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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Hawi, Hawaii?

Overview:  On the northern end of the Big Island of Hawaii, cozy Hawi rests in the verdant, sparsely populated North Kohala district. It and neighboring Kaapu (population 1,200) are often considered one community.

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Once a sugar plantation town, Hawi has struggled since the 1970s but is starting to make a comeback as a tourist destination. Its downtown consists of colorful, renovated plantation buildings, many of which now house art galleries, craft shops, candy stores and some top notch eateries. At least two of the local restaurants host live music. There is a twice-a-week farmers' market, a hotel, a grocery and a holistic healing center. Guest houses are sprinkled about town. Most homes sit on large, lush lots and range from modest frame structures to unique multi-story residences with ocean views.

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Recreational possibilities are abundant. Horseback riding and zip lining are available at Kohala Mountain, and "fluming" (slow kayaking) the Kohala Ditch, a plantation irrigation system, has become popular. Hawaii Island Sky Diving is based out of the nearby Upolu Airport.

The Pololu Valley, about 10 miles to the east, has a black sand beach and breathtaking views of the coastline. Major shopping is done in Waimea (also known as Kamuela), about 22 miles away.

Population:  1,400 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  38%

Cost of Living:  75% above the national average.  

Median Home Price: $495,000

Climate:  On average, this area receives 50 inches of rain each year, and it comes fairly evenly throughout the seasons (although summers are a little drier).  Temperatures are in the 60s, 70s and 80s year round.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  No, but North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea, about 25 miles away, accepts Medicare patients.

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?   No, but North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea, about 25 miles away, is accredited.

Public Transit:   Yes, provided by Hele-On, but it is limited.

Crime Rate:   Well below the national average

Public Library:   No, but one is in Kappau, about four miles away.

Political Leanings:   Very, very liberal

Is Hawaii Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    Yes

Cons:   The earthquake risk is 315% greater than the national average.

Notes:   Hawi is cute, very mellow and has grown by 45% within the last decade or two. The closest hospital (non-accredited) is about five miles away in Kappau.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, although the lack of an accredited hospital is a concern.

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Hawaii:

The Aloha State is an isolated volcanic archipelago 2,397 miles east of San Francisco. Although it was annexed by the United States in 1900, Hawaii did not become a state until August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands, and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia.

Hawaii's islands are known for their lush foliage, rugged geography, as well as their gold, red, black, and green sand beaches. Its Kilauea volcano is one of the world's most active. NASA astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa's hardened lava fields.

Of the six major islands, Oahu has the only major city - Honolulu. Climate and rainfall can vary depending on altitude and location. Thanks to trade winds, the north and east side receive higher amounts of moisture than the south and west. The islands experience some tropical storms, but the incidence of a true hurricane is rare. The rainiest city, Hilo, in the United States is in Hawaii.

Tourism and defense are a large part of the Hawaii's economy. The state is the only one in the union to grow coffee. It also produces most of the nation's pineapple and sugar cane. Nearly eight million tourists come to visit each year.

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Stats:

Population - 1,428,557

Persons 65 years old and over - 14%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 91% 

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 31% 

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 22% 

Median household income - $71,977 

Median home value - $538,499 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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