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 49 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Hawaii:
- Hawaiian Paradise Park
- Hawaiian Beaches
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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Hawaii for 2018
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 49 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 49 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 — Hawaiian Paradise Park. 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.
1. Hawaiian Paradise Park
Population: 11,787 Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $245,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (16th worst)
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 ($245,400), and income levels ($47,181). Many people here live at or below the poverty line and the unemployment rate is 6.4%, which is the highest in the state.
Population: 13,426 Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $322,200 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.7% (4th worst)
Waianae takes the 2nd worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Waianae its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 25th worst in the whole state.
Population: 8,934Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $353,100 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.6% (2nd worst)
Makaha is another place in the Aloha State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Makaha is a staggering 16.6%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($52,035 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $353,100, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Makaha is bad, but not horrible.
Population: 8,943Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $387,300 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.3% (3rd worst)
Maili is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $387,300. That means it ranks as the 9th lowest in Hawaii.
You can make a case that based on the fact that Maili has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 25th worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in Hawaii.
5. Hawaiian Beaches
Population: 5,035Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $199,900 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.3% (1st worst)
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.
Population: 12,042 Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $294,300 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (5th worst)
Nanakuli is the 25th most dangerous place in the state of Hawaii. That’s part of the reason it’s the 6th worst place in Hawaii.
The fact remains, that when you’re within Nanakuli city limits, you have a 1 in 32.5 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Nanakuli also has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the state at 13.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $294,300?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Nanakuli.
Population: 10,753Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $479,200 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (12th worst)
If you live in Kapaa, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 7th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 25th highest crime rate in Hawaii, which saw 35 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 32.5 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 298 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Kapaa.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Kapaa sports the state’s 12th highest unemployment rate (6.7%), and families bring in a combined $69,938 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $479,200.
Population: 45,579 Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $298,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (18th worst)
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.
Hilo residents had a 1 in 32.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Hilo is through the roof, as more than 6.1% of the population can’t get a job. At least their mortgages aren’t too high; at $298,500, Hilo has the 4th-lowest home prices in the state of Hawaii.
Population: 17,696Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $508,200 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (17th worst)
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.
Population: 30,164Rank Last Year: N/A
Home Values: $490,900 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (9th worst)
Kahului places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Hawaii. Here, 13.7% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Kahului have the 7th highest adult drop out rate in Hawaii.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $490,900 each — the 23rd lowest in Hawaii.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
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, Hawaiian Paradise Park ranks as the worst city to live in Hawaii for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Hawaii:
- Mililani Mauka (Pop. 20,322)
- East Honolulu (Pop. 47,957)
- Aiea (Pop. 9,594)
For more Hawaii reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Hawaii
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