Last Updated: 9/13/2021
Between the beautiful beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and laid-back lifestyle, it isn’t hard to imagine why so many people are drawn to the idea of moving to Hawaii. Whether it’s trading a hectic life in the city for colorful jungles and breathtaking waterfalls or leaving a stressful work environment for a more peaceful state of mind, Hawaii has a lot to offer its residents.
However, this tranquility does come at a price. The cost of living in Hawaii is among the highest in the nation. In fact, by some calculations, Hawaii is the most expensive state in the U.S. If you’re considering packing your bags for Hawaii, we’ll give you a run-down of the real cost of moving to paradise. With our research under your belt, you can feel more confident that you’re making the right decision for you and your family.
How Does Hawaii Compare to the Rest of the U.S.?
CNBC, USA Today, the website Lifehack, and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) all agree: Hawaii the most expensive state to live in. But how does the cost of living in Hawaii compare to other states?
One piece of data you might find useful is the MERIC cost of living index. This set of statistics offers you 1) an index that aggregates several cost-of-living factors into one single number, as well as 2) an easy way to compare Hawaii to other states. You’ll find all 50 states on the MERC website, but here’s a quick list of the top 10
You might also find MIT’s Living Wage Calculator data useful. By examining these numbers, you’ll have a sense of how much you’d need to earn to get by in the state. To give you a little perspective, these wages don’t represent a comfortable living. Instead, consider these a “minimum subsistence wage”—what you’d need to stay afloat in the state.
These numbers also offer another way to compare costs between states. We’ve included a few states here for contrast, and you’ll find the rest at the Living Wage Calculator website.
Now that you have a sense of the how Hawaii compares to the rest of the U.S., let’s take a closer look at each of Hawaii’s islands. The cost of living on Oahu is different than that on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island—and that’s not to mention all the other differences in lifestyle, atmosphere, community, and more. As you think through which Hawaiian island is right for you, the below data on each island’s cost of living may influence your thinking.
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