Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, HawaiiThe capital of Hawaii has a rich and long history, with evidence of Polynesian migrants having built a settlement there at least as early as the 12th century. The area had already been involved in Pacific affairs for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans, beginning with British Captain William Brown in 1794. Through the 19th century, Honolulu was developed and modernized by Hawaiian kings, becoming the islands' center of commerce.

The city was faced with many traumas, tragedies, and conflicts as it entered and progressed through the 20th century. Among these were the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the US annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, the Great Honolulu Chinatown Fire of 1900, and the 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which altered the course of world history.

In spite of these events, Honolulu maintained its standing as Hawaii's capital, its largest city, and its gateway by sea and air. In fact, it has continued to grow, cementing for itself a reputation as a highly modern city, an international business hub, and a desirable vacation destination. As if this wasn't enough, Honolulu can boast its famously beautiful scenery, its impressively high quality of living, and its bringing together of many diverse cultures, traditions, and cuisines.

Honorable Mentions

  • One of RealClearPolitics.com's 2014 "Top 10 Cities with the Least Bad Unemployment Rates".
  • Both Winner and "Reader Pick" for "Best place to postpone a career" in Sunset magazine (2014).
  • 2nd "most liveable city" in the US, according to a 2011 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • Number 5 on Movoto's list of "America's Smartest Cities".
  • Number 19 on Businessweek.com's 2012 list of "America's 50 Best Cities".
  • Number 24 on newgeography's 2013 list of "Best Cities for Job Growth".
  • Number 29 on Mercer's 2009 worldwide "Quality of Living" list.

Major Industries/Employers

Tourism plays a huge role in Honolulu's economy. Additionally, the Honolulu International Airport is a major source of employment in the city, as it is primary airport for Hawaii and one of the busiest airports in the entire US.

Significant sectors in the city's economy include service, aviation, retail, financial services, military defense, manufacturing, and research and development. There are various banks and health care institutions based in Honolulu, including First Hawaiian Bank, Queen's Hospital, and Hawaii Pacific Health.

Due to its location, Honolulu also serves as a hub for international business and trading.


In 2012, the population of urban Honolulu was estimated at 345,610 people, of which 28.1% were born overseas and 25,223 are veterans. 7.7% of the population is between 20 and 24 years old.

Of Honolulans aged 25 or over, 88.1% have graduated high school and 33.8% have achieved a bachelor's degree or higher. Both of these rates are somewhat above the overall US equivalents.

The homeownership rate in the city is 44.2%, and the mean travel time to work for residents aged 16 and above is 22.3 minutes. The mean per capita yearly income is $30,366, which is decently above the overall US value ($28,051). Only 12% of Honolulans are below the poverty level, which compares favorably with the national rate of 15%. The city's unemployment rate (4.1%) is significantly below the overall United States rate (6.7%).

Groceries are more expensive in Honolulu than is usual in the US because 80% of the food is shipped in. However, there are good deals to be had on housing, and the average monthly rent of a 1-bedroom apartment is only $1,500.


Honolulu has a relatively low homeownership rate, and groceries are unusually expensive in the city. However, it has an impressively low unemployment rate, as well as a low poverty rate, a high mean per capita income, a high rate of educational attainment, and low housing costs. On top of this, the city is world-famous for the beautiful scenery, relaxed lifestyle, and diverse cultures it offers. Together, these facts make Honolulu appear a very desirable destination for job seekers.