The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the U.S.

From metro areas on both coasts to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, these are the most expensive cities to live in the U.S.

The Manhattan skyline at night as seen from across the East River
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The most expensive cities in the U.S. are usually 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 a wealth of employment opportunities or great weather. Others are looking for cosmopolitan living, with a host of restaurants, museums and other cultural options on tap. Many of these expensive cities appear in our ranking of the most expensive housing markets in the U.S

However, in some cases, simple isolation plays a leading role in high prices. When pretty much everything has to be imported over long supply lines, prices are bound to be higher.

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Cost of living:45.3% above U.S. average
City population:671,803
Median household income:$101,027 (U.S.:$74,580)
Median home value: $711,100 (U.S.:$550,548)
Unemployment rate: 5.0% (U.S.:3.7%)
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Cost of living:45.7% above U.S. average
City population:749,267
Median household income:$115,409
Median home value:$924,200
Unemployment rate:2.9%
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Cost of living:47.3% above U.S. average
City population:3,822,224
Median household income:$76,135
Median home value:$903,700
Unemployment rate:5.0%
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Cost of living:48% above U.S. average
County population:649,768
Median household income:$86,331
Median home value:$701,400
Unemployment rate:3.5%
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Cost of living:51.2% above U.S. average
County population:3,186,989
Median household income:$106,209
Median home value:$940,900
Unemployment rate:3.8%
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Cost of living:59.7% above U.S. average
Borough population:2,590,516
Median household income:$73,951
Median home value:$849,900
Unemployment rate:5.1%
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Cost of living:69.5% above U.S. average
City population:808,437
Median household income:$136,692
Median home value:$1,343,700
Unemployment rate:3.4%
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Cost of living:71.3% above U.S. average
City population:1,938,524
Median household income:$148,900
Median home value:$1,422,600
Unemployment rate:3.9%
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Cost of living:79.2% above U.S. average
City population:343,437
Median household income:$82,006
Median home value:$818,700
Unemployment rate:2.5%
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Cost of living:127.8% above U.S. average
Borough population:1,596,273
Median household income:$95,866
Median home value:$1,006,100
Unemployment rate:4.3%

Source: C2ER's Cost of Living Index, 2023 Annual Average Data, published October 2023. Index data is based on average prices of goods and services collected during the first three quarters of 2023, with index values based on the new weights for 2023. Population data, household incomes, home values, poverty rates and other demographic information are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Local unemployment rates, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are not seasonally adjusted and are as of February 1, 2024, for the month of November 2023, which is the latest available final data. Local unemployment rates for New York City, courtesy of  New York State Department of Labor Labor Statistics for the New York City Region and local unemployment rate for San Francisco, courtesy of State of California Employment Development Department

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

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, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes 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.