With nicknames like ‘Paradise’ and ‘The Aloha State’, Hawaii is a unique mix of culture and history. The islands of Hawaii are the most distinct of all US States. You must be wondering why the state is so popular. There could be many reasons for it like the fact that it is the only US state which is made up completely of islands. If its island geology doesn’t awe you, the fact that it is home to pristine beaches surely will.
The Hawaiian language that was once native to a majority population, is now replaced by English. But apart from this, the state has stuck to its cultural heritage – like the Spirit of Aloha, which teaches lessons of peace in this rapidly changing world. The state is a top choice for tourists, but have you ever thought about relocating here, if yes, read on to know about moving to Hawaii.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Hawaii?
The islands of Hawaii stand strong between the tough waves of the Pacific Ocean and are located more than 2,000 miles away from the mainland. The state is made up of 137 islands and has a total area of 10,931 sq mi, which includes both land and water. But out of this large cluster of islands, only 7 are inhabited.
The one state that is nearest to Hawaii is California. Additionally, Hawaii is the only state that falls in the tropics. This tropical weather gives Hawaii its rich and green environment. When it comes to Hawaii, the most talked about are its beaches. The shores have sands of diverse colors, pink, red, green, and even black which makes the islands all the more breathtaking.
The best part about Hawaii is that life is slowed down here, and the state comes under the least stressed state population in the US. According to a 2019 report, Hawaii is the fourth-best state to live in the US. Though many people move to the island with starry eyes, living here has its own share of struggles. It is the same as settling in any other state, but with better outdoor views.
You will love eating the specialties like tropical fruit and tiki cocktails when you first move here. But soon you will start enjoying what the locals truly eat for meals. The staple food is a cuisine called Poi, which is made from taro root and is either baked or steamed. The chicken here tastes different because it is not infused with chemicals like on the mainland. So you will always be eating healthy in the state.
Leave your jackets and sweaters behind when you move here because the climate will be warm most of the time. But the state does come with its share of rainy days and cold nights. Most of Hawaii gets a lot of rain, and if you are not seen with an umbrella, people will instantly know you are new to the state.
Crime Rate In Hawaii
Hawaii is very safe, even at nights, you will see police patrolling around the beaches and campsites. So even the roadside county parks and campgrounds are safe to visit at night. The overall violent crime rate in Hawaii is lower than the national rate. You will be relieved to know that Hawai stands at the second-lowest violent crime rate across the Pacific region.
According to NeighbourhoodScout, the total crime rate including both violent and property crime rates is 25.77 per 1,000 residents. If you were to fall victim to a violent crime, the chances will be 2.46 in 1000, quite low right. But property crimes are slightly higher. The chances of your falling victim to a property crime in the state are 23.31 in 1000. You can choose to move to Makaweli, Kalaupapa, or Schofield Barracks, as they are the safest places in Hawaii.
Because of semi-tropical weather, days are usually warm with temperatures between 75-90 degrees F. Nights here too are usually warm and temperatures don’t go below 70. Except for the nighttime temperatures in the winters, which can drop to 50 degrees at times. You simply cannot avoid the showers that can grace you any day of the year, a result of the hot and humid climate.
Though rains can appear any time, they are usually heavy during the months between November and February. You will often see rainbows after a quick shower. An interesting thing you will notice here is how it sometimes rains in the mountains but is dry towards the beaches. These are called the ‘Mauka Showers’, and Mauka here means towards the mountains.
The state’s proximity to the equator has its own benefits. The climate is consistent and tropically warm across all seasons. But the perfect time to enjoy the beach and sunny skies is between March and September when the temperature is highest and there is less rain.
The levels of rainfall vary across the state, the coasts on the north and east face more rain than the coastlines of south and west. This is why the northern and eastern coasts of Hawaii are greener when compared to the other coastal areas. Though the Hurricane season falls in the summer, the landfall of such storms is once in a blue moon. While the state is quite secure, the rising sea levels might harm the state’s ecosystem in the long run.
Is It Expensive To Live In Hawaii?
Relocating to a place is so much different than just vacationing there. A lot of expenses get added up and there are so many bills to take care of. This is why knowing the cost of living and everyday expenses is as important as budgeting for your new home. Though the cost of living in Hawaii is high, the locals of Hawaii are content and happy with the lifestyle here.
