For residents of the continental United States, Hawaii carries the lore of an island paradise, a beautiful place to visit, explore and enjoy. Indeed, Hawaii is an amazing state, and one that is truly like no other, providing an oasis in the ocean perfect for vacationing and, of course, living. With a population of over 1.4 million, thousands of families happily live and work there. It is not their dream, but rather their reality.

Hawaii became the 50th state in the union in 1959, making it the most recent addition to the United States. Although it was a U.S. territory for many years, Hawaii still retains much of its native culture, creating a unique atmosphere vastly different from the other 49 states. This creates a dynamic, exciting community boasting countless options for employment, retirement and recreation.

Despite its far away location from the mainland, many people make the decision to move to Hawaii to start a new life. Most moves require packing a truck, loading boxes into the car, and driving to a new home. Moving to Hawaii is a little different, however. With no way to drive, everything, including furniture, cars, and possessions, has to be shipped over the Pacific. Many companies provide this service to facilitate the process, but no moving company knows the logistics of moving to Hawaii better than Compass.

Moving to the islands means carefully deciding what to take and what to leave behind. Many resources readily available easily in the continental U.S. are not always so easy to come by in Hawaii. Stores do carry furniture, of course, but options may be limited, making shipping existing home goods a better choice. Cars are another decision to make. Decide whether you’d prefer to ship your vehicle or buy one once you arrive. Transportation on the islands is fairly standard, but may not be as fast-paced as large highways in substantial cities.

Costs of Living in Hawaii

As an island, Hawaii is very different from the rest of the U.S., especially for newcomers not used to an island lifestyle. This creates a logistical situation that is exceptionally unique, especially as many of the goods sold in Hawaii are not produced in Hawaii.

Due to its location, there are many stereotypes about life on the islands. Many people believe that moving to Hawaii is too expensive for individuals who aren’t wealthy, or that it is hard to live a normal life. Others believe that favorite foods or brands will not be available, or that it’s not possible to own a family home due to high real estate costs.

The cost of living in Hawaii is certainly more expensive than much of the continental U.S., but is not significantly different than many metro areas across the nation, like Chicago, Miami, New York City, San Francisco or San Diego. Costs are estimated to be 30% higher than standard costs on the mainland, in addition to a 4% excise tax. All goods have to be shipped to the island, which limits availability of some products, but not most common household goods and food products. Property costs are also steep, competing with some of the country’s more expensive real estate markets.

There is one simple reason behind higher costs: demand. Many people crave the island lifestyle, and population growth has been massive, up nearly 600,000 people from 1980. This desire to experience everything Hawaii has to offer has a direct impact on prices, especially when coupled with the shipping requirements to deliver products to the islands.

Despite the increased expenses, Hawaii is a great place to call home. With many islands and cities, there’s something for everyone, from business opportunities to recreation. Despite the higher costs associated with some aspects of moving to Hawaii, people from all walks of life build a life there and wouldn’t have it any other way.