17 Reasons Not to Move to Oahu, Hawaii (Voted by the Locals!)

To many, the island of Oahu, Hawaii seems like it is an island paradise, and to many people it is. However, that doesn’t mean that the people that live there also think that this island paradise is a great place to live, especially long-term. Like other places, the island of Oahu is not perfect. We have compiled 17 reasons why you shouldn’t move to Oahu, Hawaii anytime soon.

1. Traffic

The traffic in Oahu, Hawaii is absolutely awful, and so are many of the roads. Even though many people don’t bring their car with them when they move to Oahu, there are hundreds to thousands of cars on the roads of Oahu at a time, especially during rush hour.

There is public transport, but the public transport infrastructure isn’t great, which leads to busses and trains being late often. If you want to get anywhere in the morning, afternoon, or evening in Oahu, make sure you leave as early as possible so you can get to where you are going on time or only slightly late.

The roads on Oahu are not the best and are not maintained well. There are massive potholes, uneven pavement, unpaved roads, no guard rails, and livestock that regularly cross the road, blocking cars and making the already bad traffic worse. Although not all roads on Oahu have these issues, there are enough of them that locals often complain about them.

2. High Rent

The cost of housing is absolutely ridiculous in Oahu, Hawaii. The average rent cost in Oahu is nearly $2,000 per month, and that doesn’t even include the cost of utilities or other fees that housing complexes charge their tenants. It is very easy to find housing that costs more than $2,000 per month, but it is very hard to find decent housing that costs less.

Many houses and apartments that are somewhat reasonably priced are rundown, outdated, and of low quality, so you will have to pay a pretty penny to find decent housing when trying to find a place to live in Oahu. That is if you can even find a place that is available to rent or buy.

It is extremely hard to find a place to live in Oahu because space is limited and a lot of people want to live there. This drives up the cost of housing because of supply and demand. So, if you plan to move to Oahu, make sure you start looking for a place to live months in advance.

3. High Cost of Living

The cost of rentOpens in a new tab. is not the only large cost that you will be paying every month while living in Oahu, Hawaii, as the cost of living is extremely high. On average, you will likely spend between $500-$1,000 every month on groceries, as many grocery items that are considered staples in many households are more expensive when you purchase them in Oahu than in other states.

In fact, a gallon of milk can cost nearly $9. This is partly because they have to ship many items to the island so you can buy them, as there isn’t anywhere to make or grow certain items.

Hawaii is considered the most expensive state in the United States to live in, followed by New York and Massachusetts.

4. High Population

The island of Oahu has an extremely high populationOpens in a new tab.. In 2021, about 1,000,890 people lived on the island, which is a lot of people for such a small island. The population of Oahu changes every year because people move there while others leave, but it will likely always be a densely populated island.

5. Tourists

If you think that the population of Oahu is a lot of people to be around, you absolutely should not move there, especially when you consider how many tourists visit the island every year.

About 450,000-570,000 touristsOpens in a new tab. visit the island of Oahu every month, which means about 5,400,000-6,840,000 tourists visit every year. That is a lot of people visiting one small island that already has a massive number of people living on it.

6. High Crime Rate

Another reason why you shouldn’t move to Oahu, Hawaii is the high crime rateOpens in a new tab.. The exact crime rate is currently unknown, but it has been increasing in recent years. The police are trying to keep people safe, but so far their efforts seem to be somewhat in vain.

7. Far Away From the Other Islands

The island of Oahu is quite far away from the other islands in the state, which means it will be relatively hard for you to travel off of the island and see the beauty of the other Hawaii islands. This limits your resources and limits what you can do in your free time. You will definitely have to increase your travel budget if you move to Oahu, Hawaii.

Here is about how long it will take you to travel to another island from Oahu.

  • Maui: 45-minute flight, 90-minute ferry ride
  • Lanai: 45-minute flight, about 1-hour ferry ride
  • Molokai: 30-minute flight, 90-minute ferry ride
  • Kauai: 40-minute flight, no ferry available
  • Niihau: 40-minute flight, no ferry available

The cost of traveling to another island from Oahu will vary depending on how you travel and the travel agency’s rates.

8. Away From Family and Friends

Because the island of Oahu is so far away from other islands and the mainland United States, you will be extremely far away from your friends and family if you move to Oahu. They will have to either spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to travel and come to see you, or you will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to travel to see them.

While this is great if you don’t have a great relationship with your family members, it is hard to be so far away from friends for a long period of time, especially if you don’t make new friends while living in Oahu.

Also, when your friends and family come to visit you, they will likely stay for at least a few weeks at a time, especially because of how expensive flights are. They will expect you to have a place for them to stay, partially because they already spend so much on plane tickets and because they don’t want to pay for an expensive hotel. While it is great to spend time with friends and family, you may not have room to house them and may not be okay with housing them for their entire trip.

