46. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia
> City cost of living: 99.3
> State cost of living: 103.2
> City median rent paid: $1,052
> City median household income: $56,161
Virginia is one of the few states in which the most expensive city is actually cheaper than the state as a whole. While the cost of living in Virginia is 3.2% more expensive than the average cost nationwide, the cost of living in the Virginia Beach metro area is 0.7% less expensive than the nationwide cost. Despite its relative affordability, the Virginia Beach area is more expensive than the eight other metropolitan areas in the state, with a regional price parity nearly 12% higher than Blacksburg, the state’s least expensive city.
47. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> City cost of living: 107.0
> State cost of living: 103.2
> City median rent paid: $1,135
> City median household income: $67,479
Of the 11 metropolitan areas in Washington, Seattle has the highest regional price parity and is one of only three that are more expensive than the state as a whole. In the Seattle area, the higher cost of living comes with higher income. Per capita income in the metro area is over $5,000 more than the per capita income in Washington as a whole. Real estate in the city is also more expensive. The median home value in the Seattle area is $57,100 more than the statewide median home value.
48. Charleston, West Virginia
> City cost of living: 89.8
> State cost of living: 88.6
> City median rent paid: $644
> City median household income: $45,251
West Virginia has the sixth lowest cost of living in the country. While Charleston is the most expensive city in the state, its cost of living is not much higher than the statewide cost of living or most of the six other metropolitan areas in the state. In Beckley, the least expensive city in West Virginia, the cost of living is only 4.7% lower than in Charleston. With the regional price parity dropping to 89.8 from 91.1 the previous year, the dollar is going further for Charleston residents. Furthermore, per capita income in Charleston increased to $44,721 in 2012 from $43,453 the previous year.
49. Madison, Wisconsin
> City cost of living: 97.9
> State cost of living: 92.9
> City median rent paid: $875
> City median household income: $59,466
While the regional price parity across Wisconsin declined slightly from the previous year, the cost of living in Madison, the state’s capital, increased over that time. Home to over half a million people, income per capita in Madison is $46,570, nearly $4,000 more than income per capita across the state. Costing 9.3% more than it does on average nationwide, rent was especially expensive. In Madison, 9.2% of renters paid more than $1,500, compared to the just 4.5% of renters across the state.
50. Casper, Wyoming
> City cost of living: 97.8
> State cost of living: 96.4
> City median rent paid: $804
> City median household income: $58,635
The cost of living is relatively level across Wyoming. Of the two metropolitan areas in the state, Casper’s regional price parity is only slightly higher than the price parity of 96.3 in Cheyenne.Similarly, the cost of living in Casper is only 1.5% higher than statewide expenses. However, Casper may become even more expensive in relation to the rest of the state. From the year before the most current available data, Wyoming’s relative cost of living declined 0.5% while Casper’s increased by 1%.