HONOLULU (AP) - A new federal calculation that takes into account Hawaii's high cost of living significantly increases the state's poverty rate.
The new estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau places Hawaii seventh highest in the nation for poverty. Under the old formula, the state ranked 32nd.
The new poverty measurement, unlike the official calculation that has been used, factors in state-to-state differences in costs for such things as housing and food, subtracts work-related expenses and out-of-pocket medical costs from household incomes, and counts subsidies such as food stamps.
The revised calculation, called the "supplemental poverty measure," is expected to eventually become the official way that poverty rates are evaluated in the U.S.
The new measurement estimates that there were 49.7 million people nationwide living in poverty last year, about 700,000 more than were included in the current poverty rate.
Using the new measurement, Hawaii's poverty rate was revised upward by nearly 5 percentage points.
The new calculation based on averages between 2009 and 2011 puts Hawaii's poverty rate at 17.4 percent - nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national average. It places some 229,000 Hawaii residents below the poverty line. That's about 64,000 more than are included in the official poverty rate.
Eugene Tian, economic research administrator at the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said the report "will have a negative impact because we are in the top 10 in terms of household income, but when you factor in cost of living it changes the picture."