The Most Expensive City in Each State

July 12, 2016 by Thomas C. Frohlich

City Skyline in HonoluluThe average American household spends $53,495 each year on food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, and other expenses. To put that in perspective, the typical U.S. household income is $53,576. These costs usually rise over time with inflation. The costs also vary significantly depending on where in the country a family lives.

Based on cost of living data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most expensive cities in every state. In Honolulu, Hawaii, prices of goods and services are 23.5% greater than the national average, with prices in the San Jose, California and New York City, New York areas following nearly as high. By contrast, the cost of living is 20.3% less than the national average in Beckley, West Virginia.

Goods and services tend to cost more in areas where residents earn higher incomes, while prices are typically lower in poorer areas. Prices in only six metro areas are at least 20% greater than national average prices. Of the 16 metro areas where the cost of living is 10% or higher than the national average, nine are in California.

Click here to see the most expensive city in each state.

Many of the least expensive urban areas are located in the Southern United States, which is home to some of the nation’s poorest towns. There are exceptions, however, such as Rome, Illinois, where goods and services are second cheapest of any U.S. metro area.

The most expensive city in a relatively poor state is almost always still less expensive than the nation on average. The costs of goods and services in the most expensive cities in each of the five least expensive states — Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky — are still well below price levels nationwide. This is not always the case, however. In seven of the states where prices are below the national average, the cost of living in the most expensive city exceeds that of the nation.

To identify the most expensive cities in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2014 regional price parities, or cost of living, in each of the nation’s 381 metropolitan statistical areas. RPPs are calculated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis using price quotes for a wide range of items from the Consumer Price Index, as well as rent costs from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The cost of living for states also came from the BEA. Poverty rates and median household income for each MSA came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

These are the most expensive cities in every state.

Daphne, Fairhope, Alabama

1. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.7% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 12.2% less expensive (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7%
> Median household income: $48,461

Anchorage, Alaska at sunset below the Chugach Mountains

2. Anchorage, Alaska
> Cost of living compared to nation: 9.6% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 5.7% more expensive (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.9%
> Median household income: $75,682

Phoenix, Arizona

3. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.3% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 3.6% less expensive (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> Median household income: $53,365

Evening in Little Rock, Arkansas.

4. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas
> Cost of living compared to nation: 9.3% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 12.5% less expensive (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0%
> Median household income: $48,330

San Jose, California

5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
> Cost of living compared to nation: 22.9% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 12.4% more expensive (4th highest)
> Poverty rate: 8.7%
> Median household income: $96,481

CU Boulder Campus

6. Boulder, Colorado
> Cost of living compared to nation: 9.1% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 2.0% more expensive (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1%
> Median household income: $71,540

Bridgeport, Connecticut

7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
> Cost of living compared to nation: 20.4% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.8% more expensive (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 8.9%
> Median household income: $85,925

Dover, Delaware 2

8. Dover, Delaware
> Cost of living compared to nation: 5.8% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 1.9% more expensive (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.4%
> Median household income: $55,227

Aerial view of South Miami Beach

9. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida
> Cost of living compared to nation: 5.9% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 0.9% less expensive (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> Median household income: $48,458

Atlanta, Georgia 3

10. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia
> Cost of living compared to nation: 4.4% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.0% less expensive (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5%
> Median household income: $56,166

Honolulu County, Hawaii

11. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
> Cost of living compared to nation: 23.5% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 16.8% more expensive (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.7%
> Median household income: $74,634

Boise City, Idaho

12. Boise City, Idaho
> Cost of living compared to nation: 4.9% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 6.6% less expensive (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9%
> Median household income: $51,826

Chicago, Illinois 4

13. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois
> Cost of living compared to nation: 6.0% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 0.7% more expensive (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9%
> Median household income: $61,598

Bloomington, Indiana

14. Bloomington, Indiana
> Cost of living compared to nation: 5.1% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.6% less expensive (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 24.1%
> Median household income: $44,963

Iowa City, Iowa

15. Iowa City, Iowa
> Cost of living compared to nation: 3.7% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.7% less expensive (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.0%
> Median household income: $59,791

lawrence kansas

16. Lawrence, Kansas
> Cost of living compared to nation: 5.7% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.3% less expensive (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 20.5%
> Median household income: $48,565

Lexington, Kentucky

17. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.6% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 11.3% less expensive (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.2%
> Median household income: $50,270

New Orleans, Louisiana 2

18. New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana
> Cost of living compared to nation: 4.0% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.6% less expensive (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.1%
> Median household income: $46,784

Portland-South Portland, Maine

19. Portland-South Portland, Maine
> Cost of living compared to nation: 0.7% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 2.9% less expensive (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.0%
> Median household income: $59,573

