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Why are people leaving Hawaii? - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Why are people leaving Hawaii?

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Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, but also had the fifth highest population drop in 2017.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 37 more people per day moving out of Hawaii than there are moving in. And the short answer to why is because it's expensive to live here.

The Washington Post article analyzes recent data. Unemployment is low. The labor market is strong. And the author adds, there's very little chance of the bomb cyclones that are causing other parts of the U.S. to freeze over. But even with those positives, people are moving to more affordable states. 

Councilmember Kymberly Pine is chair of the Zoning and Housing Committee. She says she's seen this trend with her own family.

"I'm witnessing it with my own family. One part of my family almost three generations have moved to Vegas. And they miss hawaii tremendously," said Pine.  "But when you just want to make ends meet and support your family, you have to do what you have to do. We've just got to do a better job as leaders to stop this trend."

According to the Home Value Index from housing website Zillow, the median home value in Hawaii is $613,500, compared with $205,100 for all of the U.S. And median rent in Hawaii is $2,300 compared with $1,600 for the U.S.

Pine says these high prices are due to the housing shortage.

"We are about 24,000 affordable housing units short for just Oahu," said Pine. 

It's a trend that started because people wanted to slow development down. 

"After World War II, we were building about 10,000 houses a year but that number has been dramtically reduced after people protested that we were over-developing Hawaii," said Pine. 

Pine added that she is hoping to use her position to help solve this problem by fast-tracking affordable housing projects.

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