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The 5 Most Expensive Cities to Live In America

It’s no secret that the cost of living has gone up across the country, particularly within the last 10 years. With the amount of money it takes to keep a city running and the real estate market skyrocketing, that news is shocking to no one. But what are the most expensive cities to live in within the US? Today's post explores these cities and why their living costs are so high.

#1: San Francisco, CA

The front runner for most expensive city is San Francisco, California. Boasting a median household income of  $107,898 and the 3rd highest number of billionaires in the U.S., the Bay Area has become a technology epicenter. It is at the top of this list because to live comfortably in this city, you would have to make $164,412 annually and homes typically start at around $1.3M. The draws are its beautiful ocean views, bustling shopping and dining areas and the walkability of its streets.

#2: Boston, MA

It comes as no surprise that Boston’s cost of living is fairly high, 37.9% above the U.S. average to be exact. This is mainly due to the growing population mixed with the lack of housing being built. Home to students, young professionals and families alike, all Bostonians love living in close proximity to the restaurants, shops and cultural centers at the price of cheap living. Newer developments popping up are more geared towards the wealthier percentage of residents, particularly in towns like Newton and South Boston. 

#3: New York City, NY

When people think of expensive living, they will most often think of NYC because of its rich history (literally). Similar to Boston, starting in 1980 there has been exponential growth in its population with not enough housing to accommodate this boom. There are 400,000 millionaires, 3,000 Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals, and 70 billionaires who currently live in New York City, these are the people who are primarily living in the little housing available. Those not in the listed categories often end up with the short end of the stick, fewer options for homes and especially rentals.

#4: Fremont, CA

California makes the list again with Fremont, a town located in the Bay Area. This city is on the smaller side, but don’t be fooled by its size as its population is swiftly growing. Generally considered a suburb, Fremont’s average rent for a studio apartment is roughly $1,858 and the average home sells for $1,123,800. The draw for Fremont is its proximity to many necessities when living in a suburb- dining, shopping and local parks/walkways. While it is a suburb, it offers stunning views of the ocean and it was even named the ‘Happiest City in the U.S.’ this year.

#5: San Jose, CA

Rounding out the list is yet another California town, San Jose. Known for being the cultural, financial, and political center of Silicon Valley, it is also the largest city in Northern California by both population and area. The average American can expect to run up about $1,003,100 for a home in this city and rent a studio apartment for approximately $1,500. Compared to the rest of the country, San Jose's cost of living is 114.5% higher than the U.S. average, more than likely due to the amount of people who are attracted to the area and settling there. San Jose boasts a diverse community of inhabitants and family friendly activities all throughout, making it a hub for those looking to find a home.


While the costs of living may be up in most of the U.S., there are still plenty of areas where you’ll likely be able to fly below the radar. With enough hard work and searching, you’re sure to find a home in a city you’re proud to live in that doesn’t break the bank.