“COVID-19 in Hawaii” Study Reveals Impacts of Pandemic on Residents

First, and most comprehensive, research survey uncovers fears and financial hardship


July 2nd, 2020

Today, Bank of Hawaii Foundation released findings from its COVID-19 in Hawaii: Facts and Insights report, commissioned from Anthology Research.

The COVID-19 in Hawaii study is the largest research survey of its kind to provide specific feelings, fears and financial hardships related to the virus during the heart of Hawaii’s shutdown. Between May 14 and 22, a total of 1,096 Hawaii residents statewide were surveyed, in which 2 in 5 Hawaii households revealed experiencing job-related impacts over the first months of the pandemic.

“Hawaii ranked as one of the most expensive states prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Ho, chairman, president and CEO of Bank of Hawaii. “The research findings illustrate just how much the pandemic has exacerbated hardships for residents. Many are adding to their existing credit card debt or selling personal items to make ends meet. The hope is that this study will provide detail to shape discussions and future solutions to ease the financial, as well as emotional, toll on residents and business owners of our state.”

The full COVID-19 in Hawaii study can be viewed in its entirety at Key findings of the survey are outlined below:

  • Hawaii households have taken a significant financial hit, with residents struggling to afford basic necessities and relying on public and private support to navigate these difficult times.
    • 45% have seen their household income decline since the start of COVID-19.
    • 1 in 4 are delinquent paying at least some of their bills.
    • 1 in 5 have had issues with food security in the last three months.
    • 13% have sought out food from a local food drive or food bank.

  • Fear of COVID-19 among residents is substantial.
    • 81% worry about contracting COVID-19.
    • 71% consider COVID-19 a threat to themselves or others living in their household.
    • 57% worry about passing the virus on to others.
    • 83% who know at least one person who has tested positive for COVID-19 considers the virus a threat to their household.
    • 18% know someone (including themselves) who tested positive.

  • The pandemic continues to impact residents’ behaviors and habits, especially in relation to patronizing local businesses:
    • 47% of residents will dine-in at restaurants less.
    • 44% of residents will go to movies or shows less.
    • 33% of residents will shop in-store at retail establishments less.

  • Financial support from the federal government is slated to end in the weeks ahead. The reality for many residents and businesses already facing financial hardship is that their situations will likely worsen.
    • 83% of households statewide received or expect to receive an Economic Impact Payment.
    • 81% found the federal stimulus payment to be valuable.
    • 49% found the federal stimulus payment to be very valuable.

The study on which findings in the COVID-19 in Hawaii – Facts and Insights report is based was conducted for Bank of Hawaii Foundation by Anthology Research and involved a statewide online and telephone survey of full-time Hawaii residents. The resulting overall margin of error is +/– 3.02% at the 95% level of confidence.

About Bank of Hawaii Foundation

Bank of Hawaii Foundation was established in 1981. In response to the pandemic, Bank of Hawaii Foundation donated $3 million to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s (HCF) Hawaiʻi Resilience Fund, which was established by HCF and the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund to address the growing social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in Hawaii. $1 million each was designated toward health and safety needs, food relief, and economic revitalization.

About Anthology Research

Anthology Research, with offices in Honolulu and Guam, provides quantitative and qualitative research services to a wide range of regional, national and global clients. Leveraging the company’s state-of-the-art calling center, Internet research capabilities, the largest focus group facility in Hawaii, and a field staff well experienced in offsite/interview research, Anthology Research has become the “go-to” source for businesses seeking answers and insights that underline major business decisions. For more information, visit

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