HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - How high is Hawai’s cost of living?
To answer that question, you might look at the federal government’s latest income requirements for people seeking to qualify for affordable or subsidized housing programs.
In 2019, according to newly-released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a single person living on Oahu is considered “low income” if they earn $67,500 or less.
A year ago, it was $65,350. And in 2017, “low-income” was considered $58,600.
Meanwhile, someone is “very low income” in Honolulu if they bring in $42,200 a year or less.
For comparison’s sake, the minimum wage in Hawaii ― $10.10 an hour ― translates to $21,008 a year.
A single person earning that much would fall well below the requirement for someone who’s “extremely low income" ― and earning $25,350 a year or under.
The income limits are based on median family incomes and fair market rents, and are calculated for states, metropolitan areas and counties nationwide.
The figures come amid growing concern about Hawaii’s rising cost of living and the exodus of thousands of residents to the mainland each year.
Under the HUD limits, a family of four on Oahu is considered “very low income” if they bring in $60,250 a year or less.
Income limits vary depending on which county you live in.
On the Big Island, the “low-income” limit for a single person is $44,000 or less per year. On Kauai, it’s $50,400, while its $54,700 in Maui County.