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Most expensive places to live in America

Most expensive cities in America
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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
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#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
3/Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#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
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#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
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#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
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#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
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#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
8/Adonis Villanueva // Shutterstock

#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
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#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
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#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
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#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.

#40. State College, PA
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#40. State College, PA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 2.8% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% below the national average
- Rents: 13.2% above the national average
- Other services: 1.8% above the national average

As is typical for major university towns, State College is defined by its school. With Pennsylvania State University hosting as many students as the town has residents, all services—including rent—are in active competition. It is difficult to find work outside of Penn State or to find a rental property not in demand as student housing.

#39. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
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#39. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

Regional price parities:
- All items: 3.4% above the national average
- Goods: 0.7% below the national average
- Rents: 13.9% above the national average
- Other services: 2.3% above the national average

The third-largest city in the nation, Chicago is also the largest city in the Midwest, hosting one of the busiest airports in the world, Chicago O'Hare International Airport. While the cost of living varies by neighborhood, the high concentration of finance-sector businesses, and the presence of Boeing, United Continental, and the hubs of six of the nation's seven Class I railroads, reflects solid wealth and high-paying jobs in the city.

#38. Worcester, MA-CT
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#38. Worcester, MA-CT

Regional price parities:
- All items: 3.6% above the national average
- Goods: 1.7% above the national average
- Rents: 2.2% above the national average
- Other services: 6.4% above the national average

Worcester is a blue-collar city, but its proximity to Boston, Providence, and Hartford makes the city a popular bedroom community. Cheaper than Boston, the city is more expensive than comparably sized cities, based on median household income. The presence of Clark University and Worcester State University also contribute to raising the cost of living in the region.

#37. Kingston, NY
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#37. Kingston, NY

Regional price parities:
- All items: 3.8% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% below the national average
- Rents: 18.3% above the national average
- Other services: 1.8% above the national average

Two hours north of New York City, Kingston is known for some of its “former” designations. The former state capital, it was also the former home of an IBM campus. And it's a former sleepy town. Zoning and town planning have helped to turn the area into a flourishing arts community. A bedroom community for New York City, the region has managed to offer the city's creatives an opportunity to live in a rural, but vibrant area.

#36. Ocean City, NJ
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#36. Ocean City, NJ

Regional price parities:
- All items: 4.5% above the national average
- Goods: 0.7% above the national average
- Rents: 4.9% above the national average
- Other services: 8.2% above the national average

A suburb of Atlantic City, Ocean City is a sleeper community for Philadelphia. Without the reputation and urbanization issues of Atlantic City, Ocean City offers the same resort experience of its larger neighbor. The town, however, has an unemployment rate more than double the national average.

#35. Barnstable, MA
17/lyben24 // Shutterstock

#35. Barnstable, MA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 4.7% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% below the national average
- Rents: 23.1% above the national average
- Other services: 1.8% above the national average

The Town of Barnstable is the county seat of Barnstable County, which covers Cape Cod and the associated adjacent islands. Barnstead Township sits at the mouth of the cape, near the Cape Cod Canal. A heavy tourism spot, the region contains some of the most desirable real estate in New England. The cape is a sleeper community for Boston, with many of the city's affluent workers opting to live there.

#34. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
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#34. Burlington-South Burlington, VT

Regional price parities:
- All items: 5% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% below the national average
- Rents: 25.5% above the national average
- Other services: 1.8% above the national average

Burlington is another university town that is small compared with its on-campus population. The city's population is about 50,000, the largest city in Vermont. While proximity to the University of Vermont gives residents access to world-class health care and pollution is extremely low, competition for the city's resources can be fierce.

#33. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
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#33. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Regional price parities:
- All items: 5.4% above the national average
- Goods: 0.7% above the national average
- Rents: 9.6% above the national average
- Other services: 8.2% above the national average

The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia was the nation's first capital and the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. It is also the country's sixth-largest city and is home to 12 Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, and 10 of the nation's biggest law firms. With a large federal government presence and a significant higher education community—including Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania—Philadelphia's job market is among the most vibrant in Pennsylvania.

