30 Reasons Why You Might Not Like Living In Hawaii

Today I’m going to be Negative Nelly and give you some food for thought on why you might not enjoy living in Hawaii. Read each statement below and ask yourself, “Is this true for me?” If it is, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll dislike living in Hawaii. But it does point out something that you need to consider carefully in deciding whether or not to move to Hawaii.

For example, #20 is true for me — I moved to Hawaii and left all my friends and family behind on the mainland. Before I moved, I thought very carefully about whether I would feel too lonely living in a place where I really didn’t know anyone, and if I would miss my friends and family too much to live happily in Hawaii.

If many of these statements are true for you, you might want to ask yourself if you’d be happier being a regular visitor to Hawaii, rather than a permanent resident.

  1. I look forward to the weather and landscape changes that the different seasons bring.
  2. I hate bugs with a passion, and I’m not willing to learn to live with them to any degree.
  3. My spouse/partner isn’t in love with Hawaii like I am.
  4. Going to live concerts, world-class theater performances, or art-house films is important to me.
  5. I am a type-A personality with little patience, and I don’t intend to change.
  6. I love living in a city that never sleeps.
  7. I’m not willing to lower my standard of living (for example, rent a more modest home).
  8. I’m not willing to change my current job occupation.
  9. I get hot, overheated, or sweaty very easily and feel better in a cooler climate.
  10. I’m just not that into nature or the great outdoors.
  11. My skin is sensitive to strong sunlight and I hate covering up or wearing sunscreen while outdoors.
  12. Social status is important to me.
  13. I like to take long road trips.
  14. I get bored or restless spending too much time in one place.
  15. A good public education system (grades K-12) is important to me and my family.
  16. I am a non-Asian who is planning to live on Oahu, and I’m uncomfortable with the idea of being outnumbered by Asians.
  17. I’m not interested in learning about or experiencing other cultures.
  18. I am uncomfortable being around a visible U.S. military presence.
  19. I cannot tolerate inefficiency or lack of progress for the sake of preserving traditions.
  20. I am planning to move to Hawaii alone, leaving all my friends and family behind.
  21. I have a hard time flying on airplanes.
  22. My children are Caucasian and will be attending a public school in Hawaii that has few white students.
  23. I believe that Hawaii, as part of the United States, should adopt the mainland’s ways of doing things.
  24. I believe that employees who never work beyond 40 hours a week are lazy and unambitious.
  25. I refuse to pay $5 for a gallon of milk and $4 for a gallon of gas.
  26. I am a young Caucasian male who plans to live in an area of Hawaii where few white people live.
  27. I thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.
  28. I cannot tolerate a work environment where promotions are sometimes based on personal relationships and seniority, rather than job performance.
  29. It would be difficult for me to adapt to working office hours that are 7am-4pm, instead of 9am-6pm.
  30. I’m not willing to work multiple part-time jobs, instead of one full-time job.

For more food for thought to help you decide whether living in Hawaii would be right for you, read my post “Before You Move To Hawaii, Answer These Questions.”



  • On February 03, 2017


  1. Ernest Post author

    D’oh! Well, that settles it!

  2. Greg Lee Post author

    $5 for a gallon of milk? Seems exaggerated. I think I pay about $3.50 at Safeway in Kailua.

    It’s a cute little list. I’m dubious about #15 and #16. I think I recall reading that caucasions overtook AJAs as a proportion of population here quite a few years ago.


    1. admin Post author

      I wish I were exaggerating on the milk price. I looked it up on Safeway’s weekly specials ad, and the price at the Kapahulu store in town is $4.89 a gallon:

      Ha, I knew I’d catch some flak for #15! I consider less intellectualism a plus, though. (When I was living and working in Silicon Valley, I got sick of the incessant tech talk.) Still, #15 might give the false impression that Hawaiian residents are generally simple-minded. I’ll have to re-think that one.

      As for #16, you make a good point. I just checked the stats in the 2009 Hawaii Data Book and you’re right — as an entire state, Caucasians do outnumber Japanese. On Oahu, Japanese still outnumber Caucasians, but not by a wide margin. And on the neighbor islands, even when all Asian ethnic groups are added together, they still don’t quite outnumber the Caucasians.

