A look at Kakaako’s changing population; Who is moving in?

HONOLULU —There has been a housing boom in Kakaako, but just who is moving into this bustling urban center?

Kakaako’s warehouses and auto repair shops are being replaced with new high-rise condos. And plenty of people have also been moving in as well.

According to census data, in 1990 2,249 people called Kakaako home.
By 2000, 6,239 were there.
In 2010, the number of residents increased to 10,673.

With thousands of condo units under construction and even more being planned, experts believe it won’t be long before the number of residents doubles.

When it comes to the housing boom in Kakaako, not everyone is buying in.
In fact, 54% rent, rather than own their own place.

So who has been moving in?

“Many of them, we believe, are younger, educated, who want to create a lifestyle,” said Anthony Ching, with the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

According to the latest study, roughly half of Kakaako residents over 25 years old have a college degree.
A majority work in retail, finance, and other service areas.

“62% of the population is between 25-62 years old, so there is a working sense there,” said Ching.

15% walk to work, which is one of the reasons future changes to Kakaako include plans to make it even more pedestrian-friendly.

“While we expect there will be towers, you will have a streetscape that is totally transformed. It will friendly for pedestrians,” said Ching.

That includes changes like turning ground-level parking into retail or restaurants to give people a destination or a more scenic walk.

Another change that will be coming soon will be bikes lanes added along the Ilalo Street sidewalk. That effort aims to make the street a major pedestrian and bicycling thoroughfare.

While Kakaako will see more bike lanes and new buildings, it has fewer families and kids.

Only 17% of Kakaako families have children, which is half the average of families across Oahu.

And there are a lot of people living alone. More than 40% of condo or rental units have only one resident.

Percentages could change depending on future development. Larger, more affordable housing projects could bring in more families.

We’ll have to wait to see who moves in, as Kakaako continues its transformation.

“You won’t see people living in their towers but you will see more at the street level and that will create an energy and truly stamp this community,” added Ching.

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