Aside from a small handful of countries, Americans make the most money in the world. Still, Americans across the country face a high cost of living. While the current median household income nationwide is $55,775 a year, the annual median expenditures is $36,800, according to Pew.
Of course the costs of living are not uniform across the nation. Prices in some cities – as calculated by regional price parity, which measures localized price levels for items such as rent, food, and transportation – are over 20% higher than the U.S. average. Prices in entire states such as Hawaii, New York, and California are 10% higher.
Goods and services often cost more in areas where people make more money. For instance, median incomes in eight of the 20 most expensive cities are among the highest nationwide. Geography can be another major factor for cost of living. In remote states such as Hawaii and Alaska that have to import many goods as well as pay for the cost of their transportation, the cost of goods and services are much higher.