      I’m going to soften my statement in #16 so it reads, “I am a non-Asian who is planning to live on Oahu, and I’m uncomfortable with the idea of being outnumbered by Asians.”

      Thanks for keeping me honest, Greg!

  3. Laura Post author

    Just thought I’d comment on this helpful list!

    #25: If you want organic milk, it’s easily $5, or more.

    #15: I worked in a really culturally mixed public school on an outer island, a 4-5 years ago, and I have to say, after 15 years of public school teaching in NYC, I absolutely loved the ohana atmosphere – so different from what I was used to. I also worked 9 hour days – so did my colleagues – and for me it was 40% less pay! The cultural mix seemed to me to be an asset, that goes with the staff too. It fueled our work and interest. There is PLENTY of intellectualism to be found, but it comes in different, maybe less pretentious forms. You just need to know where to look!

    Also, #18 I’m pretty sure is just on Oahu.

    And I LOVE #29! I really miss that!

    Thanks for this list, Michele, and many of the things you wrote got me even more psyched to go back… Not #2 of course… that’s the biggest hurdle!! (fortunately, my cat is an avid bug chaser…)

    OK living room full of boxes, books everywhere… need to continue packing!

    1. admin Post author

      Laura, thank you for sharing your experience about teaching on an outer island. I’m gearing up to write a series of posts about schools in Hawaii — I just might need to interview you to get a teacher’s perspective.

      Yeah, you’re right about #18 — the other islands have a much smaller military presence.

      Glad you’re coming back to the islands!

  4. karma Post author

    You left off no Rubio’s and no Trader Joes. 😉
    At least we have Whole Foods on Oahu and Maui now. As for the milk, $5 a gallon is worth it for baby cows, otherwise I can’t think why as a human I’d ever want to drink it. :p

    1. admin Post author

      Ah yes, I forgot about TJ’s and Rubio’s! And I tend to agree with you about cow milk — I’ve switched to soy milk. However, for those who can’t do without cow milk, I have seen it on sale at Safeway (in Honolulu) for $4/gallon.

  5. localguy Post author

    i like your website. lots of good information.

    i would like to reworded items #16, #22 and #26. they all reference race. if i were to write those statements then this would be my version.

    16. there are a lot of asians living on oahu and i feel uncomfortable being a minority instead of the majority. i maybe a hispanic or black person but i’m more used to to being a minority with caucasians.

    even if i am asian-american, i am still uncomfortable being with local asians who can be very different from mainland asians.

    22. i don’t want my caucasian children to be a minority at a hawaii public school. the exception would be a school near a military base but i don’t want my children going there either.

    26. i am a young caucasian male and i don’t want to live in an area where i will be a minority.

    1. admin Post author

      Hi, localguy:

      Your points are very well taken. I think your rewording of those statements is accurate, particularly #22 — the point about schools near military bases having plenty of white students. Thanks for your input!


  6. sabina greene Post author

    localgirl: please dont move to hawaii, it f****** sucks here.

    1. admin Post author

      Hi, Sabina:

      What is it specifically that sucks about living in Hawaii? I’m not saying you’re wrong — it’s just that my readers who are thinking of moving to Hawaii really want to know the negatives as well as the positives.


  7. Otis Post author

    Welcome to my world.

    I’m an Asian American that has been outnumbered by whites everywhere I have lived. I can’t wait to move to Hawaii.

    1. admin Post author

      Haha! Otis, you will definitely find it refreshingly different here, particularly on Oahu, where Asians are more prevalent than any other racial group. However, on the Big Island and Maui, Caucasians are the more prevalent than Asians. The same is true for Kauai, although Asians are a close second. (Source: Table 1.34 in the State Of Hawaii Data Book)

  8. Maggie Post author

    HA – most of these comments could be applied to South Florida in one way or another! At least Hawaii has Aloha!

    1. Laura Post author

      I was just thinking the same thing about Charleston, SC. Anyone from our general area of the world should definitely be used to Number 2 already.

  9. kalani Post author

    Left an never looked back…unchaging..bad food..many more places on earth that are also paradise

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