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 44 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,300 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Hawaii:
- Waianae (Photos)
- Makaha (Photos)
- Hawaiian Paradise Park
- Maili (Photos)
- Hawaiian Beaches (Photos)
- Nanakuli (Photos)
- Kapaa (Photos)
- Wailea (Photos)
- Wailua Homesteads
- Hilo (Photos)
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 Waianae.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Hawaii reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Hawaii
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Hawaii
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Hawaii
How we determined the worst places to live in Hawaii for 2019
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 44 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 44 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 — Waianae. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Hawaii.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
When you’re looking at science and data, Waianae is the worst place you can live in Hawaii. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 14.3%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $339,500, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.
Waianae is a far drive south from Louisville.
Makaha needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Makaha. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Makaha. Of the 44 cities considered in this ranking, Makaha had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Makaha have Hawaii’s 8th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 2nd and 22nd highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Hawaii.”
If you know anyone in Makaha, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $255,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (7th 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 ($255,300), and income levels ($51,908). Many people here live at or below the poverty line and the unemployment rate is 7.4%, which is the highest in the state.
There’s probably not many people in Hawaii that would be surprised to see Maili on this list. In fact, if Maili wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Maili has the 22nd worst crime rate in Hawaii. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 80 violent crimes in Maili in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 405 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Maili are the 10th cheapest in the state ($436,200), the unemployment rate is the 5th highest (12.1%), and the annual household income is 17th lowest in Hawaii, at $71,806. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Hawaiian Beaches is a CDP located on the eastern side of the Island of Hawaii.
Here, you can find the absolute cheapest homes of anywhere in Hawaii. There’s a reason homes sell for an average of $190,000. It means no one wants to live here. Homes are priced by demand.
Income levels here are $34,000, and nearly 1 in 5 people in Hawaii Beaches lives below the poverty line. Plus, the unemployment rate is 5.7%, which is really high for Hawaii.
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 $310,300, which is the 4th 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, 16.2% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 22nd highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Nanakuli city limits, you have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
Kapaa, part of Kauai County, is the 7th worst place to live in Hawaii for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $74,200, and crime 22nd worst in Hawaii.
Additionally, the poverty level is 13.7% in Kapaa.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Hawaii, Wailea came in 8th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Hawaii residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Hawaii, you can see some really big differences. In Wailea, the number of people out of work is 5.9%
In Hawaii, that’s the 12th highest in the state.
The residents in Wailea have the 12th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Wailea average $68,675 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $936,400 on average. That’s the 44th lowest in the state.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $601,200 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (16th worst)
More on Wailua Homesteads: Data
Wailua Homesteads is the 9th worst city in Hawaii for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Wailua Homesteads, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Wailua Homesteads is the 22nd most dangerous place in Hawaii, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 5.6%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($601,200), and residents earn just $76,250 a year.
Welcome to Hilo, which might be one of the poorest areas in Hawaii. Residents average $57,151 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 19.0% of Hilo residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $305,900 and the unemployment rate hovers near 6.2%.
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, Waianae ranks as the worst city to live in Hawaii for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Hawaii:
- Ewa Gentry (Pop. 24,181)
- Waikele (Pop. 7,446)
- Mililani Mauka (Pop. 20,393)
For more Hawaii reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Hawaii
|3||Hawaiian Paradise Park||11,564|