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Most expensive places to live in America

  • Most expensive cities in America

    While the unemployment picture is the best it has been in several decades and wage growth is at a 10-year high, Americans are worse off than they were just a year ago. Per GOBankingRates' analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, the cost of living—the total cost for used goods and services per capita, including housing, food, medical care, transportation, clothing, and energy—has risen 14% over the past three years.

    In some cities, the realities of the data can be startling. In San Francisco, for example, GoBankingRates calculated the cost to live comfortably in the city at $123,268 in 2018; the median household income in San Francisco was $87,101. For New York City, the cost to live comfortably was $99,667 against a median income of $55,191. In Miami, the gap was $53,459.

    The numbers reflect both low wages and steadily increasing costs for necessities, such as rent, food, and gas. A higher cost of living means that there is less money for savings, to pay down debt, or for non-essential expenses. For a significant part of the public, many are living below their needs and may deny themselves the food, health care, or other essential goods needed for a healthy quality of life.

    Stacker looked at data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to determine which American cities have the highest cost of living. For this analysis, we checked the regional average costs of goods and services compared with the national average. By comparing regional price parities, we did not have to consider outside factors, such as the regional median household income.

    This analysis draws upon data from the BEA's most recent data set, which covers 2017's regional price parities. In the case of a tie, we ranked the regions in order of the region's rent-price parities.

    Read on to learn such facts as which region is seven times larger than New York City, but only has 5% of the population.

    You may also like: American cities that have grown the most since 1950

  • #50. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 1.7% above the national average
    - Goods: 4.7% below the national average
    - Rents: 4.3% above the national average
    - Other services: 7.7% above the national average

    Texas is the second-most-in-demand state to move to after Florida. With the job market in Houston exploding, the city has become a hot spot. The fact is tempered, however, by the region's extreme weather. This has led to a city that has higher rents and a higher cost of living than some Texas cities, such as Austin, but not as high as Dallas.

  • #49. Ann Arbor, MI

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 1.7% above the national average
    - Goods: 1.3% below the national average
    - Rents: 14.2% above the national average
    - Other services: 1.5% below the national average

    Michigan is generally not known for a high cost of living. However, Ann Arbor's high rent is driven by the University of Michigan. With over 44,000 students, UM makes up a large share of the city's about 121,000 residents, making housing competitive between locals and students seeking to live off campus. A flourishing job market is also helping the city's growth.

  • #48. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 1.7% above the national average
    - Goods: 1.9% below the national average
    - Rents: 27.1% above the national average
    - Other services: 6.5% below the national average

    Naples is a popular spot for snowbirds or northern-based residents who opt to spend their winters in warmer climates. There are as many snowbirds in the region as full-time residents. Some of those living in the Naples area include celebrities like Bob Seger, Larry Bird, and Buzz Aldrin, making the area a hip location for the affluent.

  • #47. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 1.8% above the national average
    - Goods: 1.7% below the national average
    - Rents: 8.5% above the national average
    - Other services: 2.1% above the national average

    Hartford's proximity to New York City makes the historical city an attractive choice for those in the New York metropolitan area seeking cheaper rents. Cheaper, however, does not mean cheap, as Hartford has one of the higher costs of living of any New England metropolitan area. The area's high concentration of insurance and financial services firms also serves to attract affluent residents, despite a higher-than-average unemployment rate.

  • #46. Norwich-New London, CT

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 1.8% above the national average
    - Goods: 1.9% below the national average
    - Rents: 9% above the national average
    - Other services: 1.8% above the national average

    Like Hartford, Norwich and New London benefit from being in the New York metropolitan area. It may attract commuters to the cities' historic charms and comparatively low cost of living. Proximity to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy also helps, despite an unemployment rate above the national average.

  • #45. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 2% above the national average
    - Goods: 0.7% above the national average
    - Rents: 4.9% below the national average
    - Other services: 8.2% above the national average

    Atlantic City was once the Boardwalk Capital of the United States and a city so notable that the American version of the board game Monopoly features its streets. However, the collapse of many of the city's casinos and the development of new casinos hoping to compete with legalized gambling in Connecticut and Las Vegas has led to high unemployment and a high crime rate. Despite this, the city remains a tourist destination, with food and services priced to take advantage of the influx.

  • #44. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 2% above the national average
    - Goods: 5% below the national average
    - Rents: 19.1% above the national average
    - Other services: 1.5% above the national average

    The state capital of California, Sacramento is within commuting distance of San Francisco. The city also offers a refuge for those seeking cheaper housing than what is available in the Bay Area. It is also helpful that the city is within driving range of Lake Tahoe, which is experiencing a tech-industry renaissance.

  • #43. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 2.2% above the national average
    - Goods: 4.5% above the national average
    - Rents: 10.4% above the national average
    - Other services: 4.1% below the national average

    The Minnesota metro region is suffering from an extreme housing shortage. Years of positive employment growth has made the Twin Cities an attractive place to live. This is coupled with the area's ethnic and cultural diversity and general livability. With a high concentration of Fortune 500 companies—including Target, 3M, Best Buy, and General Mills—experts expect employment growth to continue for the foreseeable future.

  • #42. Portland-South Portland, ME

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 2.3% above the national average
    - Goods: 1.6% below the national average
    - Rents: 10% above the national average
    - Other services: 2.2% above the national average

    While Maine is not known as an overtly cosmopolitan state, southern Maine is a part of the Boston metropolitan area and a popular retirement and second-home destination. As is common with many commuter areas, Portland offers cheaper rents and a slower pace of life for Boston workers.

  • #41. Fort Collins, CO

    Regional price parities:
    - All items: 2.3% above the national average
    - Goods: 5% below the national average
    - Rents: 20.6% above the national average
    - Other services: 1.5% above the national average

    Basically a suburb, Fort Collins offers Denver workers an escape from the city. With median home values more than $100,000 above the national average, Fort Collins is a city for the affluent. The city features some of the best schools and restaurants in the greater Denver metropolitan area.

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