Why Chelsea Wright left Hawaii

“I am Native Hawaiian, born and raised on Oahu. Being stuck at an 8-to-5 desk job for two years with no room to move up the corporate ladder, high-cost living expenses, living paycheck to paycheck and seeing people I loved being dragged down were the reasons I moved to Tacoma, Washington.

“All of my family lives in Hawaii, except my sister, who also moved to Tacoma after I established residency here. A majority of my husband’s family still lives in Hawaii.

“I enjoy visiting Hawaii once a year, but I am only able to do that because my husband works for an airline that provides free flight benefits. I would not be able to buy tickets to Hawaii and afford our stay there. When we visit, we spend about $700 for a week’s stay, not including car rental, and that’s us budgeting to the dollar.

“Here I purchased a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a garage, large yard and street parking for $280,000. It is six houses away from a great elementary school. My grocery bill is about $120 a week; it provides three full meals, snacks and extras daily. I have extra money and can help support my sister’s kids.

“In order for me to consider moving back to Hawaii, I would need to be able to purchase a house that is more than 10 feet from my neighbor’s house. Grocery costs would need to go down significantly, and a better transportation and freeway system would need to be implemented.

“I wish we could go back. I miss the beach, the food, the sun, the people … but realistically, what I see for myself and my family I no longer see in Hawaii.”

Chelsea Wright
Tacoma, Washington
Former resident of Kalihi

Subscribe to our free newsletter!

Get updates on what we're doing to make Hawaii affordable for everyone.
Want more?

Get content like this delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll also send updates on what we’re doing to make Hawaii affordable for everyone.

Recent Posts