Best Small Towns In Hawaii For 2020


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Hawaii are the best of the best.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our sixth time ranking the best small places to live in Hawaii.

You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in Hawaii, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Aloha State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Hawaii based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Hawaii ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 15, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Hawaii for 2020.

The 10 Best Small Towns To Live In Hawaii For 2020

  1. Maunawili (Photos | Homes)
  2. Heeia (Homes)
  3. Pupukea (Photos | Homes)
  4. Eleele (Homes)
  5. Princeville (Photos | Homes)
  6. Waikapu (Homes)
  7. Puhi (Homes)
  8. Ko Olina (Homes)
  9. Paia (Photos | Homes)
  10. Kahaluu (Homes)

What’s the best small town in Hawaii? Maunawili is the best small town in Hawaii based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Maunawili, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Aloha State check out:

The 15 Best Small Towns In Hawaii For 2020

Maunawili, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 2,023
Median Income: $135,000 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $1,020,600 (2nd Best)
More on Maunawili: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 4,669
Median Income: $131,488 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $892,600 (3rd Best)
More on Heeia: Data | Homes For Sale

Pupukea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,613
Median Income: $110,757 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $1,199,400 (1st Best)
More on Pupukea: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,970
Median Income: $77,500 (20th Best)
Median Home Value: $424,400 (30th Best)
More on Eleele: Data | Homes For Sale

Princeville, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 1,952
Median Income: $72,697 (27th Best)
Median Home Value: $861,500 (5th Best)
More on Princeville: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 3,483
Median Income: $109,962 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $603,500 (17th Best)
More on Waikapu: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 3,911
Median Income: $84,594 (13th Best)
Median Home Value: $427,800 (29th Best)
More on Puhi: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,625
Median Income: $106,000 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $660,800 (10th Best)
More on Ko Olina: Data | Homes For Sale

Paia, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 2,412
Median Income: $95,208 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $686,900 (9th Best)
More on Paia: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,339
Median Income: $105,605 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $884,400 (4th Best)
More on Kahaluu: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,807
Median Income: $81,875 (16th Best)
Median Home Value: $612,300 (15th Best)
More on Mokuleia: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,002
Median Income: $84,116 (14th Best)
Median Home Value: $624,700 (13th Best)
More on Kahaluu-Keauhou: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 2,211
Median Income: $74,979 (23rd Best)
Median Home Value: $557,700 (20th Best)
More on Lawai: Data | Homes For Sale

Hanapepe, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 2,870
Median Income: $78,056 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $408,900 (32nd Best)
More on Hanapepe: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,579
Median Income: $86,429 (11th Best)
Median Home Value: $700,300 (7th Best)
More on Kilauea: Data | Homes For Sale

How We Determined The Coolest Towns In Hawaii

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 56 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 56, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Hawaii. Top of that list — Maunawili. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in Hawaii.

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 15 small towns in Hawaii are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in Hawaii:

  1. Hawaiian Ocean View
  2. Fern Acres
  3. Ainaloa

For more hawaii reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Hawaii

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Maunawili, HI 2,023 $135,000.0 $1,020,600.0
2 Heeia, HI 4,669 $131,488.0 $892,600.0
3 Pupukea, HI 4,613 $110,757.0 $1,199,400.0
4 Eleele, HI 2,970 $77,500.0 $424,400.0
5 Princeville, HI 1,952 $72,697.0 $861,500.0
6 Waikapu, HI 3,483 $109,962.0 $603,500.0
7 Puhi, HI 3,911 $84,594.0 $427,800.0
8 Ko Olina, HI 1,625 $106,000.0 $660,800.0
9 Paia, HI 2,412 $95,208.0 $686,900.0
10 Kahaluu, HI 4,339 $105,605.0 $884,400.0
11 Mokuleia, HI 1,807 $81,875.0 $612,300.0
12 Kahaluu-Keauhou, HI 4,002 $84,116.0 $624,700.0
13 Lawai, HI 2,211 $74,979.0 $557,700.0
14 Hanapepe, HI 2,870 $78,056.0 $408,900.0
15 Kilauea, HI 2,579 $86,429.0 $700,300.0
16 Omao, HI 1,445 $76,719.0 $698,700.0
17 Kekaha, HI 3,394 $79,671.0 $396,000.0
18 Kaaawa, HI 1,181 $88,594.0 $660,700.0
19 Kahuku, HI 2,245 $82,411.0 $567,400.0
20 Waialua, HI 3,587 $73,315.0 $651,500.0
21 Waimanalo Beach, HI 3,826 $85,455.0 $517,300.0
22 Lanai City, HI 2,802 $53,623.0 $410,300.0
23 Haleiwa, HI 4,040 $75,833.0 $705,400.0
24 Whitmore Village, HI 4,254 $73,654.0 $546,500.0
25 Keokea, HI 2,251 $91,250.0 $522,900.0
26 Kealakekua, HI 1,889 $64,107.0 $478,400.0
27 Wailua, HI 2,742 $55,288.0 $445,400.0
28 Hauula, HI 3,549 $89,638.0 $622,200.0
29 Kurtistown, HI 1,319 $64,167.0 $297,400.0
30 Volcano, HI 3,218 $44,028.0 $199,200.0
31 Wainaku, HI 1,358 $41,875.0 $282,200.0
32 Punaluu, HI 1,186 $68,182.0 $604,700.0
33 Koloa, HI 2,859 $48,452.0 $562,500.0
34 Kaunakakai, HI 3,719 $53,429.0 $309,400.0
35 Keaau, HI 2,493 $70,536.0 $305,100.0
36 Honaunau-Napoopoo, HI 2,457 $63,984.0 $545,700.0
37 Honalo, HI 2,162 $55,655.0 $391,200.0
38 Captain Cook, HI 3,987 $74,700.0 $473,700.0
39 Honokaa, HI 2,301 $80,735.0 $336,400.0
40 Pahala, HI 1,804 $52,375.0 $215,000.0
41 Kualapuu, HI 1,771 $41,500.0 $173,800.0
42 Hawi, HI 1,312 $64,000.0 $355,400.0
43 Anahola, HI 2,175 $59,167.0 $432,800.0
44 Kapaau, HI 1,770 $55,435.0 $375,900.0
45 Mountain View, HI 3,269 $37,116.0 $203,500.0
46 Pepeekeo, HI 1,536 $38,056.0 $253,800.0
47 Discovery Harbour, HI 1,140 $56,750.0 $295,700.0
48 Leilani Estates, HI 1,708 $40,000.0 $212,300.0
49 Hawaiian Beaches, HI 4,736 $43,750.0 $188,400.0
50 Makaha Valley, HI 1,636 $61,250.0 $179,900.0
51 Hawaiian Acres, HI 2,981 $48,235.0 $214,500.0
52 Orchidlands Estates, HI 3,197 $48,594.0 $252,900.0
53 Nanawale Estates, HI 1,995 $47,891.0 $137,800.0
54 Ainaloa, HI 3,342 $35,179.0 $165,900.0
55 Fern Acres, HI 1,601 $37,500.0 $173,000.0
56 Hawaiian Ocean View, HI 4,891 $17,029.0 $140,000.0

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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