Many things are taken into consideration when you are looking at the cost of living. Things such as rent, utilities, gas, and food, are just a few of the many things that get looked at. And most times, one factor will affect the other making them both expensive. A good example would be gas costs. Gas may be expensive in your neighborhood, but it is also increasing the price of your food cost as well. Why? Because the food has to get to the grocery store somehow and most times it is delivered by trucks.
So what else affects cost of living? Jobs and the number of jobs available can affect cost of living. If there are fewer jobs where you live, it can not be expected to charge an arm and a leg to live there. And the opposite can be said for larger cities. More jobs means that more people are working and making money, therefore more can be charged. The difficulty of exporting and importing goods will affect prices as well. A good example of this would be many towns in Alaska. It is more difficult to get items such as food or gas out there so you will pay more for it.
Supply and demand plays a very large roll in cost of living. Acreage, better access to the city or bus lines, waterfront property, or privacy is all sought after and will be at a higher cost to have. Tourists can also play a large roll in costs as many places will charge more for surrounding tourist attractions. Living in the city, near a park, or in some cases, just a bigger apartment compared to others in the same city or town will attract higher costs as well.
Top 5 Most Expensive Places to Live in the United States
Although I can show you some of the more expensive places to live, it is more difficult to explain why. New York for example, is about 40% more expensive to live in than the national average. Some of it is due to housing, but some of it is also due to health care and utilities as well. Here is our top 5 most expensive places to live in with price ranges for apartments and gas.
You will be paying about a minimum of $1,200 per month for a studio apartment. This price can very well climb over $2-$3k depending on the amount of bedrooms and location. Since New York is so big, there are many sites and locations that are desired to live near. Or sources that will get you there faster. If you decide to drive, you will pay around $2.09 on average with it peaking close to $2.50. Well known parks such as Bryant Park and Grand Central are well known destinations as well as the statue of liberty and many art museums. It goes without saying that New York attracts a lot of people and is very crowded. In some cases, you would have to nearly double your income to maintain the same cost of living depending on where you moved from. You would have to make an extra $2,000 to $15,000 to move here from somewhere on our top 5 list to consistently live the same way.
To live in Los Angeles you will be paying around $875 or so and that can get as expensive as $2,400 or so per month for an apartment. Gas is currently around the $2.09 mark and will get as high as $2.80 in some places. Well known attractions here would include Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Studios. If you are willing to make the drive, you can easily get to San Diego, Las Vegas, Disney Land, and San Francisco.
Another city in California, what gives? California is a big place and has many desirable cities to live in. To live here you would have to be willing to pay close to a minimum of $900 per month and depending on your needs and location that can easily cost as high as $1,800 per month. Gas is around $2.19 but in some areas it is closer to $3.10. Many famous attractions are near by such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and the Museum of Art. To move here from our number 4 spot, Seattle, Washington, you would have to make an extra $5,500 dollars to maintain the same cost of living.
It is going to cost you pretty close to $600 minimum to live near the “emerald city”, much less live in it. That can climb as high as $1,700 per month. It is very close to the max prices found in San Diego and you would only have to make an extra $500 per month to make the move. Gas prices here range from $2.16-$2.57 a gallon and many famous place include the Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, and Pioneer Square.
Also known as “bean town,” this historic place will set you back close to $600 at minimum, and well up to $1,600. Gas is in the range of $1.83 per gallon and can be found as high as $2.40 per gallon. Boston has many historic sites to see as well as the harbor, Duck Tours, and Fenway Park, which is the home of the Boston RedSox. If you want to make the move from here to any one of the top 4 cities on our list, be prepared to spend at least $2,000 to do so and well up to $15,000 to maintain your normal cost of living.
Many calculators are available online for those that are considering making a move to a larger city. As we mentioned before, housing plays a huge role but is not the only factor. Food, supply and demand, and accessibility can also play huge roles in what determines the most expensive place to live. Be sure to weigh all of these factors when making the consideration to move.