Participation vital, needed in Hawaii COLA survey
Hawaii’s Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) Living Pattern Survey (LPS)
for all Active Duty Service Members will run from 8 February 2022 through 15
March 2022. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

CAMP SMITH, Hawaii --Hawaii’s Cost of Living Allowance, or COLA, Living Pattern Survey for all active duty service members is now open.

The survey, which is conducted every three years, is an integral part of determining the amount of COLA that active duty service members receive in Hawaii.

The survey ends March 15 and service members stationed on Oahu can take the survey online at Service members stationed on Hawaii Island can take the survey online at

This year the Directorate of Military Compensation Policy also emailed surveys directly to service members.

Results directly impact determining the basis for COLA rates in Hawaii.

Overseas COLA is intended to equalize purchasing power to ensure members can purchase a similar level of goods and services overseas as they could if they were stationed in Contiguous United States (CONUS).

Overseas COLA is calculated by comparing the prices of goods and services overseas with average prices for equivalent goods and services in CONUS.

The result of this price comparison is an index that reflects a cost of living. Members will only receive a COLA if the costs are higher at an overseas location than average CONUS. If prices in CONUS are rising at a greater rate than those overseas, a member’s

Overseas COLA will decrease, and vice versa. However, if prices fluctuate at the same rate, a member’s Overseas COLA will stay the same.

Two surveys determine the relative cost of living overseas compared with CONUS:

  • Living Pattern Survey - asks service members where (what outlets) they shop and what percentage of goods they purchase locally, at the Commissary/Exchange, and via online retailers/mail-order shopping. Service members can have a direct impact on Overseas COLA indexes by participating in the Living Pattern Survey every 3 years.
  • Retail Price Schedule (or Market Basket Survey) - annually captures prices for nearly 120 goods and services based on outlets identified in the most recent Living Pattern Survey.

The survey takes approximately 30 minutes and can be taken by any service member (married or single) who has been assigned to duty in the State of Hawaii as their permanent duty station for at least 3 months.

Service members are encouraged to work together with the primary shoppers in their family to complete the survey.