A study by a Hawaii think tank says that Hawaiians paid double the state taxes than the national average in 2020. The sales tax in the state is 4.5%. Though the income tax is progressive, the property taxes in the state are relatively lower. People of Hawaii have to pay a property tax of just 0.28% which is the lowest property tax rate across the US. But the median annual tax payment is much higher, which is $1,871. So Hawaiians end up paying more either way.
Cost Of Living In Hawaii
The cost of living index of Hawaii is 170 and the household income ranges between $41,532 and $181,202. For leading a comfortable life in Hawaii, you need a minimum personal income of $50,000. But the cost of living can vary from one city to another, depending on your average salary and the real estate prices of that city.
The prices of groceries in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, are 62% higher as compared to the national average. Go out to buy breakfast essentials and you’ll spend $5.39 on a loaf of bread, $3.14 for a gallon of milk, and $2.93 for a carton of eggs. If you just feel like skipping lunch and going for a hamburger instead, it will cost you $6.87. Opting to dine out at an inexpensive restaurant will cost you $15.
Healthcare in Hawaii is higher than the US average by 16%. You will end up spending approximately $128 on a doctor’s visit. If you want to get a major health insurance plan, it will cost you around $224 per person.
Buying A House
Buying your own property in Hawaii comes with tons of advantages, you will never get tired of the food and the beaches. You can even rent out some parts of your property since many tourists visit Hawaii every year. Buying a house in Hawaii will cost you $708,288 on average. The home values have gone up by 7.2% over the past year, making it a favorable time to buy property in Hawaii. The home prices rise as you go towards bigger cities, as buying an apartment in Honolulu will cost you $7,443 per square meter.
Renting A House
Studio apartments are the cheapest options for renting in Hawaii, they will cost you anywhere between $1,000 – $1,300. Renting a one-bedroom apartment will cost you $1,700. If you are moving in with your family and want a bigger place, a two-bedroom house will cost you around $2,100. It is obvious to have high rents in a state where property prices are so high. According to NeighborhoodScout, the average rent around Hawaii is $2,413 a month. But it’s worth the kind of spectacles and experiences Hawaii presents you with.
Everything from electricity to gas is expensive in Hawaii when compared with the US. Hawaii residents usually spend $500 or more per month on their utilities. If you live in an 85m2 apartment, you will shell out $266 over Electricity, Water, and Garbage. Expect a phone bill of $337 every month. If you own a vehicle, you need to dish out $3.52 for every gallon of gas. This high price of gas is because of the great difficulty in transporting oil and refined products from the mainland.
Also Read: 10 Most Expensive States to Live in
Hawaii Economy And Employment Opportunities
The highest-earning industry in Hawaii is the visitor sector which is spread over industries like transportation, retail trade, and service. Apart from the tourism sector, agriculture, manufacturing, and fishing industries too contribute to the state’s income. But Hawaii ranks lower than other US states in terms of income, because of its dependence on imports. Hawaii’s largest exports are from the manufacturing category. Petroleum & coal products alone accounted for $303 million of total goods export in 2018.
Hawaii hosts many tourists from the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan every year. There are several cruise ships and luxury cruises around Honolulu, which are frequented by visitors. You are wrong if you think that tourists only come for the love of beaches. Hawaii’s cultural activities, musical attractions, sporting events, and theatres attract vacationers and residents alike. Hawaii is in the center of the international market of the Pacific basin because of its tourism. This has given rise to a lot of capital investment and foreign investment from the U.S. mainland and other countries.
When it comes to agriculture in Hawaii, pineapples, macadamia nuts, cane for sugar, and coffee bring in major revenue. Wide varieties of flowers are produced by Hawaii for experts. Another contributor to the state’s economy is food processing, which is also Hawaii’s leading manufacturing activity. You will find processed foods like canned pineapple, dairy products, juices, bread, and soft drinks aplenty around Hawaii. Fishing too brings in economic opportunities for Hawaii, with swordfish and tuna being the top contributors.
