Chad Blair: Understanding Hawaii from its information

Every few weeks here in the Civil Beat offices in Kaimuki, the staff look for our latest edition of the Pacific Business News Book of Lists.

It’s an invaluable source of relevant and insightful data about Hawaii – the richest zip codes (96821, for Aina Haina-Niu Valley, is top), the largest hotels on Oahu (the Hilton Hawaiian Village is number 1), the most parking garages in downtown (visit Waterfront Plaza), even the largest breweries (Maui Brewing in Kihei).

It also cannot be found online unless you are a PBN subscriber. In this case you will receive both online access and a printed copy.

I thought of the Book of Lists – which, by the way, we found to research the largest unions (the Hawaii Government Employees Association has the most members) – as well as the latest edition of the State of Hawaii. Data Book ”was published on Monday.

It’s another invaluable resource, and it has the added benefit of being free and online.

The “data book”, which has been compiled annually by the State Ministry of Economics, Development and Tourism for more than 50 years, covers a “wide range of information”, as a press release correctly states, in areas such as population, education, the environment, economy, energy, real estate, construction, Economy, government, tourism and transport. There are a total of 24 sections.

The sourcing is diverse and credible and includes the US Census Bureau, the state Department of Labor and Labor, the US Department of Defense, and many more. The 2020 edition of the “Data Book” even cites PBN’s ranking of unions (mentioned above) as well as the largest private employers (the largest is The Queen’s Health Systems).

The “data book” helps us understand Hawaii better and where it is going. I relied heavily on it for my dissertation in the 1990s, especially when the internet was in general, but limited, public use.

I’ll let you leaf through the “data book” at your leisure, but here I will offer some of my findings from the more than 850 data tables that can be downloaded as PDF or Excel files.

Covid and tourism

As DBEDT points out in its press release, Covid-19 devastated the local visitor industry last year.

Scheduled flights fell from more than 61,000 to just under 24,000. The general excise tax base for hotel rentals – $ 2.6 billion – was more than halved year over year. And rental cars became scarce and very, very expensive (see table below).

2020 State Data Book Table of Most Expensive Car Rental Destinations

Duty-free revenue at Hawaii airports fell 25.6 percent to $ 78 million for the contract year ended May 31, the first time since 1985 to below $ 100 million. And hotel occupancy fell 37% while revenue per available room was just $ 99, compared to the RevPAR (as it is known in the industry) of $ 229 last year, before Covid.

Due to its central importance for our economy, DBEDT tracks a lot of visitor data. One that caught my eye is a table titled “Areas Of Improvement for Visitor Satisfaction” from 2019.

One-fifth of all Oahu visitors from the western US and nearly a quarter from the eastern US said that improving traffic would make their visit more enjoyable. And a quarter of Japanese visitors to the Big Island would like more ground and public transport.

Crime and Punishment

Hawaii has long suffered from an overcrowded and physically deteriorating correctional system. We even host hundreds of inmates in an Arizona facility.

So it surprised me that our total number of inmates decreased by 18% in FY 2020 – from 5,427 to 4,449 in FY 2020. This is the lowest number since 1997, but no explanation is provided.

“This includes inmates who are physically in one of the Department of Public Safety-operated prisons, housed in an extra-state or contracted facility, on vacation, in a medical facility, on refugee status, or serving intermittent prison sentences. “To DBEDT.

My reasonable guess is that the lower inmate numbers have to do with the fact that as of March 2020, when Covid first hit Hawaii hard, more than 800 inmates were released to help prevent the virus from spreading in prisons and prisons. As of May this year, 47 had been arrested again on various charges.

By the way, there are complaints about cybercrime. In 2020 there were 1,978 complaints with an estimated casualty loss of $ 13.7 million. That’s nearly 600 more complaints than in 2019 and nearly $ 3.7 million more in losses.

Personal preferences

Not all data in the “data book” is up-to-date. DBEDT is working to update information as it becomes available.

But outdated data also has stories to tell. For example, we like to drink beer. Of the $ 714 million spent on alcoholic beverages nationwide in fiscal 2017, beer sales exceeded wine sales, followed by distilled spirits and sparkling wines.

2020 State Data Book Table on Large Hawaii Landowners

We are voting more, or at least we intend to. In the 2020 general election, the number of registered voters (832,466) and the number of votes cast (579,784) reached “historic highs,” DBEDT says, with the percentage of registered voters hitting its highest level since 1994.

You will recall that last year Hawaii introduced statewide postal voting for the first time.

And in 2020 we liked to name the babies Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah and Kai – in that order – and the babies Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, Amelia and Luna. Ten years ago, Liam and Luna weren’t even in the top 10, but Dylan and Madison were.

Here’s another sign of the times: Eugene Tian, ​​the state economist, said via email that in 2007 DBEDT finally stopped printing hard copies of the State Data Book.

But some books are apparently available on CD-ROM – whatever that is.

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