25 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the US

·9 min read

In this article we take a look at the 25 most expensive cities to live in the US. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 most expensive cities to live in the US.

I come from a country which has the cheapest cost of living in the world. That doesn't mean that everyone can afford everything. In fact, 24.3% of the population in Pakistan lives below the national poverty. Cost of living has to be relative to earnings, and earnings themselves are quite low for most people. Of course, if you're someone visiting from abroad, you can have the time of your life without even having to spend a lot.

On the other hand, the US has a much higher cost of living in the world, which is why it is near the top in the 16 countries with the highest cost of living. In the US, 11.8% were below the poverty line in the country, though the good thing is, that this number has been steadily falling for a few years. On the other hand, so is the cost of living. Unlike European countries which have socialized healthcare and support those who are unemployed, which is generally not true in the US. The US cost of living has risen by over 14% in just the past three years. Meanwhile, housing costs have increased 21% in the same time while rent has climbed at least 7.6%. Because of these increases, more and more Americans are unable to afford basic necessities and struggle from paycheck to paycheck.

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Top 25 Richest Safest Fastest Growing Cities in America with High Paying Jobs


I am sure most of the readers have heard the older generation, or as they're now more popularly known, the Boomers, talking about how the current generation is lazy and entitled who want everything handed to them on a silver platter. What they don't consider is the fact that the cost of living and inflation has increased significantly since their time, while salaries have not, leaving the current generation in a fix where even multiple jobs cannot allow them to buy a mortgaged property, or even a decent car. In 1940, the adjusted for inflation price for a median home would be $30,600 in 2000 dollars. Can you even imagine purchasing any sort of property whatsoever for that price today? It seems impossible. Now, the average or typical homebuyer is generally around 44, whereas earlier, they'd be around the age of 25-34. Rent has risen four times the rate of inflation, so having a roof over your head counts as luxury too.

It's not just home ownership or renting a property of course. In 1971, studying at Harvard cost $2,600. Now, including boarding and expenses it costs $60,000 annually. This increase of 1,550 percent is not justified by any inflation rate or rising interest rates. After all, there's a reason why American students owe more than $1.4 trillion just to obtain a decent education and then spend the rest of their lives trying to pay off the loans along with interest. Often, after several payments, due to interest, the total payable amount actually increases rather than decreases. Previously having a minimum wage job itself allowed a normal living lifestyle, covering basic necessities. Nowadays, anyone working on minimum wage has to take at least two jobs to be able to support themselves.

There is no doubt that the cost of living is increasing in the US and it is becoming more unaffordable for many citizens every passing day. And this is only going to increase further thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which has already taken over a million lives with over 32 million cases. The pandemic has meant that the country had to go into lockdown and saw over 40 million people file for unemployment, people who were to receive a paltry monthly $1,200 check from the government and expected to live off it. And even these have been now reduced to $600. No one in any state can survive of just $600 in a country with such a high cost of living. Many small businesses have suffered significant losses, while others have permanently gone under, and it will take a long time to truly assess the damage the pandemic has caused, which currently shows no signs of abating. After all, Trump's legacy and tactic to ensure reelection was based on showing incredibly low unemployment figures during his presidency. That strategy is now in tatters as the US continues heading towards the unknown, having lost more than 300,000 people in the pandemic already, with over 16 million infections.

To determine our ranking of the most expensive cities in the US, we only considered the big cities i.e. those with a population of at least 200,000 people or more. We then checked the cost of living index for each city using both Numbeo and Expatistan, giving 70% weightage to Numbeo's rankings since they were based on mid 2020 data. Based on these calculations, we were able to arrive at our list of most expensive cities in the US, free of any biases which may otherwise have been present. These cities also host some of the biggest companies in the world which turn has an impact on the cost of living as well, and these companies include Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). So let's take a look where it can cost an arm and a leg to live in, starting with number 25:

25. Birmingham, Alabama

The city was founded in 1871, and is named for Birmingham City in the UK, thus confusing a lot of people. It was a main industrial center for the US in the early 1900s, and is now one of the largest banking centers in the country as well.

Pixabay / Public Domain

24. Atlanta city, Georgia

Atlanta is the main cultural and economic center in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where more than 6 million people reside. It has a GDP which is among the top 20 in the entire world, and 10th largest in the US.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

23. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is one of the most expensive cities in Florida to live in, though the accolade for most expensive city in Florida has been taken by another city, which I'm sure you can guess. Utilities are the primary reason why the cost of living is so high in the city, as their cost is 16% higher than the national average.

Pixabay / Public Domain

22. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is often said to be one of the quirkiest places to visit in the US, especially due to its vibrant culture and nightlife. While utility costs are lower than the national average, housing expenses are slightly higher and housing expenses do make up the bulk of a person's total expenses.

Pixabay / Public Domain

21. Milwaukee city, Wisconsin

While not as expensive as some of the other biggest cities in the country, you still need a decent salary to be able to afford a high standard of living in the city.

Pixabay/Public Domain

20. Cleveland city, Ohio

Cleveland has over close to 400,000 residents and is one of the biggest cities in Ohio, and is also popularly known as the 'Forest city'. It is also home to one of America's best hospitals in the Cleveland Clinic, which alone provides employment to over 50,000 people.

Pixabay / Public Domain

19. Sacramento city, California

The capital of California also has the sixth highest population there, and is also among the fastest growing cities there. It is known as the financial hub of the West Coast, and one of the more famous tourist places in California as well.

Pixabay/Public domain

18. San Diego, California

San Diego is the second biggest city in California by population and eighth largest in the US. The extensive beaches and mild climate throughout the years are two of the defining characteristics of the city, and also some of the reasons why many people want to reside there, with a population of over 1.4 million people.

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Most Ethnically Diverse Cities in America

Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

17. San Jose, California

The cultural and financial center of the famous Silicon Valley, home to some of the biggest companies in the US and the world, San Jose has a population of over 1 million people and is known for its extremely high cost of living. It has the most expensive housing in the entire country.

Pixabay / Public Domain

16. Irvine, California

One of the newest cities in our list, Irvine is also located in California, which has several entries on our list, making it one of the states with the highest cost of living.

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

15. Pittsburgh city, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is famous for hosting hundreds of steel making businesses, but once the industries declined, thousands of people were laid off and people started leaving the city. Just 30 years ago, the population of the city was twice that of today, at just 300,000 people.

best medical schools in 2014
best medical schools in 2014

Pixabay/Public Domain

14. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The biggest city in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia with nearly 1.6 million people living there. Five Fortune 100 companies have headquarters in the city, making it a premium place to live and work in.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

13. Minneapolis, Minnesota

The largest city in Minnesota and the most populous as well, Minneapolis has over 400,000 people and is famous for its abundance of water with creeks and lakes and the Mississippi River all present in the city. It also has one of the highest concentrations of LGBT in the country, making it one of the most open minded cities in the US.

Pixabay / Public Domain

12. Portland, Oregon

The largest city of Oregon is Portland and is said to have one of the best public transport systems in the country. It is also known as the City of Roses, as it has the ideal climate for growing and cultivating roses.

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Cities with the Most Unfaithful Wives

Josemaria Toscano/Shutterstock.com

11. Los Angeles, California

I personally thought that Los Angeles would be a lot higher than it is in the list of most expensive to live in the US, but the truth can be surprising sometimes. The city has a GDP of $1 trillion, higher than any other city in the world except for New York and Tokyo.

Please continue to see the 5 most expensive cities to live in the US. Suggest articles:

Disclosure: None. 25 most expensive cities to live in the US is originally published at Insider Monkey.