#32. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
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#32. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Regional price parities:
- All items: 6.3% above the national average
- Goods: 0.5% above the national average
- Rents: 33.4% above the national average
- Other services: 2% below the national average

Denver is the largest city in Colorado and in the eastern Rockies. The “Mile High City,” Denver is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. With over three million residents, Denver is struggling with infrastructure issues and finding appropriate housing for all seeking to move into this city that is increasingly attractive to younger residents.

#31. Fairbanks, AK
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#31. Fairbanks, AK

Regional price parities:
- All items: 6.9% above the national average
- Goods: 0.1% above the national average
- Rents: 46.8% above the national average
- Other services: 6.6% below the national average

Another college town, Fairbanks is the transportation hub for northern Alaska. The U.S military, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the Alaska Pipeline, and tourism all make the city essential to the region's well-being. With healthy job growth in the area, many people seeking to set up stakes in the state opt for Fairbanks, which has created a housing shortage for the relatively small frontier town.

#30. Ithaca, NY
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#30. Ithaca, NY

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% below the national average
- Rents: 34.3% above the national average
- Other services: 1.8% above the national average

The home of Ithaca College and Cornell University, Ithaca straddles multiple scenic gorges. On the shores of Cayuga Lake and about an hour from Syracuse, the region is the home of over 100 waterfalls. Highly walkable, the area has developed an alt-culture, hippie vibe. That the area has some of the best K-12 schools in the region is also a plus.

#29. Olympia-Tumwater, WA
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#29. Olympia-Tumwater, WA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.1% above the national average
- Goods: 7.3% above the national average
- Rents: 12.2% above the national average
- Other services: 3.9% above the national average

The capital of Washington State, Olympia offers the beauty of the Pacific Northwest without the sticker shock of housing prices in Seattle. With Washington State University, the Evergreen State College, and South Puget Sound Community College here, the city has to deal with many of the challenges small college towns typically have, including housing shortages. Despite this, Olympia is one of the five most-affordable cities in the state.

#28. Bremerton-Silverdale, WA
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#28. Bremerton-Silverdale, WA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.2% above the national average
- Goods: 7.3% above the national average
- Rents: 12.9% above the national average
- Other services: 3.9% above the national average

Speaking of Washington State, Bremerton—on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound region—is also in high demand. Traditionally a major seaport and shipbuilding area, the peninsula communities have suffered industry depression, but also revitalization and growth. Within commuting distance to Seattle, many workers in Seattle and Olympia live on the peninsula.

#27. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
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#27. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.2% above the national average
- Goods: 3.1% above the national average
- Rents: 14.7% above the national average
- Other services: 5.7% above the national average

Locals sometimes call Baltimore “Smalltimore” because of the city's small-town feel, despite having nearly three million residents. “Charm City” is a major seaport and a city with deep historical importance to the nation. The city is also home to major educational institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Baltimore is near Washington D.C., making it a choice location for federal government workers to live.

#26. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
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#26. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.2% above the national average
- Goods: 0.2% above the national average
- Rents: 17.8% above the national average
- Other services: 7.4% above the national average

Located east of Los Angeles in the so-called Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside are known for the University of California campus in Riverside and for an airport in Ontario that is an alternative to Los Angeles International Airport. Riverside and San Bernardino counties are collectively larger than nine U.S. states and are growing quickly, with several overseas companies and light manufacturing firms setting up shop in the region.

#25. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
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#25. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.3% above the national average
- Goods: 0.1% above the national average
- Rents: 42.3% above the national average
- Other services: 6.6% below the national average

Living in Hawaii differs from living in the contiguous 48 states. As overland transportation is impossible, goods have a higher transport cost, with items being out of stock a fact of life. However, with the state being a hot tourist destination, the influx of new residents is brisk. Since 2010, the area has seen population growth of 24.2%.

