The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is surveying Hawaii residents this month to gather data on how much it costs to live in Hawaii.

“It’s been a decade since we have had reliable information on consumer spending patterns,” said Richard Lim, the agency’s director, in a press release. Lim said the results of the survey will help shed light on issues like what kind of income is necessary to survive in Hawaii.

Hawaii consistently ranks as one of the most expensive states in the nation because of the high cost of housing, goods and services. The median home price hit a record $700,000 this year and child care can cost as much as college. At the same time, the median wage of the most widespread job in Hawaii is just $10.92 per hour.

Money wad

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But information on the cost of living derived directly from local consumers is outdated. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics used to collect consumer expenditure data but hasn’t since 2005, said state economist Eugene Tian.

The state’s new confidential survey, designed and conducted by SMS Research, asks questions about how much households spent in 2013 on categories like food, transportation, housing and health care.

“Participation from each randomly selected household is essential to the project’s success,” Tian said. “If your household receives the questionnaire, DBEDT asks that you please take time to fill it completely with your best estimates.”

To learn more about Hawaii’s cost of living, check out Civil Beat’s series, Living Hawaii, which explores the factors driving up prices in the Aloha State.

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