15 of the Most Expensive American Cities to Live In

If you’re dreaming about packing up and moving to another state, do your homework and determine the cost of living first. Several factors contribute to a city’s costs, including housing, transportation and general living. Research shows that dense urban areas, which tend to be more expensive areas to reside in,  have more people moving out than moving in. 

A study determined that in 312 cities and towns nationwide, the typical home is worth $1 million or more. This is an increase of 45 cities from a year ago and in increase of 104 cities from five years ago. The study also concludes that 70% of the million-dollar cities are concentrated in nine coastal metros, primarily San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. The following is a complete list of 15 cities known for their high cost of living.

15. Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Although Minneapolis is in the Midwest, it faces a higher cost of living, especially housing. Thanks to the city’s diverse economy and cultural attractions, the population has rapidly increased, creating a huge demand for housing and contributing to its high costs.

14. Austin, Texas

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Austin is known for its cultural vibrancy and strong job market, as it’s home to some of the biggest companies like Dell, IBM and Apple. With a big tech presence, comes a demand for highly skilled workers. The influx of job seekers, in addition to students attending the University of Texas, one of the largest and prestigious universities in the country, has contributed to the high cost of living. The city’s popularity has led to an increase in demand for real estate, driving up the cost of rent and homes.

13. Denver, Colorado

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Denver’s popularity as a desirable place to live has increased the cost of living, especially in housing and transportation. Many say that Denver is a great place to start a business. As a result there has been an influx of entrepreneurs and start ups over the las few years. The city’s growth has generated a competitive real estate market, driving up the cost of rent and homes.  

12. Portland, Oregon

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Known for its eco-friendly culture and vibrant arts scene, Portland’s cost of living is above the national average. There are a few reasons why housing is so expensive. One is that Portland limits the new construction of apartment buildings in areas like downtown and adjacent to the bigger streets, which creates demand for more single detached houses.  

11. Anchorage, Alaska

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Despite Alaska’s reputation for natural beauty, Anchorage faces a high cost of living due to geographic isolation, transportation costs, and the need to import goods. The long, often harsh winters also contribute to higher cost of heating and other utilities. 

10. San José, California

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As part of Silicon Valley, San Jose experiences a high cost of living attributed to the influence of the technology industry. The proximity to mountain view and the ocean also makes it a desirable place to live. Apartment prices are incredibly high, which affects general accessibility.

9. Miami, Florida

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Many Americans moved to Florida during the pandemic, resulting in the biggest population increase of any state during that period. Miami’s appeal as a tropical destination has home prices skyrocketing in the last few years. The city’s bustling nightlife and coastal lifestyle contribute to the high prices.

8. Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago’s living costs are higher than the national average, including housing and transportation costs. Chicago has one of the highest tax rates in America, a combined local and state tax of 10.25%. The city also has the second-highest property tax in the country. 

7. Seattle, Washington

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Tech giants and coffee connoisseurs call Seattle home, where the cost of living is 44% higher than average. Thriving tech spots and lush greenery offer eye-catching appeal but expect to pay a premium for everything from lattes to Amazon Prime subscriptions.

6. Washington, DC

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The state capital, Washington, DC, has a high cost of living, mainly due to housing and transportation costs. The real estate market is competitive because of low supply. The city hasn’t been building enough new housing to keep up with the demand, creating upward pressure on prices. 

5. Boston, Massachusetts

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Picturesque neighborhoods and world-class universities come at a price. Although the city’s rich history and vibrant culture offer a unique charm, average rent has surpassed $3,000 due to low supply of housing, making it an unaccessible city to live in for many.

4. Los Angeles, California

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Hollywood glamor comes at a price in Los Angeles, where the cost of living is 49% higher than average. As mentioned earlier, the coastal metros are more expensive areas to live. But if you can handle the cost and the traffic jams, you get to enjoy the celebrity sightings, a thriving entertainment scene, and stunning waterfront views.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

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Paradise is at a premium in Honolulu, where the island’s beauty and isolation increase the cost of living by 84%. Beautiful beaches and fresh seafood are yours but be prepared to experience food and utility sticker shock.

2. New York City, New York

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New York City, especially Manhattan, is synonymous with a high cost of living. It’s one of the most expensive urban areas in the world to live in, with the cost of living 122% above the national average. The city has a huge population in a relatively small space. The high demand for housing can’t be satisfied with the supply, resulting in one of the highest housing costs in the country. But New York’s booming economy, high-salary job opportunities and bustling entertainment scene will always be a big draw. 

1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco
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San Francisco continues to be one of the most expensive cities in the US, attributed to rising housing costs fueled by the influence of the technology industry. The strong economy which attracts highly skilled professionals has raised the cost of living by 78% above average. The demand for housing has contributed to the higher prices. 

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