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Hawaii Residents Least Satisfied With Affordability of Local Housing

Hawaii Residents Least Satisfied With Affordability of Local Housing

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • One in four Hawaii residents satisfied with housing availability
  • Wisconsin has the highest percentage satisfied, 82%
  • Satisfaction related to median home value in state

PRINCETON, N.J. -- One in four Hawaii residents are satisfied with "the availability of good, affordable housing" where they live, half as many as in the next lowest states -- California, New York and Vermont, all with 50% satisfaction. Wisconsin (82%), Georgia (80%) and Idaho (80%) residents have the highest levels of housing satisfaction.


These results are based on Gallup's 50-State Poll, conducted March-December 2015. The survey consisted of interviews with at least 500 residents in each of the 50 states. The full results for each state appear at the end of the article.

Hawaii's low ranking is not surprising given that it has the highest median home value in the nation, estimated at $528,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey.

State-level housing satisfaction is highly correlated with median home values overall, and this relationship is particularly evident in areas where home values are the highest. California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and New York have the highest median home values in the U.S., after Hawaii. Accordingly, those five states all rank near the bottom in satisfaction, behind Hawaii, with between 50% and 57% satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their states.

Despite the overall high correlation between home values and satisfaction with the availability of affordable housing, there is some distinction between the states at the bottom of the value list and the top of the satisfaction list. West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky have the lowest median home values, but none ranks among the 10 states in which residents are most satisfied.

However, all but two of the 10 states having the greatest satisfaction with housing affordability rank in the bottom half of states on median home values. Utah and Nevada are the exceptions. Utah has the 16th highest median home value, but 78% are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing there. One reason this incongruity might exist is that Utah has a relatively low cost of living, so higher housing prices there are offset by lower prices on other things Utahans need to buy.

Eastern, Western States Claim Below-Average States in Satisfaction

Thirteen states rank significantly below the 50-state average of 68% resident satisfaction with the availability of affordable housing where they live. All of these states except Maryland are in the Eastern or Western regions of the country. While no states in the East have above-average satisfaction with affordable housing, a few Western states do, including Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.


More Midwestern states have above-average satisfaction than average satisfaction, while the opposite is the case in the South.


Hawaii is traditionally the state that more Americans say they would like to visit for vacation than any other, and Hawaii consistently ranks near the top of U.S. states in well-being. But Hawaiians clearly see their state as lacking when it comes to the availability of affordable housing. Even in California and New York -- two of the most expensive states to live in -- twice as many residents are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing as is the case in Hawaii.

Hawaii officials are well aware of the need for affordable housing, but there are many practical economic challenges to expanding the supply of affordable housing on the islands. Many of the homes built in Hawaii are sold as second homes or investment properties. The costs of building and maintaining rental properties there often greatly exceed what owners could recoup if they charged rents that lower- and middle-income residents could afford. Also, there is a limited amount of land in the state that can be developed. Because of these factors, many Hawaiian families are forced to share houses with other families to be able to pay their rent or mortgage.

Hawaii does have programs in place to help residents find housing. But waitlists for low-income housing are long, and many who gain access to those units live there indefinitely, given relatively few affordable housing options to move to if their financial situation does improve.

Despite the challenging housing situation, Hawaii ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in the proportion of residents who say they would like to leave the state. In contrast, New York, New Jersey and Maryland are three states in which residents are least satisfied with the availability of affordable housing and most likely to say they would like to move out of the state.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 30-Dec. 22, 2015, with random samples of approximately 500 adults, aged 18 and older, living in each of the 50 U.S. states. Data are weighted to account for unequal selection probability, nonresponse and double coverage of landline and cellphone users in the two sampling frames. Data are also weighted to state estimates of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education and phone status (cellphone only, landline only, both, and cellphone mostly).

For results based on the total sample of adults in each state, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each state sample includes roughly 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.


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