The state of Hawaii has seen a net migration loss over the last few years, meaning that more people are leaving Hawaii than moving here. While we experience the joys of Hawaii life daily, we also understand that this island paradise just isn’t for everyone.

If you’re like many of the people leaving Hawaii, you may be looking at the Lone Star State. In fact, Texas is the third most common destination for people leaving Hawaii, according to IRS data. If you’re considering a move to Texas, we’ve got five reasons why the state makes an appealing home base for a former Hawaii resident.

Or, maybe you currently live in Texas, and you’re dreaming of a move to Hawaii. From 2017-2018, the IRS recorded almost 1,900 changes of address from people who traded in Texas for Hawaii. It seems like an easy decision to us, but if you need a little extra motivation, read on.

Why Move to Hawaii from Texas?

We might be a little biased, but we could probably talk story all day about the benefits of living in Hawaii.

For starters, you get to wake up every morning on a tropical island with year-round warm weather. Translation? 365 days of swimming, surfing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing—just about everything an outdoor enthusiast could ask for.

Additionally, you’ll get to enjoy the laid back lifestyle that Hawaii is known for. If you’re living in a place where the hustle-bustle is getting under your skin, a one-way ticket to the Hawaiian islands could be just the change you need.

But beyond the enviable lifestyle that Hawaii can offer, many residents treasure the diversity of the Hawaiian islands. In addition to ranking Hawaii the third-most diverse state overall, WalletHub also placed the state first in ethnic diversity. Hawaii is also home to the country’s largest share of multiracial Americans. Whether you’re looking for a place you’ll feel comfortable fitting into, whether you’ve made it a priority to raise your family in an ethnically diverse location or whether you’ve got your own personal reasons, you’ll find a wealth of different cultures, ethnicities, and races in Hawaii, all of which infuse the island’s unique culture.

Finally, even though the Hawaiian island chain sits in relative isolation in the middle of the Pacific, it’s also the perfect jumping-off point to Asia. With plenty of direct flights from Honolulu to destinations including Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai, Seoul, Manila, and more, living in Hawaii means you’re perfectly positioned to explore Asia—and visit family living abroad. Plus, Sydney is a direct flight away, as is Samoa and French Polynesia, so you can let the Pacific be your playground for exploration.

That being said, while the IRS logged nearly 1,900 changes of addresses from Texas to Hawaii, that same year, it logged more than 2,400 in the reverse direction: from Hawaii to Texas.

Why would people leave paradise for the Lone Star State? Although everyone has their own individual reasons, one of these five probably played a part.

Reason #1: No State Income Tax

Many people are drawn to Texas because the state doesn’t levy a personal income tax on its residents. This can create immediate savings for Hawaii residents, who may pay personal income tax rates as high as 11%.

That being said, personal income tax is just one of the ways that states collect revenue. However, WalletHub compared the three major types of state taxes—personal income, property and sales and excise taxes—and determined that Texas residents still come out with a lower tax burden. Hawaii residents are the second-most taxed in the country, while Texans fall in the lower half, at 33rd in terms of tax burden.

In other words, if you moved from Hawaii to Texas and your income remained exactly the same, you’d enjoy both immediate and long-term tax savings.

And you might be able to put that money to work for you by building equity in a new home in Texas.

Reason #2: Lower Housing Cost (and Lower Cost of Living Overall)

One of the big reasons people leave Hawaii is housing. It’s expensive to own a home in Hawaii, and many residents simply can’t make the math work. It’s no surprise when you take a look at Zillow’s calculation of the median home value in Hawaii: $613,500. In contrast, Zillow puts the national average is $205,100. Some estimates suggest that buying a house in Plano, TX could cost 49.7% less than in Honolulu—almost half.

You’ll find the same trends when comparing the cost of living between Honolulu and Plano, TX. Estimates suggest living in Plano costs around 38% less than living in Honolulu, with groceries also clocking in at around 26% less. So if you plan on moving to Texas, you might be pleasantly surprised the first time you check out at a grocery store.

Combined with the tax savings you’ll see as a Texas resident, the financial advantages of living in the Lone Star state begin to add up.

Additionally, you also might discover a chance to move your career in a different direction.

Reason #3: Diverse Job Opportunities

Finding a job isn’t necessarily difficult in Hawaii. Historically, Hawaii has seen low unemployment numbers, some years even the lowest in the U.S.

That being said, Hawaii’s economy is heavily focused on the tourism industry. As a result, a large majority of the jobs available have been in hospitality—hotels, restaurants, tour businesses—and retail. If you’re looking outside those areas, jobs can be tough to find (but not impossible!).

However, in contrast, Texas’s booming economy has created jobs in all kinds of sectors—oil and gas, high-tech industries, startups, and more. Austin in particular is becoming a hotbed for tech startups. In fact, if Texas were an independent nation, it would rank as the tenth-largest economy in the world, based on GDP!

So if you’ve felt at all pigeonholed by the job opportunities in Hawaii, Texas might offer you the new opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Plus, from its central location in the U.S., you’ll also find it easy to use Texas as a jumping-off point for travel.

Reason #4: Low-Hassle Travel to See Friends & Family

If you’ve spent any time in Hawaii, you know that ‘ohana—family—is everything. Being out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean can make it challenging (and expensive!) to see family on the mainland.

However, if you’re in Texas, you’re not only in a central location that makes travel to different parts of the U.S. easy but you also have access to the state’s 27 commercial airports that can quickly get you where you need to go.

If staying connected to friends and family on the mainland is important to you, living in Texas can make it significantly simpler.

Finally, many moving from Hawaii to Texas will find some cultural similarities that make the transition easy.

Reason #5: Oddly Enough, It Can Feel Like Home

Did you know that Texas has the fourth largest Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian population in the country? (Hawaii, California, and Washington claim the top three spots.) If you’re of Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian heritage, and you’re looking for a community that will support you in carrying on your traditions, you might find the perfect home in Texas.

Plus, if you grew up in paniolo country in Hawaii, Texas may feel like home quicker than you’d think. If riding horses, roping cattle, and attending the rodeo is your thing, you’ll find plenty of people who share your sentiments in Texas.

And, finally, although nothing truly compares to Hawaii’s aloha spirit, Southern hospitality might be its younger cousin. As opposed to the urbanized coastal areas of the country, like the Los Angeles area or the Northeast, Texans harbor a friendly spirit and a commitment to hospitality that may help Hawaii residents make an easier transition to the mainland.

Making the Move: Texas to Hawaii (and Back!)

The numbers don’t lie: There’s just something about Texas that draws people from Hawaii. Whether it’s the cost of living, the opportunity for a new career, the easier access to friends and family, or the ability to make a smoother cultural transition, the state of Texas does have a lot to offer Hawaii residents.

We also happen to believe that the opposite is true: Hawaii can feel like true paradise to a former Texas resident. At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding what matters most to you and your family—and finding the perfect fit in the community that’s right for you.


Transitioning to Texas? Heading to Hawaii? We can help! Whether you’re headed to the islands or moving to the mainland, we can get you there safely, easily, and affordably. Just reach out to one of our experts for a complimentary quote, and we’ll help you transition to the home of your dreams.

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