Cities With the Highest Cost of Living in the U.S.

Evelyn Long

Feb 25, 2023


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Cities With the Highest Cost of Living in the U.S.

The cost of living can vary by state, but did you know cities can affect this number too? Places with higher populations are notoriously expensive, likely because they have tons of convenient amenities landlords can charge big bucks for. Additionally, construction there is often more pricey and you may be paying extra for transportation. But what are the cities with the highest cost of living in the U.S.?

No matter which state you live in, one area is going to be much more costly than the others. Here are some of the cities with the highest cost of living in the U.S.

1. San Francisco, CA

As of 2021, sunny San Francisco ranked at the top of the list of expensive places to live. The prices there are almost 18% higher than elsewhere in the country, while apartments cost 107.4% more. When gas prices hit an all-time high in 2022, they nearly rose to $6 a gallon in San Francisco. If you have big California dreams but need to live on a budget, this city may be an option to think carefully about.

2. New York City, NY

It may come as no surprise that the Big Apple is second only to San Francisco in terms of how expensive it is to live there. If you rent an apartment, you can expect to pay around $3,000 a month — or about 82% of the average American salary. Even the cheapest apartment will often run you over $1,500. Many of the city’s own residents can’t afford the incredibly high rent, let alone own property. NYC life may be your dream, but prepare for its cost.

3. Seattle, WA

A drive up from California, the city of Seattle also has a high place among the most expensive cities. The price of apartments rose 16% in 2021 compared to 2020, making most one-bedroom apartments cost about $2,600 per month. Two-bedroom dwellings rose a shocking 39%, now costing nearly $4,000 a month in rent. Restaurant prices are also around 30% higher than the rest of the country. While Seattle is a beautiful city, it is definitely an expensive one.

4. Boston, MA

You may recognize Boston for its excellent schools and incredible history, but all of that comes with some rather lofty prices. Boston ranks among the cities with the highest cost of living in the U.S. because the average rent for apartments is around $2,450. You can expect to pay just $50 less if you buy a house instead. Parking around the city can also cost $600 per month. The price may be a bit too much if you’re not making about $72,000 a year.

5. Washington, D.C.

Yes, the nation’s capital is one of the most expensive places you can live. Health insurance costs there are the highest in the country, while groceries can be astronomical for seemingly no reason. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment will run you about the same as Boston and — naturally — the prices only get higher the more bedrooms there are. Additionally, restaurants there are often more expensive than the nearby Baltimore because of taxes. Washington, D.C. is a pretty pricey place to live if you’re working with lower budgets.

Living in the Cities With the Highest Cost of Living in the U.S.

These are just a few big cities that are some of the most pricey in the country. While one of these locations may be your dream place to live, it may be better to find nearby options or save a good amount of money before packing up to move there. While the cities with the highest cost of living in the U.S. are often desirable, they are also incredibly expensive.

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