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Hawaii Population in Rare Decline

The population of Hawaii fell in 2017 for only the third time since 1959. High housing costs are likely to blame.
January 10, 2018, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Andrew Van Dam reports:

Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate of any state in recorded history, a good economic outlook, and — most attractive at this time of year — little chance of polar vortex or ‘bomb cyclones’. Yet in 2017 its population fell for just the third time since statehood in 1959. 

The drop was small in terms of percent, one tenth of a percent, but only a few states also declined in population last year. So, why is this island paradise among the state where population declined in a strong economy?

According to Van Dam, one explanation for these trends stands out: home prices.

Hawaii has the most expensive housing in the nation, according to the home value index from housing website Zillow. Rent costs trail only D.C. and (in some months) California. Overall, Hawaii had the highest cost of living of any state in 2017 (D.C. was higher), the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness found, and housing was the main driver.

Van Dam also details data on Hawaii's high rate of homelessness, which leads every state after increasing at the fourth-fastest rate in the country over the past decade.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, January 5, 2018 in The Washington Post
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