10 Most Expensive Cities In The US

Last updated on December 18th, 2023 at 10:27 am


Described as the land of opportunities for centuries, some regions of the United States could be expensive to live in for an average-income earner. But then, hundreds of average people are finding their ways around the cost of living in these 10 cities in the U.S.

The United States is a country filled with opportunities, but it also has a monthly living cost that is around $1951 with some of its cities more expensive than others.

Expensive US cities are usually characterized by the high cost of living, as residents pay a lot on housing, taxes, etc.


With different populations and various other peculiarities, it takes different budgets to live well in different American cities.

US Expensive Cities to live in
Photo credit: Thomas Habr

A straightforward way to ascertain and highlight the most expensive cities in an American context is to make use of the cost of living to compare each city to the national average. With this at heart, here are the most expensive cities in the United States of America.

1) New York City

New York City is reputed in the USA for various factors, including being the most expensive city in the country, as well as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The cost of living in NY is a whopping 120% more than the national average.

With a population that is close to 9 million, everything from public transportation to housing, and groceries costs more.

While the national median cost of homes in the USA is around $355,852, the figure is around $700,000 in New York City.

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Note: Residential median sale price in New York varies from county to county. So, it is even more expensive to live in some NY counties than other. 

2) San Francisco

With a population of over 890,000 people, San Francisco is an expensive city in California.

California is a fantastic city for entrepreneurs, but they have to prepare for the high cost of living.

Median home prices in various parts of the city are over $1.6 million, which can’t be afforded by the average resident.

However, the vibrant city is one of the wealthiest in the country, flourishing in industries such as IT, tourism, and financial services.

3) Honolulu

According to statistics, about 345,000 people are living in the city. It is a great city no doubt, but it is pretty expensive, as those residing in Honolulu must pay hugely to purchase a lot of things.

While the median household income here ($87,722) is higher than the national median ($64,994), residents end up spending a lot just to get basic things.

For instance, the people here pay over 150 per cent higher for groceries than the national average.

4) Boston

The Massachusetts city has a population that is close to 700,000 with a strong economy as well as a booming tech scene.

However, residents of the state splash a lot on healthcare and groceries. The cost of food in Boston is 12 per cent higher than the average national cost, while healthcare is over 15 per cent beyond the national average.

5) Washington D.C

Washington D.C. is home to American political power, and it is understandable why it is one of the most expensive cities in the country.

With a population that is over 670,000, a lot of people are continually attracted to the city for various reasons revolving around politics, governance, employment opportunities, and tourism.

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Washington D.C is pretty expensive, so much so that the average home value of homes in the city is $615,692, which is far beyond the national median cost of homes in the United States of America.

6) Oakland

Also in California and close to San Francisco (which is another very expensive city in the United States), Oakland has a population of about 434,000 with a median household income of $80,143.

Oakland is expensive when it comes to housing, buying groceries, and even gas.

It takes close to a million dollars to purchase a decent home in Oakland.

And while the average national cost of gas is $3.397, you will spend around $4.669 in Oakland. Even grocery products cost about 30 per cent above the national average in the city.

7) San Jose

A limited supply of land is one of the core factors contributing to the high cost of living in San Jose.

The limited land is already engaged with office parks, highways, etc. Hence, investors can’t build new spaces and apartments – which means prices will keep going up.

With a population that is over a million, San Jose is sitting right there in the center of Silicon Valley, and the residents can’t but pay hugely to live in the city. Even gas is an average of $5 per gallon, which is higher than the national average price.

8) San Diego

There are close to 1.5 million people in San Diego that are attracted to the city for different reasons – such as its year-round sunny weather, economic vibrancy, opportunities, etc.

However, there is a limited supply of land in San Diego, hence there is not much room for expansion.

Due to this reason, demand for housing is heightened, driving up prices. Therefore, the median listing home price in the city is around $924.9K, which is far above the national average.

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9) Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most prominent and popular cities in the United States of America, as well as one of the most populated (over 4 million people reside here).

Aside from having a flourishing entertainment industry that keeps attracting wealthy movie stars, the Port of Los Angeles is also a major thing, being one of the busiest in the world.

Los Angeles is a very busy city where a lot of things are happening, and it is understandable why it is one of the most expensive cities in the country. For instance, the median home value here is $991,551.

10) Miami

Around 455,000 people are living in Miami, and a lot of Americans from different parts of the country love heading to the city every now and then to enjoy its sunny beaches and warm weather.

Tourism is one of the major reasons why Miami is as expensive as it is. The average home price in Miami is $528,788, which is far beyond the national average.


These are the most expensive cities in the United States. It is glaring that the most expensive cities in the US are the most desirable places to live due to several factors revolving around employment opportunities, economic opportunities, favorable climates, and others.

However, the cost of living to sustain a reasonable lifestyle in these cities is usually on the high side, as residents must pay a lot to settle basic needs like food, healthcare, housing, and taxes.


New York State. “Residential median sale price information by county”. tax.ny.gov


  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across decentralized finance, investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics.

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