To use Navigation Bar, Turn on Images! Home Page Calendar of Events Accommodations Cyberguide Activities Cyberguide Restaurants Cyberguide Things To See and Do Special Places hawaiian vacation rental guide affordable accommodations hawaii vacation rentals hawaii apartments for rent hawaii suites hawaii rooms for rent hawaii bed & breakfasts hawaii b&bs hawaii camping hawaii cabins hawaii campers for rent hawaii condos hawaii condominiums for rent hawaii cottages for rent hawaii homes for rent in hawaii home rentals hawaii hostels in hawaii hotels hawaii inns in hawaii lodges in hawaii rental agencies hawaiian islands rental properties hawaii resorts hawaii retreats hawaii ymca hawaii ywca hawaii ymcas in hawaii ywcas in hawaii

The Cost of Living in Paradise is High!

If you are thinking of making Hawaii your home, consider the following facts:

Sources indicate a cost of living ranging from 30%1 above the national average to well over 60%2 for certain family sizes.
  • In 2006, a family of 4 renting accommodation in Honolulu needs to earn $111,695 or 55% more income to maintain a lifestyle similar to a comparable family earning $72,000 in the continental United States.2

  • Although the 2003 median income of $71,320 for a family of 4 in Hawaii was higher than the national figure of $65,093, this is still below the amount required to maintain the same standard of living for a family of 4 in Hawaii as elsewhere in America.3

Hawaii's High Cost of Housing and Low Income

A major component of Hawaii's high cost of living can be attributed to its high cost of housing and low income.
  • In 2005, the State of Hawaii ranked number 10 out of 47 States surveyed (Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were excluded) for having the most expensive housing market based on a 2200 sq. ft. (approx.) single family dwelling with 4-bedrooms, 2.5 baths, family room (or equivalent) and a 2-car garage in a corporate middle-management neighborhood. Hawaii ranks number 47 (bottom of the list) for the most affordable housing market! 4

  • The national average of the markets surveyed in the above study was $401,767. The survey showed that the 2005 Average Sales Price for the most expensive Hawaii market was $745,454 (Kihei, Maui) and the most affordable was $737,625 (Honolulu, Oahu) - well over the national average.

  • 2005 set record high prices for single family dwellings on the Island of Oahu. The 2005 median resale price of a single family home was $590,000. The 2005 median resale price for a condominium was $269,000.5 The cost of housing on neighbor islands was even higher and higher incomes were harder to obtain.6

  • In 2004, Hawaii's home ownership rate (proportion of owner households to the total number of occupied households) was only 60.9%, ranking Hawaii as 48th (one of the lowest) in the nation - indicative of widespread speculative investment.7

  • In 2005, Hawaii's total personal income grew by 8% - the biggest increase since 1990 and the third largest increase in the nation.8 However, Hawaii's 2004 Per Capita Personal Income of $32,606 ranked 20th in the United States, below the national average of $33,041.9
For salary and cost of living comparisons between Honolulu and other U.S. cities, see the Cost of Living Wizard.

Even with 2 adults working full time, rental housing and home ownership are becoming increasingly unaffordable, if not impossible, for the average family in Hawaii.

Cost of Food

Amazingly, Hawaii has less than a seven day supply of many foods, especially perishables. Some 90% of our food is still imported.

In recent years, the cost of food in Hawaii has been offset to some degree with the arrival of major warehouse outlets throughout the Islands (e.g. Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart). However, the Economic Research Institute's 2006 Cost of Living Analyses for Honolulu shows that the cost of consumables weighted to pricing patterns of grocery and drug store chains is as much as 66% more than the U.S. average depending upon family size, earnings level and spending patterns.

Perhaps 10,000 acres could grow all the perishable food Hawaii needs. Unfortunately, key factors in utilizing these acres are the high cost of some land, tax laws and leasing difficulties, water, labor and transportation.

You just can't grow cucumbers on $95,000+-an-acre land!

Land Availability

Nearly half of Hawaii's 4.1 million acres are managed by the State or Federal Government and of the remaining 50% in private ownership, approximately 20 percent is controlled by seven private landowners.10

Of the total acreage, the State Land Use Commission classifies 95% as belonging to either Agriculture or Conservation Districts and only 5% to Rural and Urban Districts.

Increasing urbanization and growing pressure from developers to use agricultural land for resort and large subdivision development is likely to continue fueling the high price of housing, food, and cost of living in Hawaii.

America's Health Care - A System in Crisis

The Nation's health care costs in 2006 have hit the $1.9 trillion mark and now consume 16 percent of the gross domestic product.

Half of the people filing for bankruptcy in the United States cited medical costs as the reason. About 75 percent of those filing had health insurance when they became ill.

Currently, 46 million Americans are uninsured and millions more have inadequate health insurance. In terms of health indicators like life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality, and obesity, the United States ranks close to the bottom of the list of Western countries.12

Health Care Costs in Hawaii

As at January 1, 2006, the average cost for HMO (Managed Care) for an individual in Hawaii was $437 a month - for a family $747 a month. The average cost for Indemnity (Non Managed Care) for an individual was $563 a month - for a family $936 a month.2

The 2006 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Poverty Guideline for a family or household of 4 people in Hawaii is $23,000 a year.
13 In Hawaii, approximately one in ten persons were living "at or below poverty level" in 2004. Of those below poverty, 12.4% were uninsured (compared to 4.4% of those above poverty).14

Hawaii Quest is a State program that provides health coverage through managed care plans for eligible lower income Hawaii residents. To be eligible for Hawaii Quest, you must have income not more than 100% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines.

In 2004, the percentage of the Nation's population without health insurance remained unchanged, at 15.7% percent.
16 Hawaii had a total uninsured population of 5.2% in 2004.17

Beginning in 2006, Hawaii intends to extend Medicaid coverage to an additional 29,000 people over the next six years.

Many Hawaiians believe that health care is a precious human right that cannot be trusted to the vagaries of the profit-driven market model.

In spite of everything, Hawaii is still a better place to be.
We draw strength from our diversity.
Some of the best people in one of the best places in the world!

Data Sources

Share this page with your friends | Hawaii Overview Index | Island Profiles Index

Contact Us | Sponsor Join Us Form
© 2013