Cost of Living in Hawaii: How Much Do You Need to Earn to Live Comfortably

Aerial view of the azure water by the shore in Oahu, Hawaii

The Aloha state is a beautiful place to live as long as you can blend with its unique quirks. However, the cost of living in Hawaii is quite high.

In the Island State, an average married couple with two children would need at least $100,000 per year to make their ends meet.

So, if you are planning to move to Hawaii someday, it’s natural for you to wonder about the amount of money you need to earn to live comfortably here.

Let’s find out how much money you need to have a good life in Paradise Island.

The Cost of Living in Hawaii

Before we get into the main thing, we need to figure out how much it generally costs to live in Hawaii. That includes things like where you’ll stay, the food you’ll eat, how you’ll get around, bills for utilities and such, fun activities, and other expenses.

Hawaii has consistently been at the top of the list of most expensive states to live in the US for a long time now. A study from 2023 found that living in Hawaii costs at least 79% more than in most other states.

According to a report from HUD from 2022, any income less than $94,050 is considered “low income” for a family of three living in urban Honolulu.

Another study from MIT says that for just one person living on their own, they’d need to make at least $47,339 each year to get by in Hawaii. But add a kid to the picture and suddenly the number jumps way past the $93k mark.

Well, we could go back and forth all day looking at numbers. But the bottom line is that the cost of living in Hawaii is high. Only when you start putting together a budget will you understand how much money you need to relax and enjoy yourself as an island local.

Housing Cost in Hawaiian Island

Most people in the US spend a sizable amount of their salary on housing costs. Some people even spend nearly 50% of their paycheck to cover the rent or mortgage payments.

Just like the living costs, the average price for securing a home is quite high in Hawaii, when compared to the US mainland.

In the Q3 of 2023, the median home sales price in the United States was $430,300. As for Hawaii, the median price for buying an average single-family home was $971,167. Come to Honolulu County and the average price will jump straight to $1.15 million for a proper single-family home.

Eyeing for a condo in Urban Honolulu? The median purchase price is $515,000.

If you want to rent an apartment in the Aloha state, the average rent starts at $1,631 for the one-bedroom apartments. And the price will only go up for the apartments with more rooms, utilities, and living space.

Other Factors Influencing the Cost of Living in Hawaii

Living in Hawaii comes with some costs beyond just your mortgage or rent. Here are a few other regular expenses you can expect:

  • Gas out there is usually between $4 and $5 a gallon. Prices don’t fluctuate too much.
  • Your utility bills like water, electricity, internet, etc. will easily run over $400 each month. It adds up fast living on an island.
  • If you’re on Oahu, their bus system makes it easy to get around without a car. You can buy a monthly pass for about $80 that will take you pretty much anywhere on the island.
  • Groceries and dining out costs more too – about 53% higher than the national average. Everything has to be shipped in from the mainland so prices are up.
  • And of course, you’ll want to enjoy all the beautiful scenery and activities Hawaii has to offer. So, set aside a few hundred each month for exploring and having fun.

Wrapping It Up

The cost of living in Hawaii is pretty expensive for a few different reasons. Importing stuff from the mainland costs more because of shipping. It’s also harder to grow food there because of the climate and limited space.

Housing costs are through the roof. Groceries are pricey too. Just owning one car costs around $8,100 each year when you add in gas, insurance, and maintenance.

So, if you’re by yourself you need $112,411 each year. That number doubles to at least $182,900 if you’ve got a spouse and two kids.

If you’ve got a family of four and want to kick back and enjoy the island life while seeing the sights, less than $200k per year probably won’t cut it.


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Bella Duckworth

Bella Duckworth

Total posts created: 2255
“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid

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