Report: A family of 4 needs $80,000 a year in Hawaii to pay for a frugal lifestyle

File photo of Honolulu.
File photo of Honolulu.(Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Jan. 15, 2020 at 4:07 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - How much do you need to earn to afford a no-frills lifestyle in the islands? A new state report has the answer ― and it underscores Hawaii’s high cost of living.

The state’s Self-Sufficiency Income Standard study estimates that a family with two adults and two young children needs to bring in at least $80,417 a year to make ends meet.

That’s nearly double what two adults would earn on the minimum wage.

On Oahu, the so-called “self-sufficiency income" for that family of four is $83,046.

The report defines a self-sufficiency income as the amount of money a household needs to earn to meet the costs of a frugal life, including a modest rent, without government or other subsidies.

The income standard has risen steadily in recent years, underscoring concerns about the pressures Hawaii’s soaring cost of living is putting on working families ― an issue so acute it’s led to a shrinking state population as residents leave for the mainland in higher numbers.

In 2014, the state put the self-sufficiency income for a family of four at just shy of $75,000.

[Read more: 31% of Hawaii families don’t earn enough to cover basic needs: study]

Meanwhile, the state report estimates that a single adult needs to bring in at least $35,143 a year ― or $17.21 an hour ― to cover basic expenses.

The minimum wage in Hawaii of $10.10 for a single adult translates to about $21,000 a year.

By comparison, a single adult with a preschooler needs to earn at least $29.51 an hour to cover expenses without any government or private subsidies.

The report says that 43% of Hawaii families with two adults and two young children don’t earn enough to meet the self-sufficiency income standard.

But the state’s economist cautioned the sample size for that statistic was small.

A more reliable statistic, he said, is the estimate for the scope of single-adult households that don’t make a self-sufficiency wage: About 46%.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.