These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Hawaii For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Aloha State places are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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.

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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Hawaii reading, check out:

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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

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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.

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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.

2. Waianae

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.

3. Makaha

Makaha, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,934
Rank 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.

4. Maili

Maili, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,943
Rank 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

Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaii

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,035
Rank 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.

6. Nanakuli

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.

7. Kapaa

Kapaa, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,753
Rank 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.

8. Hilo

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.

9. Wahiawa

Wahiawa, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,696
Rank 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.

10. Kahului

Kahului, Hawaii

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,164
Rank 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:

  1. Mililani Mauka (Pop. 20,322)
  2. East Honolulu (Pop. 47,957)
  3. Aiea (Pop. 9,594)

For more Hawaii reading , check out:

    Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Hawaii

    City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
    Hawaiian Paradise Park 1 11,787 6.4% $245,400
    Waianae 2 13,426 13.7% $322,200
    Makaha 3 8,934 16.6% $353,100
    Maili 4 8,943 14.3% $387,300
    Hawaiian Beaches 5 5,035 19.3% $199,900
    Nanakuli 6 12,042 13.2% $294,300
    Kapaa 7 10,753 6.7% $479,200
    Hilo 8 45,579 6.1% $298,500
    Wahiawa 9 17,696 6.3% $508,200
    Kahului 10 30,164 7.3% $490,900
    Waipio Acres 11 5,169 8.7% $341,700
    Holualoa 12 9,439 8.4% $470,600
    Kalaoa 13 11,198 5.7% $489,400
    Wailuku 14 16,179 7.8% $463,500
    Kihei 15 21,964 7.0% $469,300
    Ewa Beach 16 15,165 5.6% $462,100
    Makawao 17 6,362 6.0% $526,900
    Waipahu 18 41,590 5.6% $562,600
    Wailua Homesteads 19 5,987 7.3% $571,800
    Waihee-Waiehu 20 9,177 6.7% $427,200
    Lahaina 21 12,675 4.8% $552,900
    Napili-Honokowai 22 6,856 2.7% $413,700
    Wailea 23 5,833 4.9% $857,900
    Lihue 24 7,196 4.1% $516,700
    Waimanalo 25 6,296 3.5% $586,300
    Hanamaulu 26 5,039 3.5% $401,300
    Urban Honolulu 27 349,597 4.4% $601,500
    Kapolei 28 19,206 6.5% $464,200
    Kalaheo 29 5,099 4.6% $631,400
    Pukalani 30 8,332 4.6% $594,100
    Ewa Villages 31 7,568 4.0% $484,200
    Haiku-Pauwela 32 7,564 5.2% $750,900
    Kula 33 7,326 3.4% $811,400
    Kahaluu 34 5,009 3.9% $804,100
    Royal Kunia 35 14,424 4.8% $571,700
    Makakilo 36 20,353 6.6% $564,200
    Waimalu 37 13,478 2.9% $382,900
    Ahuimanu 38 8,312 5.7% $607,700
    West Loch Estate 39 5,183 5.8% $503,000
    Laie 40 5,782 4.5% $641,700
    Waipio 41 11,554 3.2% $492,300
    Ewa Gentry 42 23,168 3.7% $468,800
    Halawa 43 14,455 3.8% $638,700
    Ocean Pointe 44 12,274 4.5% $582,700
    Waikele 45 7,648 4.5% $434,100
    Kaneohe 46 35,065 4.3% $664,400
    Aiea 47 9,594 3.8% $732,600
    East Honolulu 48 47,957 2.7% $859,000
    Mililani Mauka 49 20,322 2.2% $614,600

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    19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Hawaii For 2018

    1. I can’t believe how much I love this article. I didn’t even have to read it. It’s all true, but I would go even farther.

      I try not to speak in extremes very often as I don’t find very many opinions I can get behind whole-heartedly. But, Hawai’i as a whole is definitely the very worst place to live or visit; I mean, just don’t even look at pictures of this horrible place online, (blech!), and that is never going to change. You can take that to the bank when you return to the place from whence you came.