The largest employers in Hawaii are spread around Honolulu and Pearl Harbour. Altres Industrial, Kapiolani Medical Center, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and Hawaii Health Systems Corporation are some of the largest employers in Hawaii. With Altres Industrial employing as many as 10,000 people. The average salary in the state is $65,000. The highest paying jobs in Hawaii are in the medical sector. Besides that, Air Traffic Controllers earn $110,050 a year, Lawyers make $111,290 a year and Marketing Managers make $112,800 every year in Hawaii.
The percentage of students who attend private schools in Hawaii is highest in the US. There are a total of 130 private schools in the state. Hawaii is also the only state in the US to have a single and unified state-wide public school system. The islands of Kailua and Schofield Barracks have some of the best private and public schools in Hawaii. Mililani High School and Moanalua High School are two of the best public schools in the state.
The cost of education is $6,540 for students from within the state and $17,871 for out-of-state students. Higher education in Hawaii ranks at the 21st position in the nation. The University of Hawaii, Brigham Young University, and the Chaminade University of Honolulu are some of the best colleges in Hawaii. Students pay upto $29,823 annually to attend the University of Hawaii. Overall a good education system, the state faces a shortage of Hawaii Qualified Teachers every year.
Getting Around Hawaii
People usually prefer taking buses, shuttles, and cabs to move around the state. You will easily find apps to find rideshares like Uber or Lyft. Though there are no trains or subways in Hawaii, buses cover a wide network in the state. You will also find tourists renting mopeds and motorcycles to explore the islands. Traveling between different islands in Hawaii is made possible with inter-island flights and ferries. But the frequency and number of ferries are less. Moreover, such ferries only connect Maui to Lanai and Molokai islands.
Dozens of flights connect the six major islands of Hawaii. Four companies currently provide inter-island flight services in Hawaii. They are the Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Makani Kai Air. Southwest airlines have frequent flights every hour. It is always better to catch a flight from Honolulu and Lanai City rather than the long wait for a ferry. Mokulele Airlines give many special discounts and sale offers, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their website if you are planning to move to Hawaii.
Oahu’s bus system covers a wide area and is the best bus system in Hawaii. The buses have great island coverage and have frequent buses. Then there is the Hele-On Bus service on Big Island that runs on limited routes. If you opt to go for a daily pass along top routes, it will cost you $2.50. If you travel to work along a certain route, it is better to get a monthly pass, which will cost you approximately $70. Places like Honolulu and Waikiki experience traffic like any other US city, sometimes worse with congestion common in rush hours. This is because many people travel to Honolulu from neighboring areas for their jobs.
Related: How Much Does it Cost to Register a Car in Hawaii?
Best Cities To Live In Hawaii
This capital city of Hawaii is the most visited in all of Hawaii. Residents here have plenty of options to spend their weekends. It could be the thriving nightlife or the live music venues. The underground bars in the Chinatown arts district have a distinct feel to them. Honolulu also hosts many cultural events and is home to many historical attractions. The city has opened itself to a huge population of 400,000 people. The extensive police force in this city keeps the crime rates in check. If you don’t mind the traffic, you will soon fall in place with the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. Though the cost of living in Honolulu is high, the city boasts of many employment opportunities. Plus it’s a treat to live near the beaches and have great weather all around the year.
- Median Home value: $757,364
- Median Home rent: $1,725
- Unemployment rate: 8.3%
Many young professionals and families choose to relocate to Kapolei. Many people from the military prefer living here because Kapolei is near to the island’s military bases. The public schools in Kapolei are above average. This vibrant and lively city has welcoming and liberal residents. Kapolei is also known as the second city on the island of Oahu and is often interdependent with Honolulu. The cost of living in Kapolei is above the national average but it is reasonable as compared to other cities of Hawaii. There are countless shopping complexes and restaurants in this city, so you never run out of options. Kapolei also hosts an exquisite golf club and a large water park that is frequented by tourists and residents alike.
- Median Home value: $712,854
- Median Home rent: $2,397
- Unemployment rate: 7.6%
Located on the north shore of Pearl Harbour, this city is close to the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which is one of the largest employers in Hawaii. Pearl City is also well connected to other cities and islands because of its proximity to the Honolulu International Airport. Dubbed as ‘Central Oahu’, the city is bustling with a population of 47,021 people. This Bayside city always keeps residents occupied with numerous activities. You will find a store called Down to Earth in Pearl City which is the only all-vegetarian food store in Hawaii. So you will always find yourself eating healthy.
