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Naming the worst places to live in Hawaii might sound like a silly thing to do. Hawaii is probably the most exotic and beautiful state in the nation. It's a destination for vacations and honeymoons.
The Hawaiians are fiercely protective of their state, and rule breakers are not tolerated. In fact, while tourism is the biggest job provider and economic backbone of the state, most locals would rather prefer that you stay out.
But is it all good in The Aloha State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Hawaii has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Hawaii your home.
After analyzing 47 of the state's most populous cities (over 5,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Hawaii:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Hawaii? That would be Makaha.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Hawaii reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Hawaii For 2020
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Makaha is the worst place in the state of Hawaii.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Makaha is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Makaha are the 5th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can't get much worse in Hawaii.
you're looking to live in Hawaii, Waianae might not be the best choice as it places 2nd in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
Waianae doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Waianae may not be your first choice for a vacation.
While numbers in Hawaii are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Hawaii cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Nanakuli average $339,300, which is the 3rd lowest in the state. Say what you want about 'cheap living,' the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Nanakuli.
Plus, 17.6% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 24th highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Nanakuli city limits, you have a 1 in 34.0 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $280,100 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (22nd worst)
More on Hawaiian Paradise Park: Data
HPP is right next door to Hawaiian Beaches. It is also not a real 'city'. The population has almost doubled here in the last 15 years. Does that sound appealing?
It's certainly not paradise here when you consider home values ($280,100), and income levels ($56,738). Many people here live at or below the poverty line and the unemployment rate is 3.9%, which is the highest in the state.
Maili is another place in the Aloha State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Maili is a staggering 9.5%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($84,717 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $443,900, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Maili is bad, but not horrible.
You might have passed through Lahaina once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why Lahaina needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 6.2%, residents earn about $74,692 a year, and home prices are just over $631,300. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn't anything to do in Lahaina.
When you're looking at science and data, Wailea is the 7th worst place you can live in the state of Hawaii. Let's see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Hawaii. Wailea is the 24th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 34.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $994,000, which is the 47th lowest in the state. You can defend 'cheap living' all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Wailea.
Income levels are just about $72,072, the 12th lowest in Hawaii.
When you add it all up, Wailea really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 8th worst in Hawaii.
Kahului residents had a 1 in 34.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Kahului is through the roof, as more than 4.5% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $563,500, Kahului has the 22nd-lowest home prices in the state of Hawaii.
Wahiawa is a medium sized city just outside Schofield Barracks in the middle of Oahu.
Here, crime is the 10th highest in the state, and income levels and home values are far below the state average. It is known as a drug infested town, where you're more likely to get ripped off than killed. Commenters in forums say it's 'run down' here and kind of 'ghetto.'
Another commenter said it's the armpit of Oahu.
The hookers here might be good entertainment for those stationed nearby. At least they have that.
When you're looking at science and data, Kapaa is the worst place you can live in Hawaii. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 4.5%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $499,500, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 34.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
Kapaa is a far drive south from Louisville.
How we determined the worst places to live in Hawaii for 2020
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 47 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 47 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Hawaii -- Makaha. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Hawaii. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Hawaii
If you're looking at areas in Hawaii with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Makaha ranks as the worst city to live in Hawaii for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Hawaii:
- Aiea (Pop. 9,439)
- Mililani Mauka (Pop. 19,955)
- Waikele (Pop. 7,062)
For more Hawaii reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Hawaii?
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