10 Most Expensive Cities In The United States

This post is focused on the top most expensive cities in the united states and the reason why they are expensive. People moving to other cities has been a norm since time immemorial, either for business, to accept a new job, or simply because they want a change of environment.

It could even happen that a family just wants to take a long vacation in a famous and busy American metropolis. If you identify with any of the above reasons, congratulations! We have rounded up the most expensive cities in the United States.

This shortlist will help you understand how much it costs to live in one of its neighborhoods and how beneficial it would be for you to move or spend a long time away from home.

Of course, we already know that you will not be surprised to see several California cities dominating the list, but perhaps the other options will surprise you. Let’s check them out!

The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the United States

1. New York, New York State

The city of New York is crowned as the most expensive to live in the United States, with a population of about 8.4 million people.

Let’s talk about the cost of living. In Manhattan, the cost of living is 154% higher than the national average. The approximate value of homes in the five boroughs of New York is approximately $652,700, a surprising figure when compared to the national average, which is just $245,000.

Of course, this median property value doesn’t extend to the upscale Manhattan neighborhood. In fact, a home there easily exceeds a million dollars.

There’s no denying that everything is costly in America’s most expensive city, from groceries to public transportation.

Due to its characteristics, many think that, if you are able to live in New York, you can do it anywhere in the world. Ney York is also rated as one of the most expensive cities to live in on the planet alongside Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Singapore.

2. San Francisco, California

Many people make the decision to move to San Francisco. In fact, this happens practically on a daily basis. However, the city’s high cost of living and home prices – sometimes far beyond the reach of the average American family – have ruined many of them, leaving their savings account to zero. 

To give you an idea, median home prices in San Francisco are close to $1,400,000. A family of four would need at least $103,200 in annual income just to make ends meet.

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Perhaps as major industries in the city include tourism, technological services, and financial services -something that offers well-paid jobs, the unemployment remains at a low rate. San Francisco employers offer highly favorable working conditions, as well as the amount of the paycheck.

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3. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu residents pay a lot of money for almost everything. Grocery stores are almost 65% more expensive than reported on the national average, while the prices of other products are usually 72.5% more.

However, the pay is not very high, at least not enough to offset the cost of living in Honolulu. For example, the median household income in Honolulu is $82,900. This amount is above the national average ($60,300), but well below the San Francisco average ($104,500).

If you are thinking of living in Honolulu, you will have to get used to paying more for everyday items. A dozen eggs that cost $1.40 in Iowa sell for $2.58 in Honolulu.

Regarding unemployment, Honolulu enjoys a low rate that stands at 2.6%, which means that many families obtain income without problems on this paradise island, despite the fact that the salaries are not so high as to enjoy 100% of what it has to offer.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Food and health care cost a lot of money in Massachusetts, exceeding the nation’s average cost by 22% for health services and 14% for groceries and food. But let’s dig a little deeper into the numbers and see why Boston is rated as one of the most expensive cities in the United States.

Boston enjoys a strong educational environment, especially in higher education. In fact, it could be argued that it has a technological development that rivals Silicon Valley.

In terms of tourism, Boston is one of the most visited cities, mainly for its historical sites that date back to the original 13 colonies of the country. All this adds up to a low unemployment rate. But sadly all these advantages do not reduce the fact that city residents have to shell out large sums of money to live with all their needs covered in Boston.

The median home value in this Massachusetts city is around $632,000, but note that the median household income is only roughly $65,900. That means that an average family of four would need at least an annual income of $84,905 to make ends meet.

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5. Washington, DC

Standing as the seat of the most powerful nation in the world has its costs and, in the case of Washington DC, this is reflected precisely in the cost of living. 

As well-paid jobs abound in this city – whether in the federal government or in the private sector – the value of the real estate and products exceeds the national average. For example, a home in Washington DC costs approximately $636,000, while the median household income stands at $82,600.

As in Boston, a family of four in Washington DC would need about $75,100 a year to make ends meet.

Note: The largest employer in Washington DC is the government and federal agencies. Next on the list are lobbying companies, the tourism sector, and educational centers.

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6. Oakland, California

Many think that since Oakland is located at the opposite end of the Bay Bridge, it is a cheaper alternative to live, at least when compared to San Francisco, and they are not wrong! However, the savings are not that significant either because Oakland is ranked number six on this list.

Median home prices in Oakland reach $765,400, while rent hovers around $3,000 a month. This is almost double the national average for rent! ($ 1,600).

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7. San Jose, California

Anyone wishing to escape the high prices that are handled in the Bay Area will find a little despite in San Jose, a place located very close to San Francisco and Oakland. Silicon Valley’s presence in San Jose makes everything much more expensive, including median home prices that can easily exceed a million dollars.

The median annual income for a family in San José is around $104,200. Of course – and as expected in the cradle of the technology industry, the unemployment rate remains low (2.2%).

8. San Diego, California

The strong presence of the Department of Defense and several military contracting firms in San Diego such as Northrop Grumman Corporation and Science Applications International Corporation – make this city one of the most expensive in the United States.

San Diego residents are roughly 1.4 million people that enjoy a median household income of $75,500, giving them the opportunity to indulge in certain luxuries, such as dining at high-end restaurants, visiting yacht clubs, or having a blast.

Looking at the numbers, the median home value in San Diego is $652,200, while the unemployment rate is 2.8%, pretty close to the national average.

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9. Los Angeles, California

Saying “Los Angeles” leads us to imagine red carpet stars, glamorous venues, and big movie studios. However, this industry hardly plays a small role in the city’s economy. Well, you will be amazed to know that most of the income in Los Angeles is obtained through the port and maritime trade, in addition to the manufacturing sector.

Certain zip codes, like 90210, are so popular that they boast the most expensive homes in the state. The median home value in Los Angeles is $723,800, as you can see, quite high. However, the median household income is only $58,400.

A family of four in Los Angeles would need $85,155 per year to live peacefully, but this is not the case in all cases. To give you an idea, 19.1% of city residents live below the poverty line, compared to 11.8% nationally.

10. Miami, Florida

Miami is the only city in the southern United States that is rated as one of the most expensive in the country. Its territory is full of wealthy foreigners, numerous international financial institutions, and ports of departure for the most famous cruise ships in the world. This is what gives Miami the number ten spot on the list.

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The median household income for Miami Beach is approximately $53,300. On the other hand, the unemployment rate is lower than the national average (1.8%). A family of four would need $70,800 a year to live in this elegant city and, at the same time, cover their basic needs without problems.


The different cities of the country offer a great variety of opportunities. Normally, they are full of well-paid jobs, but also countless cultural centers, places of attraction, entertainment, gastronomy, and sports establishments, among others.

Due to the attractiveness of these large metropolises, it is normal that their cost of living rises above the general averages that are managed in the United States, thus becoming the most expensive to live in the country and, sometimes, in the world.

Among the 10 most expensive cities in the United States, New York ranks first, followed by San Francisco. However, this is not related to the world rankings where the Big Apple is only ranked number nine.

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