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

The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S. to Live In
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It’s not a big secret that the cost of living is on the rise. And, skyrocketing median home prices and rents only compound things. Regardless of where you live in the United States, you’re likely feeling the crunch. However, some cities in the U.S. are more expensive to live in than others. While there is no definitive list on the most expensive cities in the U.S., you can look at certain data like median household income, median home price, the rate of unemployment or the cost of groceries and medical care to get a better idea of which are the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live in right now.

10. Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida has a lot going for it. The sun and beaches, stellar nightlife, cruise industry and many international corporations draw people from all over the globe to this vibrant city. However, all of these perks come with a rather hefty price tag. Even though the median home price for Miami Beach is almost twice that of the national average, the city does have an unemployment rate that is a lot lower than the national average.

  • Median home price: $527,777
  • Median monthly rent: $2,300
  • Median household income: $53,300
  • Unemployment rate: 1.8 percent 

9. Los Angeles, California

You may be surprised to see that Los Angeles is not higher on the list of the 10 most expensive cities in the U.S. Although the city of angels is known for glitz, glamor, sunny beaches and celebrity sightings, a large portion of its residents – approximately 19.1 percent – are living beneath the poverty line compared to the national average of 11.8 percent.

  • Median home price: $859,000
  • Median monthly rent: $3,500
  • Median household income: $54,501
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent

8. San Diego, California

San Diego is another city on this list that is well-known for beautiful beaches, busy ports, fantastic weather and high home prices. It also has a cost of living that is 41.5 percent above the U.S. national average. San Diego has a large naval and military contracting firm presence such as Northrop Grumman, and many of its nearly 1.4 million residents have a median income higher than that of the national average.

  • Median home price: $699,900
  • Median monthly rent: $2,750
  • Median household income: $75,500
  • Unemployment rate: 3.3 percent

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts is a thriving, historic city. But, if you call Boston home, then expect to pay 22 percent more for healthcare and 14 percent more for groceries than the national average according to a 2019 Missouri Economic Research and Information Center report on the average cost of living. However, groceries and healthcare aren't the only things that will cost you more in Boston. Rents are 3.6 times the national average and median home prices are 2.3 times the national average in this city known for its love of sports and burgeoning tech industry.

  • Median home price: $769,000
  • Median monthly rent: $2,950
  • Median household income: $65,900
  • Unemployment rate: 2.9 percent

6. Seattle, Washington

Seattle's natural beauty, eclectic residents, tech industry and Amazon jobs have all brought more than 100,000 new residents to the city in the last decade. And, along with these new residents came a housing shortage that caused home prices to soar. The last 10 years has seen Seattle's average wages increase by nearly $21,000 and a 5.7 percent drop in unemployment rates.

  • Median home price: $719,400
  • Median monthly rent: $2,600
  • Median household income: $79,565
  • Unemployment rate: 3.4 percent

5. Oakland, California

Because of Oakland's close proximity to San Francisco, it has become the de facto choice for many San Francisco residents who were priced out, leaving some Oakland residents fearing they'll be unable to keep up with the rising cost of rents and home purchases. And, it's understandable why they'd feel this way; Oakland has a median household income that is a mere $5,600 higher than the national average, yet residents pay more than 2.6 times the national average for rent and homes. Although Oakland is within commuting distance of San Francisco, it still has its own bustling industries and is home to Kaiser Permanente and Southwest Airlines among others large companies.

  • Median home price: $689,999
  • Median monthly rent: $3,000
  • Median household income: $63,251
  • Unemployment rate: 2.7 percent

4. Washington, District of Columbia

Once a city known for workers who went home to outlying suburbs after working in the city, Washington D.C. has now become a thriving city with plenty of full-time residents. D.C. residents tend to be on the younger side, and are able to take advantage of many career opportunities in the government and private sectors. With the influx of new, full-time residents, D.C. is struggling to supply houses to meet the increasing demand. Currently, both median rents and home prices are roughly 3.4 times the national average.

  • Median home price: $599,900
  • Median monthly rent: $2,700
  • Median household income: $77,649
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6 percent

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

Another breathtaking city with an equally breathtaking cost of living is Honolulu, Hawaii. Residents on this gorgeous tropical island pay more for nearly everything compared to Americans living on the mainland. In fact, Honolulu residents pay on average 64.6 percent more than the national average for their groceries according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. As much as residents have to pay for everything, their paychecks don't reflect the high cost of living on Honolulu.

  • Median home price: $625,000
  • Median monthly rent: $2,200
  • Median household income: $80,078
  • Unemployment rate: 8.3 percent

2. San Francisco, California

With tech giants, a bustling economy and an extreme shortage of affordable housing, San Francisco consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live in. Although San Francisco residents are paid a lot more than the average American worker, the exorbitant rents and high cost of living leaves many San Franciscans hurting. But, unemployment rates in San Francisco are lower than the national average of 3.8 percent.

  • Median home price: $1,310,500
  • Median monthly rent: $4,500
  • Median household income: $96,265
  • Unemployment rate: 2.3 percent

1. Manhattan, New York

Manhattan comes in at number one for the most expensive city in the U.S. to live in. Manhattan is a city of roughly 71,371 residents packed per square mile and the cost of living is very high. The lure of the big city and bright lights draws many new residents annually and contributes to Manhattan's lack of affordable housing. While the median household income is more than $22,000 above the national average, Manhattan residents also pay more rent than the average American, by more than 5.2 percent.

  • Median home price: $1,550,000
  • Median monthly rent: $3,450
  • Median household income: $79,781
  • Unemployment rate: 3.8 percent