The cost of living includes all the costs a person has to pay to meet their wants, such as food, housing, health care, and transportation. The cost of living can be very different from one state to the next, with the highest costs being in big cities. The most expensive places to live are in the Northeast, along the Pacific Coast, and in states that do not touch each other.
The cost-of-living number is compared to the average index for the United States, which is 100. So if the number is greater than 100, that index is higher than the national average, and if it is below 100, it is below the national average.
The following are the 10 Most Expensive States To Live In For 2023:
The state of Hawaii is incredibly beautiful and the most beautiful state to live in. It’s no wonder they receive so many tourists, vacationers and honeymooners. However, this beauty does come at a cost.
When you live in Hawaii, you pay more for everything than any other state. With a cost of living score of 193.3, Hawaii’s living expenses are nearly double the national average. Except for healthcare, Hawaii has the highest costs across all indices. A typical single-family residence costs three times the national average, averaging $730,511. One of the lowest rates in the nation. Only 29% of the state’s residents can afford to purchase a residence.
The Median Household cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii is $2,490. In Honolulu, a two-bedroom costs $3,500 a month. Your groceries cost you roughly 60% more than the national average, as most goods have to be shipped to the island. You don’t just pay for your groceries alone as the mainlanders do. You basically pay delivery charges too. But even though the cost of living is high, Hawaii has the fourth-lowest poverty rate.
- Population(2022): 1.44 milion
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $12.00
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $75,797
2. New York
New York is the most expensive state on the mainland. It is one of the world’s most costly places to live. Every part of living in the state costs more than the average living in the rest of the country. Unsurprisingly, about 1.5 million people in the state could be better.
The city has a 154% higher cost of living than the national rate. The average cost of a home in NY is 2.3 times the national average, making it the second most expensive place in the U.S. to live. A two-bedroom flat in New York costs an average of $1,659. A similar flat in New York City costs an average of $5,874.
- Population(2022): 19.68 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $14.20
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $63,548
The Golden State! That name itself should give you a hint. A state literally made of gold would be expensive, and though California isn’t covered in gold, it sure is expensive. Being a coastal state is synonymous with a higher cost of living. California is home to a number of major cities, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It has incredibly high housing and transportation rates that don’t faze the numerous rich folk that live there.
Do you drive a car, a bike or anything that runs on gasoline? Well, be ready to pay upwards of $4 for a gallon of fuel. That is at least a dollar more than the national average. So your average monthly energy bill will be around $230 to $250.
With a cost of living index of 142.2, California is the third-most costly state in the United States. In addition, because California has the highest petrol prices, the state has the second-highest transportation costs in the country. A typical single-family residence is priced at $683,995, which is double the national average.
California has the second-lowest homeownership rate in the nation. In California, the average two-bedroom flat costs $1,884. However, costs are significantly higher in major metropolitan areas such as L.A. and San Francisco, where rents are among the nation’s costliest. It also has the highest homelessness rate in the United States. So, the high cost of living does leave wallets empty if you do not have the income to fund the Californian lifestyle.
- Population(2022): 39.03 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $15.50
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $65,895
Massachusetts ranked fourth as the most expensive US State. Did you know Massachusetts is considered one of the most educated states in the country? Its importance in education is highlighted by the vast number of schools in the state, boasting around 41% of adults having at least a bachelor’s degree. With the job market booming in the state, it has also become one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Massachusetts is one of the places with the best quality of life because it’s hospitals and educational institutions are so good.
Massachusetts, with a cost of living index of 135, is the fourth most expensive state in the country. Massachusetts’ housing costs are 77% higher than the national average, with Boston having the highest prices. The average Massachusetts single-family residence costs $518,203. A typical two-bedroom flat costs $1,645 per month to rent. Boston’s rents are nearly three times the state average.
The cost of groceries is 19% higher than the national rate, and the cost of health insurance is 18% higher. Yet, despite the high cost of living, Massachusetts has a relatively low poverty rate, with only 9 per cent of residents residing below the poverty line.
- Population(2022): 6.98 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $15.00
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $75,077
A beautiful state with alarmingly fast economic growth over the last two decades and a place on the list of the states with the highest cost of living.
Living cost in Oregon is over the national average, ranking it as the 5th most expensive state in the country. Oregon has among the highest housing costs in the USA, despite having some of the lowest utility rates. The median price of a detached house in Oregon is $447,968. Less than a quarter of the population can afford a brand-new home, making housing affordability one of the worst in the country.
Though it has rent control laws to make a living more affordable to its population, rent can cost upwards of $1300. Transportation costs are the third highest in the country, and if you love coffee, you’ll be paying a premium compared to the rest of the UAS. Healthcare is 18% higher than the national average. It also has a high tax rate of almost 10%
- Population(2022): 4.24 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $14.20
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $64,975
Alaska ranks as the sixth most expensive state in the USA. In addition, it has the most expensive health care in the country. The average cost of a single-family home is $300,592, which is 26.9% higher than the national average. In Alaska, a two-bedroom flat costs an average of $1,234 monthly.
