Cost of Living in Honolulu - Hawaii


Cost of living in USA
Cost of Living in America
Cost of living in Honolulu
Cost of living in Hawaii
Expat Living in Honolulu
Quality of Living in Honolulu
International Assignee in Honolulu
International Assignment in Honolulu
Moving to Honolulu
Expat Salary in Honolulu

Honolulu is a place of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and economic opportunity. While the cost of living is high, the quality of life is equally high, offering an attractive environment for those seeking a blend of professional opportunities and quality of life. Whether moving for work or settling permanently, Honolulu provides a unique living experience that balances modern conveniences with natural beauty.

Aloha Honolulu

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is Hawaii's capital. Known for its warm tropical climate, Honolulu provides sunshine and mild temperatures year-round, making it an attractive spot for expatriates.

Economy and Employment

Honolulu's economy is largely based on tourism, military defense, and the diverse cultures that enrich the city. While tourism drives the economic engine, sectors like healthcare, education, and retail also provide substantial employment. Major employers include the state government, the University of Hawaii, and several military bases. Economic challenges include a dependency on tourism and the high cost of living, which can deter business diversity.

Immigration and Work Permits

For those considering moving to Honolulu, understanding U.S. immigration laws is crucial. Work permits and residence visas require thorough documentation and sponsorship, typically from an employer. The process can be daunting but is streamlined if handled through professional immigration services.

Job Market and Opportunities

Job opportunities in Honolulu align closely with its economic drivers. There is a high demand for professionals in healthcare, education, retail, and hospitality. Salaries vary widely, influenced by industry and experience, but generally align with the high cost of living. The work culture emphasizes respect and inclusiveness, reflecting local customs and values.

Cost of Living

Living in Honolulu is notably expensive. Costs for everyday items and services including alcohol, tobacco, clothing, and personal care are higher than many other U.S. cities. Housing tops the expense chart, significantly impacting overall living costs. Public transportation offers some relief in daily expenses, although owning a car is common due to convenience.

Daily Expenses Breakdown

  • Housing: High rental and purchase costs.
  • Groceries and Dining: Both local and imported groceries carry premium prices; dining out is similarly expensive.
  • Transport and Communication: Public transport is affordable but limited; communication costs are on par with mainland USA.
  • Healthcare and Education: Both sectors offer high-quality services but at a significant cost, especially for private education and healthcare services.

Quality of Life

Honolulu offers a high quality of life with its stunning landscapes, outdoor lifestyle, and cultural richness. The balance of urban amenities and the natural environment provides an appealing setting for residents.

Culture and Community

Honolulu is a melting pot of cultures, predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander influences. English is widely spoken, and the local population is generally welcoming to foreigners. The blend of American and Pacific cultures creates a unique social and cultural environment, marked by frequent festivals and community events.

Healthcare Standards

The standard of healthcare in Honolulu is high, with access to numerous hospitals and specialists. Health insurance is essential and can be costly. The local government ensures high medical standards, comparable to the mainland U.S.

Safety and Security

Honolulu is considered safe compared to other U.S. cities. However, like any city, it has areas less safe than others. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanic activity, are potential risks. The political climate is stable, and the rule of law is well-established.

Living Areas and Schools

Many expatriates find homes in areas like Manoa, Kahala, and Hawaii Kai. These neighborhoods offer proximity to international schools, which provide excellent education standards and various curricular activities.

Social and Recreational Life

Honolulu's social scene is active with beaches, hiking trails, and cultural events filling calendars. The city hosts various clubs and community groups catering to diverse interests and nationalities.


Transportation in Honolulu includes buses and a developing rail system. Traffic can be heavy, influencing commute times. The city is served by the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, providing good connectivity.

Unique Aspects

Honolulu's unique blend of natural beauty, multicultural heritage, and strategic Pacific location makes it uniquely attractive. The spirit of "Aloha" pervades, creating a welcoming and warm atmosphere.

Overall Cost of Living

The cost of living in Honolulu is high, particularly in housing and groceries. Despite this, the lifestyle and scenic beauty offer compensations that many find worth the expense. Use Xpatulator’s Cost of Living Calculators and Tools for informed decision-making about the cost of living in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the salary / allowance / assignment package required to maintain your current standard of living.