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

We used science and data to determine the best places to call home in Hawaii.

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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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Where are the best places in the state of Hawaii?

To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Aloha State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.

However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Hawaii.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.

After analyzing 49 places in Hawaii, we came up with this list of the best places:

  1. Mililani Mauka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. East Honolulu (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Aiea (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Kaneohe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Waikele (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Ocean Pointe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Halawa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Ewa Gentry (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Waipio (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Laie (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Well, it looks like you should check out Mililani Mauka if you’re thinking of moving to Hawaii — it’s the best the Aloha State has to offer according to the data.

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Hawaii.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Hawaii reading, check out:

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Hawaii

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit cities with populations over 100,000 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 5,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 49 cities, 62 towns, and 23 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Hawaii

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Hawaii across a number of criteria from one to 49, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Hawaii”.

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Hawaii.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mililani Mauka at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Mililani Mauka, HI

Source: Public domain
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Population: 20,322
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $614,600 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (1st best)
More on Mililani Mauka: Real Estate| Data| Photos

We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Mililani Mauka one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.

They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Mililani Mauka.

East Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain
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Population: 47,957
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $859,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (2nd best)
More on East Honolulu: Real Estate| Data| Photos

East Honolulu has a really low crime rate (25th lowest) and only 2.7% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($114,122). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in East Honolulu.

Aiea, HI

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Population: 9,594
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $732,600 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (10th best)
More on Aiea: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Aiea is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 3rd best place in Hawaii?

Homes are priced around $732,600 and residents have the 19th shortest commute in Hawaii.

Kaneohe, HI

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Population: 35,065
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $664,400 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (15th best)
More on Kaneohe: Real Estate| Data| Photos

In Kaneohe, everyone loves to call Kaneohe home! The median home value is the 7th highest in Hawaii.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 15th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Aloha State.

Kaneohe should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Waikele, HI

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Population: 7,648
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $434,100 (37th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
More on Waikele: Real Estate| Data| Photos

The tiny town of Waikele may not remain tiny forever. The word has been out for a long, long time about how special this place is.

The residents are heavily involved in making their community even more awesome, and as many Hawaii residents know, Waikele is a great central spot for making the most of life.

Ocean Pointe, HI

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Population: 12,274
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $582,700 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
More on Ocean Pointe: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Ocean Pointe is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $582,700 and households earn a median salary of $111,729. One could get used to that.

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Population: 14,455
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $638,700 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (10th best)
More on Halawa: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Halawa has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Hawaii. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Halawa is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Halawa residents to work is significantly higher than average.

Ewa Gentry, HI

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Population: 23,168
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $468,800 (33rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (9th best)
More on Ewa Gentry: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Ewa Gentry takes 8th place on our list of best places in Hawaii for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (9th overall) and things to do.

Ewa Gentry is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $468,800 at the median.

Waipio, HI

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Population: 11,554
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $492,300 (26th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (5th best)
More on Waipio: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Waipio isn’t just the nicest place to live in Hawaii – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It’s got the 5th lowest unemployment rate, the 21st highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you’re looking at science and data, Waipio definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2018.

Laie, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,782
Rank Last Year:
Median Home Value: $641,700 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
More on Laie: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Say what you want about expensive houses. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Laie.

The median home costs a cool $641,700 and households make $91,836 which is good for 13th in Hawaii.

Add that all up and Laie places 10th in our ranking of the best places to live in Hawaii for 2018.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Hawaii

If you’re looking at areas in Hawaii with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Mililani Mauka made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.

Best Towns To Live In Hawaii

  1. Maunawili (Pop. 2,124)
  2. Heeia (Pop. 4,536)
  3. Puhi (Pop. 3,942)
  4. Kaanapali (Pop. 1,068)
  5. Ko Olina (Pop. 1,691)
  6. Lawai (Pop. 2,152)
  7. Pupukea (Pop. 4,998)
  8. Hanapepe (Pop. 2,687)
  9. Poipu (Pop. 1,057)
  10. Waikapu (Pop. 3,266)

Best Small Towns To Live In Hawaii

  1. Mahinahina (Pop. 902)
  2. Launiupoko (Pop. 463)
  3. Kapalua (Pop. 310)
  4. Kalihiwai (Pop. 303)
  5. Maalaea (Pop. 339)
  6. Puako (Pop. 795)
  7. Kawela Bay (Pop. 274)
  8. Paukaa (Pop. 511)
  9. Waikane (Pop. 621)
  10. Honomu (Pop. 443)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Hawaii according to the data:

  1. Makaha (Pop. 8,934)
  2. Waianae (Pop. 13,426)
  3. Hawaiian Paradise Park (Pop. 11,787)

For more Hawaii reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Hawaii

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

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