● Median Home value: $830,043
● Median Home rent: $2,121
● Unemployment rate: 7.6%
Is Hawaii A Good Place To Live?
Many mainlanders move to Hawaii because of the peace and scenery the state promises. But such temporary residents often move back to the US mainland due to the high cost of living in Hawaii. But if you budget well, moving to Hawaii will be the most memorable of your moves. It might look daunting at first, and you will be worried about shipping everything from furniture to your car to the state. But to shed some light, many companies offer services to ship your vehicle to Hawaii. It is better to do prior research about which island will be suitable for you. Once you decide on relocating to a particular island, look for the best neighborhoods and plan your move.
Life in Hawaii is not very different from the mainland, you can also order online without a worry as deliveries come within a week through FedEx. The same goes for shipments from Amazon, which come between 2-7 days. The best part about relocating to Hawaii apart from the beaches and great weather is the laid-back life. You are sure to find healing from the stressed-out competitive life in other states. If you can find the right kind of job opportunity and can afford the expenses here, then Hawaii is a good place to live for sure.
Also See: Affordable Movers in the US
Top Realtors in Hawaii Share their Thoughts
1. George Krischke
“The number one reason why people move to Hawaii is ‘Quality of Life!’
Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, is the perfect blend of a tropical oasis with a metropolitan big city lifestyle. The best of both worlds: a) paradise with natural beauty and b) all the social and cultural conveniences of modern city living.
Hawaii is considered safe, friendly, relaxed, and healthy for you. Hawaii residents enjoy clean air, clean waters, and everyone here tends to get along.
To no surprise, Hawaii claims the top spot for life expectancy in the U.S. Could it be because the finest weather on the entire planet is inspiring year-round outdoor activities?
No other place in the entire world enjoys a more consistent, balmy climate with little temperature variations to maximize lifestyle and well-being. Hawaii’s surrounding open ocean surface water temperatures range between 77°F (25°C) in March and 83°F (28°C) in September. Here you can swim in the ocean any day of the year.
Besides steady sunlight and temperatures, Hawaii enjoys a unique north-eastern trade wind pattern. This constant flow of fresh temperate air travels for thousands of miles over tropical ocean waters, naturally cooling the islands and providing the cleanest air anywhere.
Honolulu and Hawaii took top spots for the cleanest U.S. metropolitan area for Ozone and 24-hour particle pollution.
The Economist’s Global Liveability Report 2017 ranked Honolulu as America’s most livable city. Scoring points were based on many factors, including health care, environment, infrastructure, and overall stability.
Wallethub ranked Hawaii as the 3rd happiest state in the nation, and National Geographic ranked urban Honolulu #15 out of 190 U.S. metro areas in their survey of the happiest cities in the U.S.
Hawaii’s population today is one of the most ethnically diverse in the entire world. A unique cultural melting pot with no racial or ethnic majority. Everyone is a minority living in peaceful coexistence.
The Hawaiian word Aloha stands for: love, affection, kindness, peace, gratitude, compassion, and mercy. A complex and profound sentiment and unique concept ingrained in the culture of the Hawaiian people. And it is contagious.
Once you live in paradise in the middle of the most massive ocean, you will feel it affects your way of thinking. And your changed way of thinking improves your life and the lives you touch. Slow down and savor life. – Welcome & Aloha to Hawaii”
2. Lucena Nicolas
“For starters, we have beautiful weather. Each island is truly special by being able to share something that other islands don’t have. Maui is known for its beautiful beaches and valleys, Kauai is known for its beautiful Fern Getto and waterfalls, Lanai used to be known as the Pineapple Island, now known as where the rich and famous want to unplug. Of course, the big island (Island of Hawaii) is my favorite of all islands. We have fire (volcano) and ice (snow up in Mauna Kea), Not to mention 11 different climates zones. Most importantly, Hawaii welcomes people from all walks of life. Because of that, I was able to try different cruises, see different cultures and just relax, knowing that tomorrow would be another beautiful day.”