Change Indicator

Children receiving public assistance in Hawaii

Children receiving public assistance

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Note: Non-consecutive years appear adjacent in the trend line
because one or more years have been deselected.

Why This Indicator Matters

Public assistance programs provide benefits that help eligible families meet basic needs. Children in financially vulnerable families are at risk of food insecurity and economic hardship, and public assistance may therefore provide access to nutritious food and other resources their families may not otherwise be able to afford.1 However, eligibility for public assistance is increasingly limited due to welfare reform and divestment in programs dedicated to childhood wellbeing.2

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Definition and Source



Percent of children in families with supplemental security income, cash public assistance income, or Food Stamps/SNAP

Data Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Various Years, American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Table B09010: Receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Cash Public Assistance Income, or Food Stamps/SNAP in the Past 12 Months by Household Type for Children Under 18 Years in Households - Universe: Population Under 18 Years in Households.

Technical Note:

Please note, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates provide average characteristics aggregated over a 5-year period. The primary advantage of using multiyear estimates is the increased statistical reliability of the data for less populated areas and small population subgroups. However, 5-year estimates are less current than single year estimates (i.e., since they are derived from averages over five calendar years) and should not be compared to single year estimates. The Census Bureau suggests comparing periods that do not overlap, such as comparing 2007-2011 with 2012-2016, which means waiting longer to identify a trend (for more information, read the comparison guidance and Period Estimates in the American Community Survey). However, in areas undergoing fundamental shifts in the size or composition of the population, change may be so substantial that it will be obvious after only a few years. Please see the ACS handbook on Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data for more information. 

Following pandemic-related data collection disruptions, the Census Bureau revised its methodology to reduce nonresponse bias in data collected in 2020. After evaluating the effectiveness of this methodology, the Census Bureau determined the standard, full suite of 2016–2020 ACS 5-year data are fit for public release, government and business uses. To learn more about changes to the methodology, view the methodology user note.

Estimates for Kauai County in 2011 and 2010; Maui County in 2010 only offer medium reliability and should be used with caution. For more information, contact the Center on the Family. 

A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at the link in the footnotes below.


1 Yuan, S, Kole, S. Hwang, S. Manglanit, M. Yuen, S., & He, S.J. 2009. “Quality of Life in Hawaii, 2009 Report: Framework, Indicators, and Technical Documentation.” Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii, Center on the Family.; Lentz, Erin C. and Christopher B. Barrett. 2013. “The Economics and Nutritional Impacts of Food Assistance Policies and Programs.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
2 Child Trends. 2015. “Child Recipients of Welfare (AFDC/TANF): Indicators of Child and Youth Well-Being.” Child Trends Data Bank Report.

Children receiving public assistance.

Last Updated

December 2023