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Is the Big Island of Hawaii a Good Place to Raise Kids?

Updated on March 5, 2017
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Brittany Kennedy has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for most of her life, which means she's spent most of her life eating sushi!

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Hawaii is a Great Place to Raise Children

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches and breath-taking views. Tourists from all over the world come to Hawaii to vacation and some consider staying permanently. But is Hawaii a good place for children to grow up? This article will tell you why Hawaii is a good place to raise kids and also bring up some things to consider before packing your bags.

If you are considering moving to Hawaii with your children (or future children) and have been wondering any of the following questions, then this article is perfect for you. It will answer:

  1. What are the schools like in Hawaii?
  2. How much does it cost to live in Hawaii?
  3. Are the neighborhoods safe in Hawaii?
  4. Do I have to worry about natural disasters like volcanoes and tsunamis while living in Hawaii?

The author was raised on the Big Island of Hawaii and knows what life is like. If you have any questions, you can leave them in a comment at the bottom of the page.

Schools on the Big Island of Hawaii

Schools on the Big Island of Hawaii
Schools on the Big Island of Hawaii | Source

Schools on the Big Island

Number
School Name
Location
Grade Levels
1
Na'alehu
Ka'u
K to 7
2
Ka'u High / Pahala Elementary School
Pahala
9 to 12
3
Keakealani Outdoor Educational Center
Puna
 
5
Pahoa High & Intermediate
Pahoa
7 to 12
6
Pahoa
Pahoa
K to 6
7
Mountain View
Mountain View
K to 5
8
Keonapoko
Pahoa
K to 6
9
Kea'au High School
Kea'au
9 to 12
10
Kea'au Elementary School
Kea'au
K to 5
11
Kea'au Middle School
Kea'au
6 to 8
12
Ha'aheo Elementary
Kea'au
K to 6
13
Waiakea High School
Hilo
9 to 12
14
Kalanianaole
Hilo
K to 8
15
Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School
Laupahoehoe
K to 12
16
Pa'auilo
Laupahoehoe
K to 9
17
Honoka'a High & Intermediate School
Honoka'a
7 to 12
18
Honoka'a
Honoka'a
K to 6
19
Kohala High School
Kapa'au
9 to 12
20
Kohala Middle
Kapa'au
6 to 8
21
Kohala School
Kapa'au
K to 5
22
Waimea Middle School
Waimea
K to 5
23
Waikoloa Elementary
Waikoloa
K to 5
24
Kealakehe Elementary
Kona
K to 5
25
Kealakehe Intermediate
Kona
6 to 8
26
Kealakehe High School
Kailua-Kona
9 to 12
27
Halualoa
Halualoa
K to 5
28
Konawaena High School
Kealakekua
9 to 12
29
Konawaena Middle School
Kealakekua
6 to 8
30
Konawaena Elementary School
Kealakekua
K to 5
31
Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino
Kealakekua
K to 11
32
Honaunau
Kealakekua
K to 5
Source

Finding Hawaii Schools in your Area

The table and image above show the public schools on the Big Island. There are also a number of private institutions around the island that have college preparatory curriculum. Finding a school for your children in Hawaii isn't hard, but you may have to drive a bit to reach one depending on where you live.

This author grew up in Waikoloa during high school and rode the Hele-on bus and drove to school in Waimea. No matter where you live, there is plenty of school options for your children.

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How Much Does it Cost to Live on the Big Island?

How Much do Groceries Cost in Hawaii?

Generally, groceries are more expensive in Hawaii than in other states in the US; however, the sales tax is 4%, whereas other states like California have much higher sales tax rates. The cost difference on groceries is based on the fact that they must be imported to Hawaii.

Although national brands may be marked up due to shipping costs, the local food selection is less expensive. Some items are cheaper in Hawaii due to their availability. Examples of these foods are fish, sugar, fruit, etc.

There are many local food markets and farmer's merkets on the Big Island, so it is easy to access local food products. Many people find Hawaii to be the perfect place to obtain self-sustainability. They grow their own crops and power their homes with electricity with windmills.

High Home and Land Prices in Hawaii

Hawaiian land is generally more expensive than in other parts of the US, but still affordable. If you have a job in Hawaii, you are getting paid a little more than you are in other states. So, the real estate values are adequate based on the location and state wages.

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Are Hawaiian Neighborhoods Safe for Kids?

The Big Island of Hawaii has a small population for its size. The crime rates are not nearly as bad as many other states in the US and a lot of the unlawful activity is concentrated in certain areas.

Hawaii is a great place for children to grow up as many of the schools are surrounded by peaceful residential areas or have a subdivision of their own.

During my entire life, my family never needed to lock the front door of our house at night. The only time I remember locking it was when we went on vacation. As the crime rates were so low, Hawaiian residents feel safe enough to leave their homes unlocked.

Because of the space between towns on the island can be quite vast, a great sense of community can be found in each area. Neighbors are always looking out for others. Locals call it the "Aloha Spirit."

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Do I Need to Worry About Volcanoes or Tsunamis in Hawaii?

