Most Expensive Cities in the U.S.

People relocating for business, new jobs or simply planning a vacation can benefit from knowing details about the most expensive cities in the United States. Understanding how much it costs to live in a city, and why, can make or break a decision to move. Not surprisingly, California cities dominate the list of America’s priciest cities.

New York City, New York

New York City leads the pack as the most expensive city in the United States; the city, with a population exceeding 8.3 million, also tops lists of the world’s most expensive cities. The cost of living in New York is a whopping 120% higher than the national average. The average cost of homes in New York is about $501,000, compared to the national average price, which hovers around $181,000; home prices range across the five boroughs, with home prices in Manhattan exceeding $1 million. Everything costs more in New York City, from groceries to public transportation. At approximately 4.1%, as of May 2017, the city’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 4.3%, further encouraging people the world over to pin their hopes and dreams on making it in New York.

San Francisco, California

People make the decision to leave San Francisco every day, as the city’s staggeringly high cost of living and out-of-reach housing prices have been known to break many a bank. Homes cost an average of $820,000 inside the city, whose major industries include tourism, IT and financial services. It takes more than $119,000 to live well in San Francisco, but unemployment remains low at about 2.6%, as of May 2017, due to highly favorable conditions offered to entrepreneurs and the one-third of all U.S. venture capital that these up-and-coming businesses attract.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu residents pay a lot of money for just about everything. Groceries alone cost 55% more than anywhere else in the United States; utilities cost 71% more than the national average. At $58,397, the average household income does not far exceed the average income of other expensive cities in the country. However, people in Honolulu can expect to pay 87% more than the average American pays for one dozen eggs. Honolulu enjoys an exceptionally low unemployment rate of 2.8%, as of May 2017, which means that, if nothing else, people with jobs on this Pacific island paradise can afford to eat omelets.

Boston, Massachusetts

Groceries and health care cost a lot of money in Boston, exceeding the average national cost by more than 20%. The city enjoys a robust higher education environment, a booming tech scene that rivals Silicon Valley and historic sites dating back to the 13 original colonies, which makes it one of the nation’s leading tourist destinations. All of these add up to an unemployment rate of 3.6%, but city residents fork out big money to live in Boston; the average home value hovers around $374,000, the median household income averages about $53,163, and it takes approximately $84,000 to live well.

Washington, D.C.

Being the seat of the world’s most powerful nation accounts for Washington, D.C.’s high cost of living. Government and private-sector jobs abound in the city, thanks to numerous federal agencies, think tanks, lobbying firms and a robust tourism sector. Average home values in the District stand at approximately $443,000, and the average household income is about $64,267. Similar to Boston, it takes about $83,000 to live well in Washington, D.C.