#24. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
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#24. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.4% above the national average
- Goods: 5% below the national average
- Rents: 49.2% above the national average
- Other services: 1.5% above the national average

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the San Luis Obispo area benefits from both cities. In the middle of California's farming region, the area is best known as being the heart of Central California's wine country. Besides having real estate that is in high demand for its tourism and agricultural value, San Luis Obispo is a bedroom community for both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

#23. Anchorage, AK
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#23. Anchorage, AK

Regional price parities:
- All items: 7.9% above the national average
- Goods: 2% above the national average
- Rents: 39.7% above the national average
- Other services: 1.5% below the national average

While Alaska is the largest state in the Union, most of its resident live in just a handful of cities. Almost half live in and around the biggest city, Anchorage. Fundamentally a mid-sized city of about 399,000 residents, the city is about 2,000 square miles—larger geographically than Rhode Island and nearly seven times larger than New York City. With consumer goods and building materials arriving by boat or airplane, prices trend above the national average.

#22. Manchester-Nashua, NH
30/Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#22. Manchester-Nashua, NH

Regional price parities:
- All items: 8.4% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% above the national average
- Rents: 23% above the national average
- Other services: 6.7% above the national average

The northern terminus of the Boston–Washington corridor, Manchester is part of the Northeast megalopolis, the largest megalopolis by population in the country. This is the most densely urbanized tract of land in the nation. Ranking high for small business growth and educational attainment, Manchester is northern New England's biggest city and within commuting distance of Boston.

#21. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
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#21. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

Regional price parities:
- All items: 8.4% above the national average
- Goods: 1.6% above the national average
- Rents: 30% above the national average
- Other services: 1.5% above the national average

The southernmost major city in the contiguous 48 states, Miami is known for its tropical weather, metropolitan tempo, and world-class beaches. Despite this, the bursting of the housing bubble hit Miami hard, with the region's housing prices diving below national averages during the heart of the Great Recession. Miami has, however, recovered, with housing prices slowly increasing. Gentrification of traditional low-income neighborhoods is also fueling the city's cost-of-living spike.

#20. Salinas, CA
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#20. Salinas, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 8.5% above the national average
- Goods: 5% below the national average
- Rents: 55.9% above the national average
- Other services: 1.5% above the national average

Salinas is a major farming community in Monterey County that may be best known for producing famed “Grapes of Wrath” author John Steinbeck. Among the nation's leading producer of grapes, flowers, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers, Salinas is an hour's drive from Silicon Valley. This makes the picturesque community an ideal sleeper town for the region's tech workers.

#19. Boulder, CO
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#19. Boulder, CO

Regional price parities:
- All items: 8.7% above the national average
- Goods: 0.5% above the national average
- Rents: 47.6% above the national average
- Other services: 1.9% below the national average

A suburb of Denver, Boulder is the home of the state's biggest university, the University of Colorado. It is also the home of many science institutes, including the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, the JILA formerly the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, the Geological Society of America, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth Science Research Laboratory. Growth management has led to a spike in housing costs, with prices growing by 60% from 2010 to 2015.

#18. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA
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#18. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 9.6% above the national average
- Goods: 5% below the national average
- Rents: 68.9% above the national average
- Other services: 1.5% above the national average

Santa Maria and Santa Barbara sit north of Los Angeles and the Santa Ynez Mountains are in Santa Barbara County. The area attracts substantial tourism and hosts several military installations and universities, including the University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and Allan Hancock College. The area is also one of California's largest wine-producing regions.

#17. New Haven-Milford, CT
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#17. New Haven-Milford, CT

Regional price parities:
- All items: 10.8% above the national average
- Goods: 7% above the national average
- Rents: 12.8% above the national average
- Other services: 13.1% above the national average

The home of Yale University, New Haven is popular with New York commuters seeking to embrace the city's seaport charm. While some elements, like transportation and health care, are more expensive than the national average, the cost of living in the city is consistent with the rest of the state. However, the proximity of Yale may be why there are housing shortages near and around the campus.

#16. Trenton, NJ
36/Henryk Sadura // Shutterstock

#16. Trenton, NJ

Regional price parities:
- All items: 11.6% above the national average
- Goods: 1.9% above the national average
- Rents: 20% above the national average
- Other services: 16.5% above the national average

Trenton has notable challenges. New Jersey's capital, the city has one of the lowest median household incomes, lowest educational attainment for adults who earned a bachelor's degree or better, and highest unemployment of any state capital. It also has one of the highest rates of poverty and lowest numbers of attractions and features. In the New York metropolitan area, the city is a commuter hub into NYC, which means fairly high housing prices.