Although we have a very active volcano on the island, it is safe to live there. The lava generally flows on the same path off the Southeast side of the island. As long as you aren't building a house on the fresh basalt, you will be okay.

If there ever was an emergency with the volcanoes, you would be notified in time to evacuate. Hawaii's volcanoes are shield volcanoes, which have low-elevation eruptions that are generally mellow.

Tsunamis are a big threat to Hawaiians, but they are predictable. Each town has a tsunami sirent that is tested once per month. If a tsunami was heading toward the island, the locals would be advised to evacuate up the mountain. As we have the tallest mountain in the world, there is a sure chance of survival as long as you make it to safety.

As locals say, "Malama the Aina", or "Respect the Land."

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    • profile image

      Catalina ingle 6 weeks ago

      Hi, my husband and i are looking to move to hawaii. I have 2 beautiful daugthers one is 16 and the other is 12. I would love to know what is the best island or town to move with good schools or if i can home school them. Im a bit worry about my 16 year old because she has been a honor student since 1st grade and i dont want to hold her back. What would you recomend? Andd thank you.

    • brittanytodd profile image
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      Brittany Kennedy 3 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      That's wonderful, Natasha! No, it is not going to be hard finding work in your fields. There are several non profit gardening and agriculture programs here. Your husband has many options as far as air conditioning goes (maybe not as much heating...). I work for a construction company here that builds high end residential homes and we are in need of more air conditioning subcontractors. And as for schools, there are many options. Hope you can make it out here! Aloha.

    • profile image

      Natasha Jollymore 3 years ago

      We currently live in Nova Scotia, Canada and have been reserching moving to Hawaii. I have amazing memories of visiting there as a child and love the way of life and culture. Not to mention the weather! We have such long cold winters. We have the small children (age 2, 4, and 6) and love the thought of bringing them up there. I am currently a chef instructor and the chef for a non proffit community garden program and my husband works in the heating and air condioning field. Do you think it would be difficult to find jobs in our field, and in a location with a good school system? Thanks :)

    • brittanytodd profile image
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      Brittany Kennedy 3 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      I am renting a 3/2 for 1100 per month in a low crime area right on the main beach strip. Prices do vary based on location, though. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Jimmy Tally 3 years ago

      Wow!!!

      This is really interesting. Are the rental properties very expensive?

      Ex: 3 bed 2 bath in a nice low/no crime area, under $1000 month?

    • brittanytodd profile image
      Author

      Brittany Kennedy 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      I grew up on the Big Island where we have great schools! Private schools are smaller and the kids get more attention. I went to Parker when it was just a high school, but now it is K-12 and is a great school in waimea/kamuela area. Another great one is Kona Christian Academy and that is located in Halualoa, a town resting on the mountain above Kona, which is a beautiful, sunny town. I would suggest those places. Thank you so much for commenting! I'm glad this could help you and feel free to ask me any more questions you have. You can also email me at alohabrittany@gmail.com. Have a great day!

    • profile image

      oceanolson 5 years ago

      Great information! My husband and I are strongly thinking of moving to Hawaii in a year. I have been doing lots of research, but, with the overload of info. on the internet it can be overwhelming. We are looking for areas with other families (we have a 4 yr. old son), with some space for growing food, and safe/good public schools. Any suggestions where I could narrow my search? Thanks

    • brittanytodd profile image
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      Brittany Kennedy 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Amy, you can also email me if you have any problems via the contact button on my profile. Have a great trip!

    • profile image

      Amy 5 years ago

      Thanks! We're heading to Kona in a couple of weeks and plan to explore different areas of the island. I will probably have questions when we return. Thanks for being so open!

    • brittanytodd profile image
      Author

      Brittany Kennedy 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Yes! Actually, Hawaii has a very low unemployment rate compared to the rest of the US. I grew up on the Big Island and had a great childhood. Hawaii needs more teachers, so if you are qualified, that is a great opportunity. Feel free to ask me anymore questions. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Amy 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great info! My husband and I want to raise our kids on the Big Island but we've been hesitating because of employment. Are there good opportunities for people who aren't local?

    • Jaspals profile image

      Jaspal Singh 5 years ago from India / Australia

      Beautiful Pics as well very informative hub.

    • brittanytodd profile image
      Author

      Brittany Kennedy 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Thank you all so much for your comments! Hawaii is a beautiful place and I am glad to have been raised there. It's a perfect place for others to raise kids. Thank you so much again for everything!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm sold... though it doesn't take much to get me excited about doing ANYTHING in Hawaii :D

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      It would be an amazing childhood to grow up in Hawaii. Parents thinking about moving there will really find this Hub useful. You covered it all!

    • mattforte profile image

      Steven Pearson 5 years ago from Spanaway, WA

      I love Hawaii and I've never even been there! :(

    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I agree, the Big Island is a great place to raise kids. My kids have grown up in tune with nature, safe and sound in a friendly neighborhood where everyone watches out for each other, with an Eden of fruit trees in the backyard. Great idea for a hub - voted up!