These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Hawaii For 2018

We used science and data to determine which places in Hawaii are basically dead broke.

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Hawaii brings to mind images of Honolulu, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Hawaii has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Hawaii that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 58 places in Hawaii with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Aloha State for 2018:

  1. Hawaiian Beaches
  2. Makaha (Photos)
  3. Waianae
  4. Maili (Photos)
  5. Hawaiian Paradise Park
  6. Nanakuli
  7. Waipio Acres
  8. Wahiawa (Photos)
  9. Hilo
  10. Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) (Photos)

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Hawaiian Beaches is the poorest place in Hawaii for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Hawaii or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Hawaii For 2018

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 58 places with more than 5,000 people in Hawaii, we ranked each place from 1 to 58 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Hawaiian Beaches, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Hawaii For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 58 places.

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1. Hawaiian Beaches

Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaii

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,035
Median Income: $34,293
Unemployment Rate: 19.3%
Poverty Rate: 29.9%
Hawaiian Beaches, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Hawaii thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 5,035 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Hawaii and the 1st highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Makaha

Makaha, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,934
Median Income: $52,035
Unemployment Rate: 16.6%
Poverty Rate: 28.1%
The second poorest city in Hawaii is Makaha.

The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the Aloha State.

3. Waianae

Waianae, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,426
Median Income: $58,807
Unemployment Rate: 13.7%
Poverty Rate: 25.9%
Placing as the third poorest city, Waianae’s median income ranks as the 10th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 25.9% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Aloha State.

4. Maili

Maili, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,943
Median Income: $59,116
Unemployment Rate: 14.3%
Poverty Rate: 20.6%
Maili ranks as the fourth poorest place in Hawaii.

The town ranks as having the 11th lowest median household income and the 6th highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Hawaiian Paradise Park

Population: 11,787
Median Income: $47,181
Unemployment Rate: 6.4%
Poverty Rate: 29.9%
The fifth poorest city in Hawaii is Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The city ranks as having the 2nd lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 1st highest in Hawaii.

Still not the best news for Hawaiian Paradise Park.

6. Nanakuli

Population: 12,042
Median Income: $63,724
Unemployment Rate: 13.2%
Poverty Rate: 18.5%
Nanakuli ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Aloha State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 6th highest unemployment rate.

7. Waipio Acres

Population: 5,169
Median Income: $65,160
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Poverty Rate: 15.1%
Waipio Acres places as the seventh poorest city in Hawaii.

The city of over 5,169 ranks as having the 10th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Wahiawa

Wahiawa, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,696
Median Income: $55,744
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Poverty Rate: 15.4%
Wahiawa ranks as the eighth poorest city in Hawaii.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 20th highest in the state.

9. Hilo

Population: 45,579
Median Income: $55,815
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Poverty Rate: 17.4%
Hilo couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Hawaii; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 7th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Hilo ranks as having the 8th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Hawaii.

10. Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County)

Source: Public Domain

Population: 13,617
Median Income: $61,629
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Poverty Rate: 12.3%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Hawaii is Kailua CDP (Hawaii County).

The city of 13,617 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Aloha State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Hawaii For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Hawaii, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Hawaii.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Hawaii, according to data:

Richest: Mililani Mauka
2nd Richest: East Honolulu
3rd Richest: Ewa Gentry

For more Hawaii reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Hawaii
  • These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Hawaii
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Hawaii

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Hawaiian Beaches 1 29.9%
    Makaha 2 28.1%
    Waianae 3 25.9%
    Maili 4 20.6%
    Hawaiian Paradise Park 5 29.9%
    Nanakuli 6 18.5%
    Waipio Acres 7 15.1%
    Wahiawa 8 15.4%
    Hilo 9 17.4%
    Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 10 12.3%
    Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 11 14.0%
    Wailuku 12 12.9%
    Schofield Barracks 13 6.6%
    Makawao 14 13.4%
    Kapaa 15 14.0%
    Kalaoa 16 15.1%
    Holualoa 17 10.5%
    Kahului 18 9.4%
    Kihei 19 8.7%
    Wailua Homesteads 20 7.6%
    Wailea 21 13.3%
    Waipahu 22 12.8%
    Urban Honolulu 23 12.1%
    Kaneohe Station 24 5.0%
    Waimanalo 25 21.9%
    Lihue 26 9.1%
    Ewa Beach 27 10.0%
    Waihee-Waiehu 28 7.4%
    Lahaina 29 7.6%
    Haiku-Pauwela 30 7.4%
    Hickam Housing 31 6.6%
    Ahuimanu 32 9.4%
    Hanamaulu 33 6.5%
    Kalaheo 34 9.3%
    Kula 35 13.0%
    Laie 36 11.7%
    Pukalani 37 7.5%
    Kapolei 38 5.0%
    Napili-Honokowai 39 4.7%
    Waikoloa Village 40 5.2%
    Pearl City 41 5.1%
    Kahaluu 42 8.8%
    Makakilo 43 4.5%
    Waimalu 44 6.8%
    Halawa 45 9.8%
    West Loch Estate 46 4.4%
    Waipio 47 6.5%
    Kaneohe 48 6.2%
    Mililani Town 49 5.2%
    Royal Kunia 50 3.0%
    Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 51 4.5%
    Ewa Villages 52 2.1%
    Waikele 53 1.7%
    Aiea 54 6.0%
    Ocean Pointe 55 3.7%
    Ewa Gentry 56 3.3%
    East Honolulu 57 3.7%
    Mililani Mauka 58 2.0%

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