Top 15 Cities In The US With Above Average Cost Of Living

It’s a beautiful country we live in. But to enjoy some of that beauty, you’re probably going to have to pay a bit more than average. So what is “average” in the United States these days? It turns out there is no simple answer to that question when you consider all the different factors that go into the equation. It makes sense to include the average earnings of a particular area as well as the average monthly rent or mortgage payment, but there are many other expenses that contribute to the overall cost to live there as well.

To get our answer, we turned to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), a unit of the US Department of Labor, which serves as a sort of statistical data gathering machine.This group is responsible for researching, reviewing, and measuring an enormous amount of data, and then compiling it into several different reports which are released to various government entities, the press, or to the general public.

Included among these reports is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a vital part to calculate the cost of living in various cities across the nation. This report which is released monthly, is based on six main areas: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. Each month, the organization gathers prices on a total of 588 different items in 87 different urban areas, from approximately 6,100 housing units and over 24,000 retail establishments. They then compare that information to the prior month and compile detailed report on the average costs associated with living in each of those areas.

Along with measuring multiple individual items for each area, the Consumer Price Index also assigns a value to give each city an overall CPI rating. For comparison purposes, the national average is set at 100, so for example, if a city has a Consumer Price Index of 120, that means it has an approximately 20% higher cost of living than the national average. Similarly, if a city has a CPI of 80, that means that it has an approximately 20% lower cost of living than the country’s average.

Nation’s average prices and rates

Based on the most recent Consumer Price Index and recent Census Bureau information provided, some of the Nation’s average prices and rates are as follows:

Average Annual Salary:$39,577.92
Average rent for 1 bedroom apartment: $1,020.52
Gallon of Gasoline: $3.69
Gallon of Milk:$3.645
Average Cost of Utilities
Natural Gas (per therm):$1.093
Electricity (per KWH):$0.143
Unemployment Rate:6.8%

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Now let’s take a look at how these figures look when compared to our nation’s top 15 cities with the highest cost of living.

1. Manhattan, NY

Consumer Price Index: 220.4

manhattan1-478x358

This city has a population of 1,626,159 with an unemployment rate of about 6.4%. The average annual salary here is around $102,296.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $2840 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.97 and a gallon of milk around $4.29. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.112 per therm and about $0.208 per KWH for electricity.

2. Brooklyn, NY

Cost of living Index:171.5

Brooklyn31-478x298This city has a population of 2,592,149 with an unemployment rate of about 8.3%. The average annual salary here is around $39,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $2686 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.91 and a gallon of milk around $4.18. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.112 per therm and about $0.208 per KWH for electricity.

3. Honolulu, HI

Cost of living Index:169.1

Honolulu1-478x298

This city has a population of 402,500 with an unemployment rate of about 4.0%. The average annual salary here is around $46,862.40, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1734 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.20 and a gallon of milk around $4.95. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.007 per therm and about $0.346 per KWH for electricity.

4. San Francisco, CA

Cost of living Index:161.6

san-francisco21-478x318This city has a population of 825,863 with an unemployment rate of about 4.5%. The average annual salary here is around $78,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $2685 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.10 and a gallon of milk around $4.39. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.479 per therm and about $0.233 per KWH for electricity.

5. Queens, NY

Cost of living Index: 152.0

Queens31-478x358

This city has a population of 2,296,178 with an unemployment rate of about 6.9%. The average annual salary here is around $46,488.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $2830 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.84 and a gallon of milk around $3.50. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.112 per therm and about $0.208 per KWH for electricity.

6. San Jose, CA

Cost of living Index:149.3

san-jose21-478x318This city has a population of 982,765 with an unemployment rate of about 6.3%. The average annual salary here is around $81,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1950 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.10 and a gallon of milk around $2.51. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.427 per therm and about $0.233 per KWH for electricity.

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7. Stamford, CT

Cost of living Index:144.1

stamford1-478x318This city has a population of 125,109 with an unemployment rate of about 5.5%. The average annual salary here is around $81,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1880 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.95 and a gallon of milk around $2.51. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.112 per therm and about $0.126 per KWH for electricity.

8. Orange County, CA

Cost of living Index:141.6

orange-county1-478x358

This region has a population of 3,090,132 with an unemployment rate of about 5.2%. The average annual salary here is around $54,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1671 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.07 and a gallon of milk around $4.39. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.406 per therm and about $0.215 per KWH for electricity.

9. Washington DC

Cost of living Index: 140.1

washington-dc21-478x311

This city has a population of 633,427 with an unemployment rate of about 5.0%. The average annual salary here is around $72,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $2084 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.66 and a gallon of milk around $3.68. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.150 per therm and about $0.129 per KWH for electricity.

10. Boston, MA

Cost of living Index:139.7

boston21-478x264

This city has a population of 645,966 with an unemployment rate of about 5.7%. The average annual salary here is around $72,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1920 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.71 and a gallon of milk around $3.03. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.107 per therm and about $0.169 per KWH for electricity.

11. Los Angeles, CA

Cost of living Index: 130.4

los-angeles31-478x347

This city has a population of 3,792,621 with an unemployment rate of about 8.0%. The average annual salary here is around $62,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1635 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.07 and a gallon of milk around $4.29. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.406 per therm and about $0.215 per KWH for electricity.

12. San Diego, CA

Cost of living Index: 130.0

San-Diego-478x296

This city has a population of 1,345,895 with an unemployment rate of about 6.9%. The average annual salary here is around $58,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1380 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.24 and a gallon of milk around $4.29. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.423 per therm and about $0.211 per KWH for electricity.

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13. Philadelphia, PA

Cost of living Index:121.3

philadelphia31-478x229

This city has a population of 1,526,006 with an unemployment rate of about 8.0%. The average annual salary here is around $60,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1300 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.64 and a gallon of milk around $3.55. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.236 per therm and about $0.159 per KWH for electricity.

14. Seattle, WA

Cost of living Index:119.1

seattle21-478x288

This city has a population of 640,500 with an unemployment rate of about 4.4%. The average annual salary here is around $62,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1555 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $4.01 and a gallon of milk around $3.80. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.187 per therm and about $0.096 per KWH for electricity.

15. Baltimore, MD

Cost of living Index: 113.0

baltimore31-478x336

This city has a population of 622,000 with an unemployment rate of about 9.4%. The average annual salary here is around $61,000.00, and you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment for about $1190 per month. A gallon of gas will run you $3.69 and a gallon of milk around $2.57. As for utilities, the cost for natural gas runs about $1.174 per therm and about $0.111 per KWH for electricity.

This list, of course, continues on to cover all of the cities that make up our great nation. It is amazing to see just how diverse of an economy we have within each state and even some counties.

The Consumer Price Index report has been produced regularly since 1946, and is a trusted resource for many economists, financial planners, and other industry professionals. Basic supply and demand principals tell us that when an item is less in demand, its price often goes down, and vice versa. Because the CPI measures a wide range of different items each month and how their prices fluctuate, it is commonly referred to as the “thermometer of the economy”.

 
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  • Audrey Henderson

    I am really, really surprised not to see Chicago on this list. Maybe I’m just spoiled because I grew up in the South, where the cost of living is lower, but wow, is Chicago expensive.