Honolulu's cost of living ranks third in the U.S., report says


POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Honolulu was the third-most expensive major city in the nation to live in during 2007, surpassed only by New York City and San Francisco, according to new figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The ranking was part of a wide range of topics the bureau put numbers to, ranging from the cost of housing to the number of people with Internet access in their home. The compilation of numbers in 30 different subject areas is called “;Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009.”;

All of the figures stop in 2007, or in earlier years in some cases, meaning none shows the economic disruption caused this year by high gasoline prices, the bruising of the housing and stock markets, and official federal recognition that the economy is in a recession.

Overall, prices of items in Honolulu rose 4.8 percent during 2007, the abstract shows. That was the second-biggest increase for any of the 26 cities listed, exceeded only by Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., with a 5.2 percent increase.

However, medical costs were not available for the Honolulu calculation, while medical costs in the Tampa area rose 14.7 percent.

The overall consumer price index for Honolulu was 163.1, with the national average being 100.

Manhattan in New York City was highest with an index of 212.3. San Francisco was second-highest with an index of 168.5, just above Honolulu.

Las Vegas, a favorite for Hawaii residents seeking a lower-priced escape from Honolulu costs, was pegged near the national average at 109.8.

Food and beverages in Honolulu went up 5.5 percent, housing 7.2 percent, and fuel and utilities 5.3 percent. The cost of clothing went down by a slight 0.2 percent and transportation rose only 1.4 percent.

Single-family housing prices for Hawaii rose 2.01 percent from fourth quarter 2006 to fourth quarter 2007.

Hawaii's population rose to 1,283,000 in 2007, up from 1,212,000 in 2000. The 2007 figure ranks Hawaii 42nd-most populous in the nation.

In 2006, Hawaii had 2.2 people holding science and engineering doctorates for every 1,000 people, about the national average of 2.4 per thousand.

In the commerce sector, Hawaii had about 26,300 business in 2005, the most recent year given, compared with 24,300 in 2000.

Hawaii had about 6,000 farms in 2007, a number that remained constant since 2000. The average size dropped slightly to 236 acres from 251 acres during that time.






        New Census Bureau numbers show the cost of living going up in Honolulu through 2007, while Hawaii remains on an equal footing with the rest of the country in research and education.




Consumer price index

        » Honolulu, 163.1
» New York City, 212.3
» Las Vegas, 109.8


Educational achievement

        » High school degree: Hawaii, 89 percent; national, 84.1 percent
» Bachelor's degree: Hawaii, 29.7 percent; national, 27 percent


Internet in home

        » Hawaii, 64.1 percent
» National, 61.7 percent


Academic science research spending

        » Hawaii, $4.39 per $1,000 state gross domestic product
» National, $3.63 per $1,000