Hilo housing costs are highest in nation, research shows - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hilo housing costs are highest in nation, research shows

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's expensive to live in Hawaii. That's not exactly surprising. But new research shows just how much families need to earn in order to survive in the Aloha State.

The beach is free but living here in Hawaii has its costs especially with a family. The study by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington DC researched the cost of living in cities all over the country. It took into account costs for housing, food, childcare, transportation, health care, taxes and other necessities.

At $1,833 Hilo residents pay the highest average amount of rent than anywhere else in the country. A family of four needs a combined income of more than $87,000 a year to live comfortably.

Here's what it takes to have a "secure yet modest" way of life in Hilo:

One Parent, One Child

Item Cost

Monthly Housing $1833

Monthly Food $369

Monthly Child Care $725

Monthly Transportation $480

Monthly Health Care $885

Monthly Other Necessities     $564

Monthly Taxes $857

Monthly Total $5713

Annual Total $68557

 

Two Parents, Two Children

Item Cost

Monthly Housing $1833

Monthly Food $754

Monthly Child Care $1315

Monthly Transportation $607

Monthly Health Care $1278

Monthly Other Necessities     $662

Monthly Taxes $829

Monthly Total $7278

Annual Total $87337

Here's what it takes to have a "secure yet modest" way of life in Honolulu:

One Parent, One Child

Item Cost

Monthly Housing $1314

Monthly Food $369

Monthly Child Care $725

Monthly Transportation $459

Monthly Health Care $885

Monthly Other Necessities $431

Monthly Taxes $615

Monthly Total $4798

Annual Total $57581

 

Two Parents, Two Children

Item Cost

Monthly Housing $1314

Monthly Food $754

Monthly Child Care $1315

Monthly Transportation $603

Monthly Health Care $1349

Monthly Other Necessities $529

Monthly Taxes $621

Monthly Total $6485

Annual Total $77820

When parents have a third child the costs increase even greater. In Hilo $116,440 is needed in combined income. In Honolulu with three kids $98,682 is needed.

"I am below that! I am definitely below the $67,000 its costing me a year to live here," said Kelly Simeneta.

Kelly Simeneta is a 29 year old single mom with a nine year old daughter. She works as a bartender and saves money by teaming up with friends who all watch each other's kids.

"It's a good local ʻOhana so everybody pitches in to try to subsidize the cost of babysitting and childcare," said Simeneta, who when we met her at Ala Moana Beach Park was watching four children, including three of her friends kids. "We moved from Michigan and you pay for the quality of life. It's not cold out. It's a beautiful beach so I think it's worth it. It's definitely up there but you get what you pay for. I'd pay twice that to live here just to give her a better life."

Honolulu was not the costliest on the list. In fact compared to other cities it's near the middle. At $78,000 with two parents and two kids Honolulu is much less expensive than New York City and San Francisco. It's about the same as San Jose and Los Angeles and higher than places like Tampa and Houston.

"You just have to budget and make sure you keep your priorities straight that's all. And know when to not overspend. Instead of eating out, cook more often at home. That kind of small stuff adds up," said Chad Collado, 30, who is married with a three month old daughter. "I always think about it, if I wasn't too close with my family here I would for sure move to the mainland because it's so much cheaper."

Collado and his wife are both nurses' assistants. He said he joined the National Guard to earn some extra income. They also get help paying for baby items from their parents.

"That's what we pay to live in paradise," said Stacy Fermahin, 34, mother of four kids ranging in age from two months to 14 years old.

Fermahin and her husband own a human resources company called High Level Advisory.

"Where our extra money goes is of course to them. They play sports. When we can save money we go on vacations," said Fermahin. "We live within our means."

In case you are curious, Macon and Smith Counties in Tennessee paid the lowest amount for housing at $570 a month.

To compare the cost of living in Hawaii to other cities click here.

For more information on the research click here.

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