9. Weather

Oahu, Hawaii looks like a tropical paradise, partially because of the weather. However, there are negatives to living in an area that is tropical. During the summer, it is extremely hot and dry. Temperatures often reach almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are no large trees, other than possibly palm trees, to block you from direct sunlight. Rain can start at any time, although it typically only lasts for a few minutes, but only if there is not a summer storm in the works.

During the winter, it is typically above 60 degrees Fahrenheit but extremely windy. You won’t be able to fully enjoy the beach outside of your door because you don’t want to get sand in your eyes. During the spring, the temperature is slightly warmer, but there is still a lot of wind.

10. Natural Disasters

When it comes to natural disasters in Oahu, Hawaii, a lot of them can happen, including:

  • Flash Floods
  • Tsunamis
  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Tropical Storms

These natural disastersOpens in a new tab. don’t even involve a volcano eruption, which is completely possible. In fact, the entire island of Oahu is made from two volcanos. However, you likely won’t have to worry about a volcano eruption while living on Oahu if you choose to move there, as the volcanos that make up the island are considered dead, so they aren’t likely to erupt any time soon.

Remember, living on a tropical island like Oahu means that you will have to deal with tropical storms regularly.

11. Lack of Air Conditioning

You would think that houses and apartments located on a tropical island that regularly has temperatures that reach over 80 degrees Fahrenheit would have air conditioning, but that is not the case. Some higher-end houses and apartments may have one, but that will vary depending on the complex or landlord.

Since it is unlikely that you will have air conditioningOpens in a new tab. in your home while living in Oahu, you will simply have to make do with ceiling fans, and leave doors open while homing a cool breeze will blow through your home.

12. Competitive Job Market

Even though there are many different businesses in Oahu, Hawaii, the island has an extremely competitive job market, which makes it extremely hard to find a job on the island if you don’t move there with one already lined up.

Most of the jobs in Oahu are in the hospitality industry because so many tourists visit every year. This means that if you work in a specialty field, it will likely be extremely hard to find a job while living in Oahu. This will not help you when it comes to paying for an expensive home, apartment, or groceries.

13. High Shipping Costs

Because Oahu, Hawaii is so far away from the mainland United States and things have to be either flown or ferried onto the island, shipping costs are extremely high. This is not especially helpful when you are moving, as there are likely things that you will want to bring with you that won’t fit in your suitcases. This means you will have to go through all of your belongings and decide if you want to sell them, put them in storage, or ship them to your new home in Oahu.

When you do decide to pay shipping costs, it will likely take at least a few weeks to a few months for the items you ordered to arrive. Forget subscribing to Amazon Prime, as the 1-2-day shipping will not apply to anything you order, even if you desperately want it to.

14. Homelessness

In Oahu, Hawaii there are many homeless peopleOpens in a new tab.. In fact, there are currently about 4,000 homeless people in Oahu, and most of them are living on the street because they don’t have the money to book a hotel room or rent an apartment.

The homeless in Oahu are unfortunately not treated very well by residents, and there really isn’t anything that anyone can do because of how high rent is and because there really isn’t any room to build a homeless center or affordable housing. The homeless problem in Oahu doesn’t seem to be getting better or going away any time soon.

15. Lots of Bugs

There are thousands of bugsOpens in a new tab. in Oahu, Hawaii, so if you don’t like bugs, you will definitely not want to move to this island. The bugs that run rampant in Oahu are:

  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Bed Bugs
  • Centipedes
  • Cockroaches
  • Fleas
  • Mosquitoes
  • Scorpions

Many termites are found in the wood of homes and apartment buildings, and mosquitos are nearly everywhere in Oahu, as the tropical weather and large bodies of water are optimal breeding grounds. The centipedes that live in Oahu can grow up to almost 1 foot long, which absolutely disgusts and horrifies me as someone that doesn’t like large bugs.

16. Bad Education System

The education systemOpens in a new tab. in Oahu, Hawaii is quite dismal, so it is not a good place for children that want to learn to live. In fact, Hawaii is rated 48 out of 52 when it comes to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores, and many children don’t stay in school for long after 9th grade or go to college.

Oahu, Hawaii doesn’t spend a lot of money on education and paying teachers, which is why many teachers do not choose to move to or work in Oahu.

17. People Can Be Rude

The people that live in OahuOpens in a new tab., Hawaii are often rude to people that did not grow up in the area, although many don’t blame them because they consider people that move there to be a type of invader. When you move to the island, you will likely be called a haole, which is what Hawaiians call white people and people that are not native to the island. Locals say that Hawaiians will call you a haole no matter what race you are if you are not a Hawaii native.

You will likely be able to meet people that are really nice and make friends, but natives of Hawaii will likely not welcome you to the island of Oahu, so you shouldn’t move there if you don’t want to feel ostracized and isolated.

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