HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates on Thursday which details the income, poverty, employment and other data for places with populations of 65,000 or more. Approximately 1.8% of Hawaii’s households were surveyed.

The survey also looked at changes in remote work and commute times in 2019 and 2021. Nationwide, the number of people primarily working from home tripled. In Hawaii, the number more than doubled.

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Last year marked the highest number of people working from home since the ACS began in 2005.

“Work and commuting are central to American life, so the widespread adoption of working from home is a defining feature of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Burrows, statistician in the Census Bureau’s Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch, in Thursday’s announcement. “With the number of people who primarily work from home tripling over just a two-year period, the pandemic has very strongly impacted the commuting landscape in the United States.” 

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home in Hawaii went from approximately 33,500 workers to about 71,700 workers. Honolulu County had the largest increase in remote workers last year. In the year prior to the pandemic, it actually had the smallest percentage of remote workers. Hawaii County had the most remote workers in both 2019 and 2021.


  • State of Hawaii: 4.8% in 2019, 10.7% in 2021
  • Hawaii County: 7.4% in 2019, 13% in 2021
  • Honolulu County: 3.9% in 2019, 10.9% in 2021
  • Kauai County: 7.3% in 2019, 9.7% in 2021
  • Maui County: 6.2% in 2019, 7.8% in 2021

* Workers ages 16 and older

The new Census data also compares remote workers by gender: There were approximately 41,000 women working from home in 2021, compared to roughly 30,700 men.

Despite the increases in remote work, Hawaii ranked 42nd in the nation. The District of Columbia topped the list with nearly half of remote workers, followed by Washington (24.2%) and Maryland (24.0%). Mississippi had the fewest remote workers (6.3%).

With more people working from home, there were fewer vehicles on the road. Nationwide, the average one-way travel time to work dropped to 25.6 minutes in 2021, among the shortest times in the last decade, according to the Census.

In Hawaii, average commute times also decreased, and there were less people who drove alone or took public transportation to work. Last year, 65.3% of workers drove alone to work, compared to 69.3% in 2019. That’s about 49,500 fewer people commuting alone by private vehicles.


  • State of Hawaii: 28.1 minutes in 2019, 25.3 minutes in 2021
  • Hawaii County: 30.2 minutes in 2019, 27.1 minutes in 2021
  • Honolulu County: 29.4 minutes in 2019, 25.8 minutes in 2021
  • Kauai County: 22.4 minutes in 2019, 20.6 minutes in 2021
  • Maui County: 20.8 minutes in 2019, 22.7 minutes in 2021

Maui County actually saw a longer commute time in 2021, increasing by 1.9 minutes.

Nationwide, New York had the longest average one-way commute at 31.4 minutes, according to the Census. South Dakota had the shortest at 17.4 minutes, and Hawaii had the 20th longest average commute.

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The Census Bureau is set to release more ACS statistics over the next few months, including 2021 ACS 1-year supplemental estimates and 2017-2021 ACS 5-year estimates. To see the full set of statistics released today, click here.