Hawaii Cons


Hawaii is well known for its breathtaking natural beauty, outdoor-friendly lifestyle, cultural diversity, and laid-back atmosphere, making it an attractive destination for families looking to settle on the islands. However, there are certain downsides to living in the Aloha State that potential residents should be aware of.

High Cost of Living

One of the most significant challenges of living in Hawaii is its high cost of living. The islands’ popularity as tourist destinations contributes to elevated housing, food, and other essential goods and services prices. For instance, the median home sale price in Hawaii is around $732,300. Imported goods, like gasoline and everyday necessities, can also come with a hefty price tag. This high cost of living may make it tough for some residents to make ends meet and impact their overall quality of life.

Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion, particularly in larger cities like Honolulu, is another potential drawback of living in Hawaii. Limited space and a growing population contribute to traffic issues during rush hours and weekends, leading to longer commutes and increased stress for residents. The cost of owning and maintaining a car in Hawaii can also be higher due to import costs and gas prices.

Prone to Natural Disasters

Living in Hawaii involves the risk of natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. The islands are situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region characterized by high volcanic and seismic activity. Hawaii’s tropical climate can also bring severe weather events like heavy rainfall, flooding, and landslides.

While the state has efficient emergency management systems, these disasters can be unpredictable and cause property damage, loss of life, and significant disruptions to daily life. Creating an emergency evacuation plan is crucial for residents.

Sense of Belonging

The concept of belonging in Hawaii can be a little complicated. The term “Hawaiian” specifically refers to those with Native Hawaiian ancestry. Being born in Hawaii doesn’t automatically grant one the title of “Hawaiian.” Instead, residents are often referred to as “Hawaii residents” or “kamaaina,” meaning “child of the land.”

Some may believe that you’re not truly “kamaaina” unless you were born in Hawaii or have lived there for an extended period. Newly arrived residents might be considered “malihini,” or strangers. An important point to remember is that respecting the land and the people whose ancestors originally settled it is essential, as the history of Hawaii is complex and continues to influence the local perspective.

Remote Location

Hawaii’s remote location in the Pacific Ocean can result in longer flight times and higher airfare costs when traveling to the mainland or other destinations. This geographical distance can also lead to delays in receiving goods and services, affecting businesses and individuals.

Overcrowding Due to Tourism

Hawaii’s economy heavily relies on tourism, which can result in inevitable encounters with crowds of tourists, especially in popular spots. For residents, this can be frustrating when it affects daily life, such as commuting or accessing favorite recreational areas. Balancing the needs of tourists and the preservation of natural resources is an ongoing concern for Hawaii.

Off-the-Grid Living

Hawaii offers the opportunity to own remote land and live off the grid, but it comes with a significant upfront investment. While the land is more affordable, residents must build their infrastructure, including water and power systems. This entails costs for equipment like pumps, pressurizers, solar panels, inverters, and possibly battery systems.

Limited Job Opportunities

Compared to larger mainland cities, Hawaii offers limited job opportunities. While fields like tourism, hospitality, and healthcare present employment options, the job market in Hawaii is competitive and less diverse. This can make it challenging for some residents to find work aligned with their career aspirations and impact their earning potential. Prospective residents should research the job market and employment opportunities in their field before making a move to Hawaii.

The Bottom Line

Living in Hawaii can be a dream come true for those who appreciate natural beauty, warm weather, a laid-back lifestyle, and fresh local food. However, the high cost of living, limited job opportunities and the risk of natural disasters are all factors to consider. Whether it is the right place for you depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Hence, it is imperative to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding to make Hawaii your home. Aloha!



Q : What are some Hawaii cons?

A : Living in Hawaii does have some drawbacks, including a high cost of living, limited job opportunities, and the risk of natural disasters, among others.

Q : Is natural disaster risk a concern in Hawaii?

A : Yes, Hawaii faces natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, requiring emergency plans.

Q : Is it worth living in Hawaii?

A : It depends on your preferences. Hawaii has natural beauty and a relaxed lifestyle but also a high cost of living and limited job opportunities. Consider your priorities before deciding.

Q : What are some of the Hawaii pros and cons?

A : Pros include natural beauty, a relaxed lifestyle, and fresh local food. Cons involve a high cost of living, limited job opportunities, and the risk of natural disasters.

Chris is a Midwest Transplant that has lived in South Florida since 1999. While he likes to remain active and is an avid sports enthusiast, he's become our go-to provider of reviews of any establishment serving food and booze!