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The 10 U.S. places with the highest cost of living?o. 1 costs more than double the national average
American Shipper
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The New York borough of Manhattan is the most expensive place to live in the U.S. ?and the cost of living in the No. 2 place isn? even close.
The cost of living in Manhattan is more than twice the national average. The second- and third-most expensive places are Honolulu and San Jose, California, but in comparison, they are much more affordable. Manhattan is 24% more expensive than Honolulu and 30% more expensive than San Jose.
That? according to the Council for Community and Economic Research? Cost of Living Index, which measures regional price differences for everyday goods and services in 271 urban areas in the U.S.
The cost of living is expressed as a composite index score, based on six weighted categories: housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods or services. A composite score of 100 is the national average, and any score higher than 100 is above average.
Here? a look at the 10 most expensive urban areas, based on composite index scores.
1. New York (Manhattan): 231
2. Honolulu: 186.2
3. San Jose, California: 177.1
4. San Francisco: 169.6
5. New York (Brooklyn): 161.5
6. Orange County, California: 154.9
7. Los Angeles (Long Beach): 150.6
8. New York (Queens): 146.9
9. Washington, D.C.: 144.6
10. Boston: 144.3
All of these places are known for having some of the highest housing costs in the country. That? because large U.S. cities t to attract residents due to a higher concentration of jobs, which also increases demand for housing, and then drives up housing costs.
In places such as Honolulu or Manhattan, land is also scarce, which limits how much housing can be built. The lack of new supply puts further upward pressure on home pricing.
Another reason why Manhattan is so expensive is wealth. New York City is home to 350,000 millionaires ?the most in the country ?with many of them living in Manhattan.
The concentration of wealth has also driven up home prices, which is part of the reason Manhattan is home to some of the most expensive U.S. neighborhoods based on square footage. In the West Village, for example, homes cost a median of $2,400 per square foot.
In contrast, the most affordable city in the ranking is Decatur, Illinois, which has a score of 78.8. That means it? 22.2% cheaper to live there compared to the rest of the country.
Data for the Cost of Living Index was collected from Jan. 1, 2024, through March 31, 2024. Each category is weighted based on how households typically sp their money, according to government survey data.

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