“Humility” and “Respect” Help in Overcoming Cultural Barriers When Surveying Hard-to-Reach Populations: A Case Study of Kanaka Maoli (Indigenous Hawaiians) and Others on Hawai`i Island
*Ephrosine Daniggelis, Independent Consultant, Hawaiian Islands
Keywords: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Survey, Hawai`i Island, Hawai`i, Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiians), Pacific Islanders, coverage errors, barriers to participation, survey methodology
The Census Bureau (CB) conducted the 2010 evaluation, Comparative Ethnographic Studies of Enumeration Methods and Coverage in US Race/Ethnic Groups, to identify underlying factors that may cause miscounts. Ethnographers carried out small-scale field observations of the Census Coverage Measurement Survey in 9 race/ethnic groups focusing on these issues. This paper presents a case study of an indigenous population of Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and others on rural Hawai`i Island, Hawai`i, and identifies underlying issues that may cause miscounting. Data was collected from observations and debriefings of 36 CCM interviews. Factors that may lead to possible coverage errors were: mobility caused by child custody and shared child caregivers, economic hardships creating large households, interviewer dominance, and hidden units. These factors affected Hawaiian participation in the US Census: Hawaiian sovereignty movement, government mistrust, CB’s repeated visits, White interviewers, federal funds not benefiting Hawaiians, and reluctance to participate in surveys. This paper discusses implications for the wider field of survey methodology on hard-to-count populations.