What’s the cost of living in Hawaii?

1 min readLast updated January 18, 2024by Charlie Barton

Wondering about the cost of living in Hawaii? This article summarizes everything you need to know, from tax rates to healthcare costs. 

When considering a move to a new state, understanding the cost of living is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning. So if Hawaii is calling your name, let’s look at the current statistics related to the cost of living in the state.    

The average cost of living in Hawaii 

Hawaii is a dream location known for its stunning landscape, beautiful beaches, and relaxed way of life. But, the dream starts to fracture when it comes to the cost of living.  

According to data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States.  

Studies suggest an annual income of up to $200,000 for a family is recommended to live comfortably in Hawaii. 

Housing costs in Hawaii 

As of March 2023, the average home value in Hawaii is estimated to be around $834,583, according to the Zillow Home Value Index as of March 2023. This is the highest of all states, with the District of Columbia in second place, over $200,000 behind.  

While this figure is high, it's important to note that housing prices can significantly differ across various regions within the state. Here are some examples of typical home prices based on Zillow's data: 

CityAverage Home Value
Honolulu $795,449
Pearl City $933,510
Hilo $490,150
Kailua $1,462,172

For those considering renting in Hawaii, monthly rental prices for a two-bedroom apartment range between $2,233.  

Utility costs in Hawaii 

Utility costs play a significant role in Hawaii's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $563.53.

UtilityAverage cost in Hawaii
Energy bill $177.78
Monthly water bill $64
Internet $45
Natural gas $122
Phone bill $114
Streaming $40.75

Grocery and food costs in Hawaii 

When it comes to groceries and food costs, Hawaii tend to be higher than elsewhere in the United States.   

According to Zippia, those in Honolulu pay over $556 on average each month. This is the highest amount in the country.  

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average spending on food at home is $5,259 annually, or about $438 per month for US households.   

Transportation costs in Hawaii 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact Hawaii's overall cost of living.  

They are among some of the highest in the country, joining the ranks of California and Massachusetts. According to MIT, a single adult with no children can expect to pay upwards of $5,300. 

Gas prices in Hawaii typically are above the national average. At the time of writing, Hawaii was one whole dollar above the national average. These prices fluctuate over time.   

It is also worth noting that prices can vary across different regions within the state.  

Healthcare costs in Hawaii 

Understanding healthcare expenses is crucial when considering the cost of living.  

The specific healthcare costs in Hawaii can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and individual circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates. 

MIT estimates:  

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $2,402
One adult, one child $8,735
One adult, two children $8,745
Two adults (one working), no children $6,306
Two adults (one working), one child $8,745
Two adults (one working), two children $8,670
Two adults (two working), no children $6,306
Two adults (two working), one child $8,745
Two adults (two working), two children $8,670

Childcare costs in Hawaii 

Families in Hawaii currently pay around $ 9,813 per year for childcare for one child. This figure doubles for two children.   

However, it's important to note that this figure can vary across the state.  

Taxation in Hawaii 

Hawaii state income tax rates range from 1.4% to 11.0%.   

Here's a comparison of income tax rates among some neighboring states:

StateIncome Tax Rates
Hawaii 1.4% - 11.0% (Marginal tax rates range)
California 1.0% - 13.3% (Marginal tax rates range)
Oregon 4.75% - 9.90% (Marginal tax rates range)
Washington No state income tax
Nevada No state income tax

The sales tax in Hawaii is known as the General Excise Tax (GET). It is not a traditional sales tax but rather a tax on businesses' gross income. Hawaii's current general excise tax rate is 4% for most businesses on the sale of goods and services. 

The bottom line

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in Hawaii can vary depending on location, lifestyle, family size, and personal preferences. However, as the most expensive state in the US, you may need more than you first think. 

It's essential to consider these factors, along with personal circumstances and preferences, when evaluating the cost of living in Hawaii. In addition, consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and assistance in managing expenses and financial planning. 

Whether you’re retirement planning or considering relocating to chase a new career, Unbiased can assist you with your move's financial ins and outs. Find the right advisor for your needs today.


Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.