#15. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
37/oakie // Unsplash

#15. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 11.8% above the national average
- Goods: 7.3% above the national average
- Rents: 38.5% above the national average
- Other services: 3.9% above the national average

Seattle is the home of many of the nation's largest corporations. Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer all are located in the greater Seattle area, and the region is popular with new job seekers and young professionals. The city has more people living in it than it can comfortably house, with over 45,000 individuals spending more than half of their incomes on housing and nearly 3,000 homeless.

#14. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
38/Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#14. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Regional price parities:
- All items: 11.8% above the national average
- Goods: 2.3% above the national average
- Rents: 40.8% above the national average
- Other services: 7.1% above the national average

The largest city in New England, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the nation and of significant importance to the nation's birth. Boston is the home of over 100 colleges and universities, including Boston College, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston University, and Brandeis University. Boston also has the 12th-largest city-based economy in the world, with the city attracting many biotechnology and life sciences firms, and several insurance groups.

#13. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
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#13. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 16.0% above the national average
- Goods: 1.4% below the national average
- Rents: 68% above the national average
- Other services: 7.1% above the national average

California's second-largest city, San Diego—along with its Mexican sister city, Tijuana—make ups the second-largest transnational megalopolis in the United States, following Detroit–Windsor, Ontario. The home of the University of California at San Diego, the city is a major center for biotechnology research. San Diego is also the home of the only major submarine and shipbuilding yards on the West Coast and the largest naval fleet in the world. It is estimated that over 15,000 businesses in San Diego depend on U.S. Department of Defense contracts.

#12. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
40/Chones // Shutterstock

#12. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 17.1% above the national average
- Goods: 4.4% above the national average
- Rents: 65.9% above the national average
- Other services: 6.3% above the national average

Besides being the movie-making capital of the world, Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest city and has one of the largest ports in North America. Including the 2020 Olympic Games, Los Angeles will have hosted the Olympics three times, making it only one of three cities to do so. The city boasts the third-largest metropolitan gross domestic product in the world, and is multi-faceted, with industries ranging from oil extraction and refinement to entertainment, aerospace, fashion, and finance. L.A. is the largest manufacturing hub in the western United States.

#11. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
41/Beihua Steven Guo // Shutterstock

#11. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 17.1% above the national average
- Goods: 0.2% above the national average
- Rents: 71.8% above the national average
- Other services: 7.4% above the national average

Located 60 miles west of Los Angeles, Oxnard is a major grower of strawberries and lima beans. The area is also one of the wealthiest regions in California. With two large oil fields lying underneath the region, which also has access to the only deep-water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the area boasts remarkable job growth in the fields of technology, petroleum, energy, and transportation.

#10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
42/Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Regional price parities:
- All items: 18.4% above the national average
- Goods: 5.3% above the national average
- Rents: 64.4% above the national average
- Other services: 9.8% above the national average

Washington D.C., is the nation's capital and the only city in the United States to exist outside of a state's control. As the hub of the federal government, the D.C. area is popular not only with government workers, but with lobbyist firms, international groups that need ready access to the capital, and financial and nonprofit-sector businesses. With D.C. itself only being about 61 square miles, most of the city's workers congregate in the counties surrounding the district, driving up housing prices throughout the entire metropolitan area.

#9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
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#9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

Regional price parities:
- All items: 19.1% above the national average
- Goods: 9.8% above the national average
- Rents: 44.6% above the national average
- Other services: 15.8% above the national average

Bridgeport does not have the best reputation. A highly diverse city, it has both crippling poverty and notable wealth. A loss of jobs has left the city struggling with high crime rates. Stamford, however, is the home of four Fortune 500 companies and nine Fortune 1000 companies—including Charter Communications, Indeed.com, WWE, NBC Sports Group, Gen RE, and Synchrony Financial—and the largest financial district in the New York metropolitan area outside of New York City.

