 2014; this was more than twice the spending of the lowest income households (less than $50,000) at $43,334. Lower income households spent a relatively larger share on the three basic needs categories, 78.3 percent for the lowest income households compared with 66.3 percent for the highest income households. The higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on education and personal insurance and retirement savings.
  •    Average annual total household expenditures increased as household size increased for Maui. Households with four or more members spent $85,411 annually in 2014, about 116 percent higher than that of one-person households. Larger households spent relatively smaller shares on housing and food, but a larger share for education.
  •    Maui households with higher educational attainment spent more on average in 2014. The households with family members who had master, professional, or PhD degrees spent $76,207; and the least educated households with lower than high school diploma spent $54,022. Similar to the income group comparison, households with higher educational attainment spent a greater amount and share of their annual expenditures on education and personal insurance and retirement savings.
  •    Home owners with mortgages and renters had comparable shares for housing related expenses (43.6 percent versus 43.9 percent). However, the home owners’ annual expenditure amount was much higher than renters, with $83,844 for home owners with mortgages versus $52,713 for home renters.

The results are based on 453 completed surveys from the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, and the results are viewed to represent Maui County.  Due to small samples, data at the island level would not be representative and thus are not available.

The full report is available at:

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Media Contacts:
Christine Hirasa
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Phone: (808) 587-9006
Mobile: (808) 286-9017
Email: [email protected]