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All You Need to Know About the Cost of Living in Hawaii

Anastasia Hill November 6, 2020
Posted November 6, 2020 In Living Abroad,
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

Hawaii is a paradise vacation destination, but also an exciting place to live in. Before you hire an international moving company, look up what’s the cost of living in Hawaii. The only US state located in the tropical zone provides amazing weather, a clean environment, and beautiful beaches, albeit at a price. Here are a few things to consider before moving here.

This is undoubtedly one of the best places to live abroad for immigrants as well as for Americans who seek major change of scenery. If moving overseas from one of the best European countries to live in, don’t forget to hire an overseas moving company and collect all the documents needed to travel abroad. If you’re moving with pets, you’ll need to notify Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture at least four months in advance to receive all the necessary information and instructions required for the transfer. While driving is not necessary, you’ll need overseas vehicle shipping if you want to transport your car here. Those are only some of the basics before relocating overseas, to Aloha State.

What Is the Cost of Living in Hawaii

When coming from a high GDP state or one of the best countries to live in, you will probably think that the prices are quite reasonable here. As a matter of fact, Hawaii is one of the more expensive places to live in the US. Life here is more about quality than quantity, but you have to pay a specific price to experience everything the Aloha State has to offer. Let’s compare the costs to the rest of the US and explain why there’s such a big difference.

How Does Average Cost of Living in Hawaii Compare to the US

When comparing the state’s and the nation’s averages, Hawaii is overall 70% more expensive. According to BestPlaces, the median home price is around $621,700, compared to the nation’s $231,200. If you lived in some of the more pricey places like San Francisco, Seattle, or NYC, then this will come as no surprise since these have even higher prices for housing at $1,378,300, $714,400, and $680,500, respectively. For renters, a one, two, and three-bedroom apartments rent for about $1,444, $1,895, and $2,696 a month respectively, compared to the US averages of $930, $1,148, and $1,537. You might be surprised to see that you need to spend about 50% more on groceries compared to the nation’s average. You probably weren’t thinking about how much is a gallon of milk in Hawaii. It turns out that you’ll need to spend about 6 to 8 bucks, depending on the store. Transportation costs are also higher, around 23%, while the utilities are priced significantly more, about 85.8%. Interestingly, and significantly, you can save around 5.7% on health expenses here.

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Why Is Hawaii So Expensive to Live In?

One of the main reasons why living expenses in Hawaii are so high compared to most US is that almost everything gets imported. From basic groceries to more expensive items, transportation increases the base prices of many products. The other big reason is the high demand. The housing prices continue to rise due to many wealthy individuals buying properties in the area. Some people moving across the world from a country with a higher median income won’t be bothered by the higher expenses. On the other hand, people already living overseas in some of the friendliest countries in the world, like the Philippines or Cambodia, would have to be very frugal.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Hawaii?

You might be wondering, How much should you make to live in Hawaii? According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s data, to afford a reasonably priced two-bedroom apartment in 2016, the household would have to earn about $71,184 a year. People unable to afford this by themselves often opt to share a place with their extended family. While this amount is enough for all the necessities, you might have to earn around $120k to cover everything depending on your life standard. Low paying residents juggle between two and three jobs at a time to afford a comfortable life. In case you’re a high earning immigrant moving to another country for love or relocating from big metro areas in the US, you won’t have issues affording the local costs. Getting a job before relocating here is highly recommended. If you require more information, here’s a video talking about the costs and how they compare to some big US cities.

Honolulu High Housing Prices Can Put More Strain on the Living Expenses

Honolulu is perhaps the most expensive place in the state, and it drives the average prices up. The median home value is $660,300, while rents for one, two, and three-bedroom apartments are averaging at $1,595, $2,113, and $3,054 a month. Interestingly, food and utilities are slightly cheaper in the city than Hawaii’s averages, around 7.8% for food and 6% for utilities. The health expenses are somewhat less expensive, but you’ll need to spend approximately 23% more on entertainment, dining out, and shopping compared to the national prices. Overall the city is 76.5% more expensive when compared to the US.

Median Family Income in Honolulu vs the US

Honolulu’s median family income of $81,544 is higher than in the US’s $70,850. Family income is usually higher than the household income since it includes all the family members that are actively working. A household consisting of a single person is not included in the family income calculation. Areas with more significant discrepancies between these two values have a larger number of non-family homes. These can have either young or old tenants, which affect the overall income since they are either not working or earning less.

What Is the Cheapest Place to Live in Hawaii?

Located on the Island of Hawaii, Hilo provides an option for an affordable life here. Compared to the state average, the median home value is about $346,400, while rents for one, two, and three-bedroom apartments are $1,018, $1,346, and $1,686 per month. You’ll also spend less on transportation, around 30%, with utilities, food, and health costs being about the same. It’s overall 23.5% cheaper than the state average.

This Is a Beautiful Place to Call Home

Is it expensive to live in Hawaii? Sure, but it’s not the priciest place in the US, let alone the world. Most importantly, it’s worth every penny. You’ll be treated to fantastic weather, clean water and air, and of course, beautiful beaches. If you’re moving abroad here, you’ll need some international moving services. A reputable overseas shipping company offers numerous services you can use, from packing to different storage options, while you wrap up all the details of relocation to your dream home.



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