The 20 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

From metro areas on both coasts to deep in the Alaskan interior, these are the priciest cities in the U.S. to call home.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The most expensive American cities are costly for a good reason – several, really. Residents are willing to pay extra for everything from housing to food to gas if it allows them to live someplace with great weather. Others are looking for cosmopolitan living, with a host of theater, restaurant and other cultural options on tap.

However, in some cases (cough, Alaska), simple remoteness plays a role. When pretty much everything has to be imported over long supply lines, prices are bound to be higher.

To determine just how much the most expensive cities in the U.S. can really cost, we turned to the latest data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices in 256 urban areas for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services (such as getting your hair done or going to a movie). We also gathered data on household incomes, home values and unemployment rates for each city to provide additional insights into the true cost of living for typical residents.

Take a closer look at the 20 most expensive cities in the U.S.

The Cost of Living Index is based on price data collected during the first quarter of 2020. City-level data on City Populations, household incomes and home values come from the U.S. Census Bureau. Unemployment rates come from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as of May 2020. For the purposes of finalizing this list, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens were treated as separate cities.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.


A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.


Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.


In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.


Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.


Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.