HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's domestic migration problem worsened over the last year – thanks, in large part, to the state's rising cost of living.
Some 13,537 more people left Hawaii for the mainland than moved in from another state from July 2016 to July 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
That's up from previous years, and continues a trend of more people leaving for the mainland than coming in.
In 2015-16, Hawaii's net out-migration totaled about 10,000.
It was 6,700 in 2014-15, and just 941 in 2010.
Over the last five years, about 37,000 more people have left Hawaii for the mainland than moved in.
The population loss has typically been made up by local births and in-migration from foreign countries.
But this year, Hawaii's population actually declined by 1,145 people.
It's the second year Hawaii has seen a small decrease in the overall population, which is now at 1,427,538.
That population decline translates into Hawaii losing about three people per day. The state broke it down this way:
- There were 49 births per day on average over the 12-month period.
- There were 34 deaths per day on average.
- 18 more people per day moved into the state from foreign countries than left for foreign countries.
- And 37 more people moved out of the state per day to other states than came into Hawaii from other states.
Eugene Tian, chief state economist, said Hawaii's cost of living is undoubtedly a big factor in the out-migration trend. He also said that people might be leaving for the mainland because the U.S. economy is booming, and there might be more opportunities for them there.
If you're a glass half-full kind of person, the out-migration does have an upside: Fewer people means less demand for housing, and that could ease the state's housing shortage.
But anyway you cut it, Tian said, over the last year "cost of living became a big issue for people's decision in staying or moving" from Hawaii.
The Census figures show that Hawaii is among just eight other states whose populations declined over the last year.
Idaho was the nation's fastest-growing state, with a 2.2 percent increase in population, followed by Nevada (2 percent) and Utah (1.9 percent)
California remained the most populated state, with nearly 40 million people, followed by Texas and Florida.