Baltimore, Maryland 3

20. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland
> Cost of living compared to nation: 8.0% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 10.3% more expensive (5th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1%
> Median household income: $71,501

Boston

21. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts
> Cost of living compared to nation: 10.3% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 7.1% more expensive (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.6%
> Median household income: $75,667

Ann Arbor, Michigan

22. Ann Arbor, Michigan
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.0% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 5.9% less expensive (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.5%
> Median household income: $62,845

Minneapolis, Minnesota

23. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.6% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 2.4% less expensive (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.3%
> Median household income: $69,111

Jackson, ,Mississippi

24. Jackson, Mississippi
> Cost of living compared to nation: 9.4% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 13.3% less expensive (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.5%
> Median household income: $46,967

Kansas City, Missouri

25. Kansas City, Missouri
> Cost of living compared to nation: 6.6% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 10.6% less expensive (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.6%
> Median household income: $56,994

Billings, Montana

26. Billings, Montana
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.3% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 5.8% less expensive (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2%
> Median household income: $51,111

Omaha, Nebraska

27. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska
> Cost of living compared to nation: 5.9% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.4% less expensive (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3%
> Median household income: $57,527

Reno, Nevada downtown during winter

28. Reno, Nevada
> Cost of living compared to nation: 0.9% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 2.3% less expensive (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5%
> Median household income: $52,728

Manchester, New Hampshire

29. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
> Cost of living compared to nation: 8.2% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 5.2% more expensive (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 8.7%
> Median household income: $71,422

Trenton, New Jersey

30. Trenton, New Jersey
> Cost of living compared to nation: 12.5% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 14.5% more expensive (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9%
> Median household income: $74,961

Santa Fe, New Mexico

31. Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Cost of living compared to nation: 0.3% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 5.0% less expensive (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2%
> Median household income: $52,809

New York City, Manhattan

32. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York
> Cost of living compared to nation: 22.3% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 15.7% more expensive (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.6%
> Median household income: $67,066

Raleigh (Wake County), North Carolina

33. Raleigh, North Carolina
> Cost of living compared to nation: 4.1% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.3% less expensive (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2%
> Median household income: $62,313

State Capitol, Bismarck, North Dakota

34. Bismarck, North Dakota
> Cost of living compared to nation: 6.0% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 8.5% less expensive (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.8%
> Median household income: $63,356

Columbus, Ohio

35. Columbus, Ohio
> Cost of living compared to nation: 6.6% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 10.7% less expensive (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.5%
> Median household income: $56,371

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

36. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.6% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.9% less expensive (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.3%
> Median household income: $52,416

Portland, Oregon

37. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon
> Cost of living compared to nation: 1.3% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 1.0% less expensive (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6%
> Median household income: $60,248

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3

38. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.2% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 1.8% less expensive (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.4%
> Median household income: $62,171

Providence, Rhode Island 4

39. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island
> Cost of living compared to nation: 1.0% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 1.3% less expensive (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6%
> Median household income: $55,836

Charleston, South Carolina

40. Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina
> Cost of living compared to nation: 3.7% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.5% less expensive (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.1%
> Median household income: $53,572

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

41. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.2% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 12.0% less expensive (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.7%
> Median household income: $58,849

Nashville, Riverboat, Tennessee

42. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tennessee
> Cost of living compared to nation: 6.1% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 9.8% less expensive (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.1%
> Median household income: $52,640

Overview of downtown Dallas

43. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
> Cost of living compared to nation: 0.4% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 3.4% less expensive (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.8%
> Median household income: $59,530

Salt Lake City, Utah

44. Salt Lake City, Utah
> Cost of living compared to nation: 0.3% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 3.0% less expensive (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4%
> Median household income: $62,642

Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont

45. Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.7% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 1.2% more expensive (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.4%
> Median household income: $61,947

Norfolk, Virginia

46. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia
> Cost of living compared to nation: 1.6% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 2.6% more expensive (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.4%
> Median household income: $58,871

Seattle, Washington

47. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> Cost of living compared to nation: 7.8% more expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 3.8% more expensive (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3%
> Median household income: $71,273

Charleston, West Virginia 2

48. Charleston, West Virginia
> Cost of living compared to nation: 11.0% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 11.1% less expensive (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 17.9%
> Median household income: $42,761

Downtown Madison, Wisconsin

49. Madison, Wisconsin
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.2% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 6.6% less expensive (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7%
> Median household income: $60,903

Casper, Wyoming

50. Casper, Wyoming
> Cost of living compared to nation: 2.1% less expensive
> State cost of living compared to nation: 3.8% less expensive (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.3%
> Median household income: $56,392