      Aloha nō!

    2. That is a very “haole” perspective of looking at our beautiful home. The best advice ever given about Hawaii was by Anthony Bourdaine when he told all who watched his show, “stay away from Hawaii, don’t come here” and I totally agree. Don’t come from your castle and convenience on the mainland and expect the same on an island far away from many of the resources you’re used to. Don’t complain, just go back where you came from. Aloha

    3. An interesting list. I live in one of these places, its comfortable and feels totally safe (except for the imported homeless people from the mainland harassing kids where to score weed) and have lived in a place that is on the BEST list that didn’t feel safe at all. Hawaii is a paradoxical place that is a total mystery to mainlanders- Our standards for good bad places to live would leave any mainlander scratching their heads. But that was a fun read.

    4. I used to live in Wahiawa (and yes I have native Hawaiian blood), it was pretty seedy out there. It reminded me of some more rundown mainland cities in a way because of how paved over a lot of it was Meth was a problem for sure. I did see drug addicted hookers. A lot of wannabe gangsters were around but they always respected me and my ways.

      If you were a white military man you probably didn’t exactly love it. Enlisted men would walk over from base to the McDonalds and would have to cross the bridge back and forth. Occasionally kids would hang out there and kick/snatch the food bags from their hands. If the enlisted guy made a fuss about it, some big dudes would emerge to make sure they kept on going.

      A couple weeks after I moved back to the Kapahulu area one of my neighbors was shot and killed because he tried to intervene in a domestic argument outside of our old apartment building.

      I can’t say I missed much about living in Wahiawa.

    5. This whole article is full of crap. I live half of the time in So Cal and the other half in north Hilo and spend a lot of time on Maui. I have always believed that Hawaii is a place where if you give respect you get respect. If you don’t then you will have problem like anywhere else. Hawaii is a beautiful place with mostly wonderful people. It’s so funny how most of the comments show that folks want you to go back from where you came. LOL. They know that the problems on Hawaii came from somewhere else.

    6. Too bad you can’t “grammar check” your header before you post an article. Maybe you could strengthen your credibility.

    7. Yada yada yada .. Do not come at all .. The problems come from those who come and try to change things!! Attitude adjustment .. Hawai’i is a Kingdom! Mainland attitudes should stay on the mainland! Inaccuracies abound! Waihee / Waiehu are mostly Hawaiian Homelands … Properties occupied by Hawaiians! Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches / Hawaiian Shores are subdivisions with each having one small store close by. Perceptions are a strange thing! You are obviously on the outside looking in ! Hawai’i is much like a third world country and we like it that way! BTW folks should not try to purchase land here as ALL titles are clouded and in the near future many will come to know Hawai’i was never a part of the USA! It is under military occupation .. Regime change coming soon! Aloha Aina !!!!

      1. Why so many native Hawaiians in the US military? This seems a dishonorable thing to do and disrespectful to Hawaiian ancestors. Am I wrong?

    8. Definitely on the outside looking in. I’ve lived it what some would call the ghetto on the mainland. I currently live in Makaha and love it here. I drive through Nanakuli everyday on my way home. The worst part about living here is the traffic. Is there crime, well that’s a stupid question, where there are people there is crime. If you come here respecting the locals you won’t have much problems. One silly fact you overlooked, poor people don’t steel from poor people, they would rather head to the rich communities for the nice stuff. I feel safe in Makaha been here for many years with my family and we love it. You can still find plenty of Aloha from most people in Hawaii, don’t judge people and live life with Love and Aloha and you will find it is usually returned.

      1. Julie R. No he does not. He sounds like he really lives there and you don’t. Always felt safe in HPP, except from the wild pigs.

    9. You are correct about some things for most likely the wrong reasons. As someone who has lived in Paradise Park for 11 years and apprasied RE all over the big island for 20 years, I will share some personal observations. I apologize in advance if they seem negative, but the truth is what is most important, not “beliefs”. I have lived here for 28 years, and just have no other place left to go to.

