Minimum Wage in Hawaii Compared to Its Median Income
by Becca Blond, NewsMax, January 20, 2016
Minimum wage earners in Hawaii do not have it easy, even with an ongoing gradual minimum wage increase, due to the high cost of living in this state of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. But when it comes to median household income, Hawaii fares better than the national average, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
In Hawaii the median household income between 2009 and 2013, which is the latest available data, was $67,402, above the national average of $53,046. Additionally, fewer people lived below the poverty level in Hawaii than across the nation — 11.2 percent compared with 15.4 percent nationally.
Just because Hawaii ranks above the national average when it comes to the median income doesn't mean that residents are living better than their counterparts on the mainland. In fact, a higher median household income is imperative in Hawaii because the state is much more expensive to live in than the Lower 48 — almost everything that arrives in Hawaii is shipped in by sea or airplane. For example, in a Hawaii supermarket, a package of hamburger buns costs upwards of $6, which is about $3 more than it costs at a similar shop in Washington, D.C., and a quart of milk also costs about 50 percent more than on the mainland, according to a 2013 Huffington Post article.
Additionally, the state has some of the highest rental prices in the country. A report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) states Hawaii residents need to earn $31.61 per hour to rent a two-bedroom property, which is well above what the average worker in Hawaii earns. The minimum wage in Hawaii is currently $7.75 per hour, but even for those making more, this is prohibitively expensive to most as the average renter wage is only $14.49 per hour in the state. By comparison, the national hourly wage necessary to rent a two-bedroom property is $19.35, according to news station KHON2.