Improving Our Quality of Life

I think most of Hawaii’s people feel ambivalent when they hear that their home is the best place to live in America. We feel proud and probably agree that Hawaii ranks No. 1 in quality of life, but we also know the Islands too well to be smug. We see both the good and the bad up close and real, not like a picture postcard or during a two-week vacation.

Yes, we have the longest lifespan in the nation, but we also have the highest cost of living and housing. We treasure the land and the aloha spirit with all our souls, but we trample them far too often. Some of us in Hawaii have a fabulous quality of life, but many are left far behind.

This 62-page report on Hawaii’s Quality of Life examines the sunny and dark sides of paradise, and the many shades in between. We tell stories, show pictures, provide numbers and offer something innovative – systems maps – to explain the good and bad of Hawaii. The more we understand Hawaii and its people, the bet- ter equipped we are to improve our overall quality of life.

This report tells us what we’re doing right – so, stay on track and strive to be even better in those areas – and what we need to fix. We also offer ways to move forward, while recognizing that further conversation is needed on everything in these pages.

If we keep working at improving our home for everyone, there may come a glorious day when some outsider declares that Hawaii has the best Quality of Life in the world, and we can respond without am- bivalence or irony, “Yes, you are absolutely right!”

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