      1. The worst thing about HPP is the NOISE! If its not the tourist helicopters usually flying right overhead during the day (for the wealthy, at around $500 a seat) to see the volcano, its the constant sounds from the neighbors gas-motor weed-wackers, chain saws, lawnmowers, bulldozers, construction or constantly barking dogs & crowing roosters everywhere! HPP is reportedly the largest subdivision in acreage in the US that is within 12 miles of a town.

      2. There is VERY little here to get, see, or do on most islands. The traffic into Hilo, the only real town in Hawaii County 12 miles away is very BUSY on the 2-4 lane roads. We would wither away without Amazon, which can still happen at any time if they decide to raise shipping costs. Hilo is so poor in construction quality, good restaurants, and amenities, it could be compared well to any 3rd world town, like in South America.

      3. Nobody spoiled by the mainland’s accessability is likely to appreciate Hawaii, and all costs are much higher. There are not enough jobs despite what we are told, and I seriously doubt the accuracy of all the statistics in this article. Many are on welfare including EBT cards.

      4. The U of HI has recognized that local sea life HAS been contaminated by the Fukushima disaster, but this truth is almost never spoken about here.

      5. The state is “owned” by the deep-state Democrats, and legalized life-saving cannabis will probably never be allowed by vote for the health or well being of most human beings (all with biochemical receptors for it) here.

      Conclusion: Many COULD reasonably compare the vastly remote Hawaiian islands to a prison state in some significantly honest ways! And no, you wouldnt like it here, so forget about moving to Hawaii! Aloooo-fricking-ha!

      And save your vacations for visits to states where they respect the freedom of humanity to choose as much as they respect or tolerate other substances they profit from.

    10. I lived in HPP for 2 years and on the surface, the author has it right. There is a lot of property crime in HPP, good paying jobs are scarce, and other things like – no mail delivery, no trash pick up, slow police response times, dogs running loose on the roads, and unpaved roads.

      However, we loved the people that lived in HPP. The people on the big island are for the most part, kind, loving, and friendly. It wasn’t my favorite place due to the distance to civilization (i.e. restaurants, stores, movie theaters, etc); but you can’t beat the amount of house you can get in HPP vs. Oahu.

    11. Is there a negative attitude by some of the locals toward white people here? Of course, you can get that in any US state. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The white elitists of the US are the reason for that attitude- they have used and abused others for so long and needless to say tricked Hawaiians out of their own land (Mark Zuckerburg is still doing it today). So, while us the common white person who didn’t come from money and aren’t dependents of “the man” may not be at fault- you can’t really take offense to the attitudes of circumstance. There are many natives of Hawaii that are not white that understand us visitors are just here temporarily and thankful for our short stay in their paradise, here to spend our money on their local businesses, and have no ill intentions. You can’t let people’s negativity toward you impact how you view a people as a whole and while others may struggle with that themselves you cannot take it personally. I am on a 30 day vacation in Oahu and staying in Makaha. I am happy I chose this side of the island as it has more of an at home feel versus the crowded city of Honolulu (ironic I say that living in Phoenix). You know what I see on this side of the island? I see town’s being neglected by a government that has plenty of money and resources (just like on the so-called mainland). That’s right. The US neglect in funding the right things is the problem. The US has their priorities ass backwards. Homelessness and drug addiction are worldwide problems and the US is no different, believe that- and imprisoning people for either is not the answer. Bless all of Hawaiians. I hope one day you are able to control your own land and resources without you know who having any say in it. I wish you all nothing but prosperity and good health. Thank you for you being you.

    12. I’m a data scientist. This is not data science. Maybe “date” science (as stated in the first sentence. Didn’t bother editing, even after updating. Weak.), but this is someone irresponsibly cherry-picking data and applying an inaccurate analysis. Rates of employment should be considered in conjunction with age. Basic stuff. This is not worth reading and certainly not factual. Also, who prefers a higher population density. Just terrible and irresponsible.

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