Center on the Family Releases New Data on Hawaii Family Well-Being

Hawaii Family Touchstones project findings reported in series of articles

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Jul 12, 2004

Hawaiʻi Family Touchstones, a project by the Center on the Family at UH Mānoa, recently released a series of articles that reports new data relating to the well-being of families in Hawaiʻi. The series features a principal article, "Hawaiʻi‘s Strong Families," as well as supporting articles, "Portrait of Hawaiʻi‘s Families" and "Families in their Communities."

"Hawaiʻi‘s Strong Families" identifies the characteristics of strong families and presents survey data that provide a picture of how Hawaiʻi‘s families are doing on measures of family strength.

"We first reviewed research that identifies habits or characteristics of strong families, such as spending time together, maintaining meal times and eating together as a family, or practicing positive communication and expressing appreciation," explains Ivette Rodriguez Stern, Hawaiʻi Family Touchstones project coordinator. "Then, we interviewed a representative sample of Hawaiʻi‘s families to assess whether they practice the behaviors of strong families."

Over three-quarters of the more than 1,000 families surveyed are spending quality time together, regularly eating meals together, and practicing good communication skills — behaviors indicated by the research to be associated with strong families.

"It‘s not surprising to find the presence of these behaviors and practices in so many of Hawaiʻi‘s families given the value that our families place on the ʻohana," explains Stern.

Reports gathered for "Portrait of Hawaiʻi‘s Families" show many Hawaiʻi families consider having a strong and happy family life and giving to the community to be important goals for their children, and values that should be perpetuated; although many find it a challenge to balance family life with job demands and meeting financial obligations.

Findings reported in "Families in their Communities" show that Hawaiʻi‘s families view their communities to be generally safe where they can rely on a neighbor for help and engage in leisure activities, with a higher percentage on the neighbor islands. Hawaiʻi residents are reported to give more of their time and money towards charitable causes than do most Americans, but are below national trends when it comes to voting patterns where 41 percent, half of the voting population, voted in the 2000 elections.

The Center on the Family developed Hawaiʻi Family Touchstones to monitor the well-being of families in Hawaiʻi. The data gathered come from a variety of public and private sources and is monitored through relevant and measurable indicators tracked over time to provide an overview of Hawaiʻi‘s families at a given point and in relation to the past. In addition, the Center on the Family conducts periodic surveys on a representative sample of Hawaiʻi‘s families to collect data unavailable from other sources. These data often focus on the quality of family interactions and relationships. The inaugural Hawaiʻi Family Touchstones report was published in 1999.

To download the articles or to view other data relating to children and families in Hawaiʻi, visit

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