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With its sandy beaches, volcanic landscapes, and aloha spirit, moving to Hawaii often seems like a dream for many on the mainland. But before packing your bags, you may be wondering—what kind of money can you expect to make living in America’s island paradise?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the average salary in Hawaii is $54,070 per year.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore typical Hawaiian salaries across industries, job positions, and islands. We’ll look at how the cost of living impacts take-home pay, salaries for popular tourism jobs, and the highest- and lowest-paying careers in Hawaii.

Average Salaries in Hawaii by Occupation

Top-Paying Careers

Some of the highest paying jobs in Hawaii include physicians, CEOs, lawyers, pilots, and engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a physician in Hawaii is $268,000, while Chief Executives earn around $201,000.

Attorneys in Hawaii make approximately $143,000 per year. Pilots and flight engineers take home around $130,000 annually, while engineers in Hawaii average around $100,000 per year.

Lowest-Paying Jobs

Unfortunately, Hawaii has some of the lowest paying jobs in the country. Food preparation workers only make about $23,000 per year on average. Cashiers earn approximately $24,000 annually. Waiters and waitresses in Hawaii restaurants and hotels take home around $30,000 per year.

Other low wage jobs include childcare workers, maids, janitors, and dishwashers.

Tourism Industry Salaries

The tourism industry is vital for Hawaii’s economy. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor spending supported 204,000 jobs in Hawaii in 2021. However, many tourism jobs are lower paying. The average annual salary for travel agents is $39,000 in Hawaii.

Hotel desk clerks earn around $30,000 per year. Tour guides average approximately $28,000 annually. On a positive note, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association reports some salaries in tourism are rising. For example, housekeeper salaries increased 12% from 2021 to 2022.

Salaries by Island and Region

When it comes to salaries in Hawaii, there can be significant variation depending on which island and region you look at. Here is an overview of average salaries by island and region in Hawaii:


As the most populous island in Hawaii, Oahu unsurprisingly offers some of the highest salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary in Honolulu is $54,550, compared to a statewide average of $49,220.

Within Oahu, salaries tend to be highest in urban Honolulu County. Popular job industries here include healthcare, hospitality, construction, and professional services. Rural areas of Oahu generally have lower average wages.


The idyllic island of Maui has an average annual salary of $45,970. The job market focuses heavily on hospitality and tourism. With pristine beaches and lush landscapes, Maui attracts visitors from around the world seeking luxury vacations.

Resort areas like Wailea and Kaanapali employ many hospitality staff to serve this high-end market.

Hawaii Island

The largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago is nicknamed the “Big Island.” It has an average annual salary of $43,960. Major industries providing jobs here include agriculture, astronomy, hospitality, and healthcare. Jobs tend to concentrate around the main towns of Hilo and Kailua-Kona.


Lush, green Kauai island is sometimes called the “Garden Isle” thanks to its tropical rainforests and nature preserves. It has an average salary of $43,450. Tourism and hospitality make up a large segment of the local economy.

The popular resort area Poipu on the sunny South Shore offers many hotel and restaurant jobs.

There are also various isolated, rural areas of Kauai with lower average wages. Cost of living can be high on Kauai compared to other islands.

How Hawaii Salaries Compare to Cost of Living

Housing Costs

Housing costs in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation, with median home prices over $800,000 on some islands (1). Rental prices are also steep, with the average two-bedroom apartment renting for around $2,000 per month (2).

These high housing expenses take a big bite out of residents’ paychecks. Even with relatively good salaries compared to national averages, many locals struggle to afford a home or pay rent.

Goods & Services

The high cost of shipping goods to the islands drives up prices for food, clothing, cars, and other consumer staples. Groceries may cost 50-60% more compared to other states (3). Gasoline averages $5 per gallon across the islands.

And a nice dinner out for two can easily top $100 with a bottle of wine. Residents must budget carefully and limit luxuries to balance household finances.


Electricity rates in Hawaii run triple the national average at 37 cents per kWh (4). Air conditioning bills in the summer easily exceed $400 per month for a 2-bedroom unit. Water bills also tend to run higher than most states. And residents pay general excise taxes of 4-4.5% on these utility expenses.

Saving money requires vigilant conservation efforts to curb excessive power and water usage.

With housing, goods, services, and utilities all expensive compared to median wages, making ends meet poses an ongoing struggle for many Hawaii residents. Finding an affordable cost of living often involves compromises in housing, leisure activities, and even necessities like groceries and electricity.


  1. Hawaii Real Estate Market Statistics
  2. Hawaii Rent Data
  3. Hawaii Cost of Living Data
  4. Hawaii Electricity Rates


While Hawaii’s postcard-perfect landscapes call, its higher-than-average cost of living demands careful financial consideration. Weigh salaries against expenses across the islands to find the right fit for your needs and budget.

Ultimately, Hawaii offers solid incomes across sectors—you’ll just need to balance the books with aloha to make your Hawaiian dream a monetary reality.

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