Cities are home to the great majority of Americans (84%) who reside in them. Better jobs, academic possibilities, culture and media, and the hope of a new lifestyle naturally attract more people to big cities, driving up the cost of living.

Some of these places have been high-priced for years, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Honolulu, while others are relative newbies to the list of the most costly cities to live in. As average incomes in IT businesses rise, housing in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area cities of Oakland and San Jose has become more costly. Because of its health and quality of life and accessibility to Los Angeles, San Diego has grown in popularity.

The most costly cities in America have living costs that are 40 to 80 percent higher than the national average. Housing costs (represented as home prices and rent), as well as the cost of other commodities and services such as food, utilities, health care, and transportation all, contribute to the cost of living.

As long as salaries exceed the cost of living, a city can be both expensive and inexpensive. When salary is compared to the cost of living, Oakland and Seattle are the cheapest of the pricey cities. The most expensive cities are Honolulu and San Diego.

About our information

The following list of the most costly cities in the U.s. is based on 2019 economic figures from the U.s. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a variety of cost of living calculators, such as those from Numbeo, the Council for Regional and Economic Analysis, and MIT.

Although median household income is commonly stated, the figures in this guide are based on average individual pay to make it easy to compare to your personal salary.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities In The Us

1. New York City, New York City,

New York City

As the most costly city in the United States, New York City leads the pack. The metropolis, which has a population of almost 8.4 million people, also ranks first on lists of the most expensive cities in the world. Manhattan has a cost of living that is 154 percent higher than the national average.

The median price of a home in New York is around $662,535, compared to a national median of $293,349.34. Home values in Manhattan easily reach $1 million. From food to public transit, everything is more expensive in New York City.

The city’s unemployment level was 11.6 percent in December 2020, marginally lower than the previous month.

Against an overall unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, this is a significant difference. Perhaps this is more evidence that if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere.

2. San Francisco, California

Every day, people choose to leave San Francisco because of the city’s exorbitantly high cost of living and out-of-reach housing prices, which have been known to bankrupt many a family. The city’s principal businesses include tourism, information technology, and financial services, and median property prices are above $1.4 million.

To make ends meet, a family of four would require $111,136 in household income.

Unemployment, on the other hand, is at 7.0 percent as of December 2020, up dramatically from last year due to harsh economic conditions during the epidemic.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

Citizens of Honolulu pay a lot of money for almost everything. Groceries are 70.9 percent more expensive than the national average, while utilities are 102.2 percent more expensive. However, compensation does not come in the form of a raise in wages. Honolulu’s typical household income is $85,857. This is more than the national median of $62,843 but still falls well short of San Francisco’s $112,449 median income.

Get ready to pay extra for everyday products if you plan to live in Honolulu. In Honolulu, a dozen eggs that cost $1.24 in Iowa cost $2.58. As of December 2020, Honolulu’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ grocery and healthcare costs are significantly higher than the national average, with healthcare costs exceeding the national average by 25.9% and food costs above the national average by roughly 15.7 percent. Boston is one of the nation’s top tourist attractions, with a thriving higher education environment, a flourishing tech economy that rivals Silicon Valley, and historic monuments dating back to the 13 original colonies.

All of this adds up to a 6.8% unemployment rate in Boston and the nearby region by December 2020, yet city residents pay a high price to live there. The median home value is $685,000, while the average household income is $71,115. To ends meet, a family of four requires $76,034 in income.

5. Washington, D.C.

The high expense of living in Washington, D.C. is due to its status as the capital of the world’s most powerful nation. Several federal agencies think tanks, lobbying firms, and thriving tourism industry all contribute to the city’s abundance of state and private jobs.

The District’s median home value is around $692,000, and the median family income is around $86,420.2021 In Washington, D.C., a family of four requires $79,696 in funds to make ends meet, similar to Boston.

6. Oakland, California

Living in Oakland may be less expensive than living in San Francisco because it is located on the opposite side of the Bay Bridge, but it is still more expensive than most cities in the United States. The median property price in the area is $938,733, with rent exceeding $3,000 per month. This is over twice the national average of $1,600 in rent.

7. San Jose, California

San Jose, which is within commuting distance of both San Francisco and Oakland, offers no relief from the Bay Area’s exorbitant pricing. Everything in San Jose is pricey because of Silicon Valley, including median house values that exceed $1 million.

The average household income is about $109,500. The city’s various tech industry businesses contribute to a lower-than-average unemployment rate of 6% in December 2020 for San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara.

8. San Diego, California

California’s southern city is one of the most expensive in the country, thanks to a significant defense department presence and military contracting corporations like Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

Residents of this 1.4 million-strong metropolis have a typical family income of $79,600, allowing them to indulge in pleasures such as high-end restaurants, yacht clubs, and other high-end kinds of entertainment. The median home price in the area is $829,062. As of December 2020, the jobless rate in San Diego and the surrounding region was 8%, slightly higher than the national average.

9. Los Angeles, California


Although Los Angeles conjures up images of wealthy, gorgeous movie stars, the film business plays just a little role in the city’s burgeoning economy. The city’s shipping industry is extremely important, as the Port of Los Angeles is one of the ’s largest ports. The city’s high cost of living is fueled by a thriving industrial sector and a thriving startup scene. Housing costs rise in certain ZIP codes, such as the much-hyped 90210.

Los Angeles’ median home value is $882,150. The median household income in the city is roughly $62,100 dollars. To make ends meet in Los Angeles, a family of four would need a salary of $87,239 per year. In comparison to the national average of 10.5 percent, almost 18 percent of the city’s people live in poverty.

10. Miami, Florida

Miami is the only city in the southern United States to make the top ten most expensive cities list. Miami’s high cost of living is due to a large population of rich foreigners, the presence of several international monetary funds, and the world’s busiest cruise ship port. The average household income in Miami Beach is around $53,900, while the rate of unemployment is above the national median at 7.9% as of December 2020.

In this elegant metropolis brimming with freshly erected residential and commercial structures, a family of four would require an income of $71,500 to make ends meet.

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