Published in Matador Network (March 2015).
If you want to live in Honolulu, the cosmopolitan hub of the islands, be prepared to pay as much for a home as you might in San Francisco or New York City. The limited amount of developable land and the desirability of the island lifestyle mean that the majority of homes are financially beyond the reach of people with an average income. Even Hawaii’s middle class families struggle to own their own homes.
The higher cost of living doesn’t stop there. Because Hawaii currently imports so much of its food, groceries cost about 50% more than the national average. And because it is the most oil-dependent state in the US, utilities are close to 70% more than what mainland residents are used to. Everything from driving a car to eating at a restaurant to buying milk at the store costs more in paradise.