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:
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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Hawaii For 2019
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Waianae is the worst place you can live in the state of Hawaii. Let’s see why.
Crime and no jobs. How does that sum it up? When you look at the numbers, you can see why Waianae might be a bad place to live. Would you believe Waianae has the 22nd highest crime rate in Hawaii? It does. You have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being robbed when you’re within Waianae city limits each year.
Plus, Waianae has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 14.3%.
And the home prices ($339,500) are the 5th cheapest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is, homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Waianae.
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 Makaha average $407,200, which is the 8th 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 Makaha.
Plus, 30.1% 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 Makaha city limits, you have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
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.
When you’re looking at science and data, Maili is the 4th 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. Maili is the 22nd most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $436,200, which is the 10th 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 Maili.
Income levels are just about $71,806, the 17th lowest in Hawaii.
When you add it all up, Maili really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
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.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Nanakuli is the 6th worst place you can live in the state of Hawaii. Let’s see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 22nd-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Nanakuli had a 1 in 36.0 chance of being robbed in 2018. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Nanakuli, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Nanakuli’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (13.3%) and income levels of its residents ($65,101).
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 22nd highest crime rate in Hawaii, which saw 80 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 36.0 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 405 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 9th highest unemployment rate (6.4%), and families bring in a combined $74,200 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $497,700.
Wailea, HI needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 22nd worst in the state, which is very high considering Wailea is so far removed from the rest of Hawaii.
If you know anyone in Wailea, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $601,200 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (16th worst)
More on Wailua Homesteads: Data
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Wailua Homesteads is the 9th worst place in the state of Hawaii.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Wailua Homesteads 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 Wailua Homesteads are the 30th 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.
Hilo has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 22nd-highest in the state of Hawaii. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 6.2%.
Additionally, 19.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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.
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)
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