Alaska ships its food and goods in. But, just like we saw with Hawaii earlier, Alaska needs to produce its own goods. Being in the middle of nowhere and the furthest state from the mainland United States, in some frost-bitten corner of the world, makes it really difficult and expensive to ship goods to the state and within the state. This makes your groceries’ price 42% higher than the national average.
Alaskan winters are long, dark and cold, just like your bank statement after you pay those utility bills, which are 70% higher than the national average. Snow is fun, but all that energy you use to light your house and keep it warm will make you broke, which is not so fun.
Oil dividends are another source of income growth for Alaskans. Alaskans earn a high median income, yet the state frequently ranks near the bottom in quality of life measures, including education, safety, and economic opportunity.
- Population(2022): 733,583
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $10.85
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $67,010
Maryland ranked seventh as the most expensive US State. Its proximity to Washington DC makes commuting to work in the capitol convenient. Maryland is the seventh-most expensive state in the United States. The home market is higher than the national average by about 20%, but the state boasts one of the higher homeownership rates on this list by almost 67%. The rent in the state is roughly $1,200 a month, making it 22% more than the national average.
Sure, the state might be expensive to live in, but it proudly boasts a poverty rate of 8.2%, making it the second lowest in the United States. You may not pay as much as other states on this list for utilities, but don’t let that fool you. The transportation and healthcare industry will use whatever you save up in utilities.
- Population(2022): 6.16 million
- Minimum Wage (per hour): $13.25
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $75,214
Connecticut is known as the nutmeg state. The state may sound like the most exciting place to live in, but it is expensive. It’s not really a surprise considering the third smallest state of the United States. Its cost of living index is 121.6, making it the ninth most expensive state in the country. In addition, at 4.9%, The state has one of the most rates of unemployment in the country.
The average rent is 15% per cent higher than the national average. You can pay $215 to $220 a month on the energy bill alone. The average cost of a single-family home in the state is $318,096, while the monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat is $1,485. Utilities are among the most expensive in the country, averaging $438.21 per month.
Do you like your alcohol? Well, alcohol costs are higher than in other states in the country. So you would pay double the price for your poison of choice here. So if you have a drinking problem, you may not want to move here. Moving here might eliminate that drinking problem because you will be too broke to afford that liquor.
- Population(2022): 3.62 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $15.00
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $72,497
9. Rhode Island
Rhode Island is a U.S. state in New England known for its sand beaches and Colonial towns along the water. It’s quirky with its beaches and towns with architecture from a bygone era, and it can easily give you the idea of living a simple life if you can afford it. But, unfortunately, Rhode Island’s cost of living is 22% higher than the national average.
With a cost of living index of 117.2, Rhode Island ranks as the ninth most expensive state in the United States. A typical single-family dwelling costs $372,809, 21% higher than the national average. When living there, the average rent is somewhere between $1300 to $1500 a month.
Your groceries are approximately 8% higher than the national average, and utilities are around $552 or 36% higher. Healthcare is already costly in the United States; in Rhode Island, it’s 7% higher than the national average.
It’s a great place to live, no doubt. Just make sure you have the funds and income to do that.
- Population(2022): 1.09 million
- Minimum Wage(per hour): $13.00
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner(annually): $67,541
Vermont is a state in the Northeast of the United States. It is known for its primarily forested natural scenery. It is part of the New England area and is known for having over 100 covered wooden bridges from the 19th century and for making a lot of maple syrup. Hiking tracks and ski slopes go through thousands of acres of mountain land.
Vermont is the tenth most expensive state in the U.S. Overall. The costs are 17% higher than the average cost across the country. A single-family home in Vermont costs $299,998, the eighth most expensive in the country. But the state has the least affordable housing in the country. Only 15% of people there make enough money to buy a new house. An average flat with two bedrooms costs $980 a month.
- Population (2022): 647,000
- Minimum Wage (per hour): $13.18
- Median Household Income for 1 Earner (annually): $58,728
Here is a full list of the most expensive U.S. states to live in:
|State||Cost Index||Housing Score||Grocery Score||Utilities Score||Transportation Score|
If you are looking to move or start afresh in a new state with a new family, it’s always good to make sure you have an income that can sustain your lifestyle and the lifestyle of those you bring along.
These are statistically the most expensive states; the numbers don’t lie. But the numbers are not everything. Each state offers a unique experience, from the vibrant Hawaiian heritage to the frosty Alaskan weather. Sure, there is no point in moving somewhere you find yourself spiralling towards bankruptcy, but if you can afford to live in any of these states, plus the lifestyle and employment opportunity it offers matches your needs, then why not?