#8. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
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#8. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 20% above the national average
- Goods: 12.2% above the national average
- Rents: 40.2% above the national average
- Other services: 13.5% above the national average

Vallejo is 30 miles north of San Francisco. Home to the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom theme park and the California Maritime Academy, Vallejo has the same housing problem as the rest of the Bay Area. Many of the Bay Area's tech workers commute to and from Vallejo, making the region an important bedroom community. Neighboring city Fairfield is also home to Travis Air Force Base and the headquarters of the Jelly Belly Candy Co.

#7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
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#7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 22.3% above the national average
- Goods: 9.4% above the national average
- Rents: 53.1% above the national average
- Other services: 17.7% above the national average

The biggest city in the United States and the second biggest in North America (following Mexico City), New York City is the financial heart of the country. With one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City is home of the largest foreign-born population in the world, the most billionaires in the world, and the most languages spoken in a single city. However, with a land mass of roughly 302 square miles, the city's 8.5 million residents are squeezed into a tight box, driving rents to be some of the highest in the nation.

#6. Santa Rosa, CA
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#6. Santa Rosa, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 23.5% above the national average
- Goods: 12.2% above the national average
- Rents: 57.5% above the national average
- Other services: 13.5% above the national average

A city in California's wine country, Santa Rosa is considered part of the San Francisco Bay Area. And like all communities in the Bay Area, Santa Rosa has been affected by the housing crisis in San Francisco, with housing pricing soaring and job growth slowing.

#5. Napa, CA
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#5. Napa, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 23.6% above the national average
- Goods: 12.2% above the national average
- Rents: 59.5% above the national average
- Other services: 13.5% above the national average

Another wine-country city, Napa is the economic and business hub of the Napa Valley. While technically not in the Bay Area, Napa Valley has become in demand as a place to live and the cost of housing is largely out of the reach for the average worker. The high influx of affluent residents and tourists makes everything in the area more expensive.

#4. Honolulu, HI
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#4. Honolulu, HI

Regional price parities:
- All items: 24.7% above the national average
- Goods: 15.6% above the national average
- Rents: 77.2% above the national average
- Other services: 6.1% above the national average

Like Kahului, Honolulu is a beautiful city set in the dead center of the Pacific Ocean. Since road connections with the rest of the country are impossible, all goods arrive by boat or airplane. Also, with the median home price above $500,000, the large number of renters has driven up rental prices to among the highest in the United States.

#3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
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#3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 27.6% above the national average
- Goods: 12.2% above the national average
- Rents: 78.8% above the national average
- Other services: 13.5% above the national average

On Monterey Bay—about 75 miles south of San Francisco—Santa Cruz is a commuter hub for San Francisco's more-affluent workers. The small city is also influenced by the University of California at Santa Cruz—making the housing situation more untenable. As a beach community, tourism plays heavily in the city's identity.

#2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
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#2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 28% above the national average
- Goods: 12.2% above the national average
- Rents: 95% above the national average
- Other services: 13.5% above the national average

San Francisco is the second-largest city in the Bay Area behind San Jose. Oddly enough, it is not the driver of the Bay Area's housing crunch. While San Francisco remains one of the West Coast's most important banking and financial centers—with Wells Fargo, over 30 international financial institutions, and six Fortune 500 companies all within the city's borders—San Francisco has been affected by San Jose's tech boom, exacerbating already challenging housing concerns.

#1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
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#1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Regional price parities:
- All items: 30.9% above the national average
- Goods: 11.9% above the national average
- Rents: 118.4% above the national average
- Other services: 13.1% above the national average

The city with the highest cost of living, San Jose is the center of “Silicon Valley,” the concentration of high-tech firms in the southern San Francisco Bay Area. Centered on research at Stanford University, the region hosts Apple, Google, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, Adobe, Netflix, Facebook, eBay, HP, Tesla, and Electronic Arts. This concentration of tech jobs has created a severe housing crisis, which has rippled through the entire Bay Area. Within the San Jose metropolitan area, it is virtually impossible for non-affluent workers to rent, leading to long commutes from far-flung communities like Sacramento.

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