Top 15 Most Expensive Major U.S. Cities in 2023

These cities are hotspots for tourism, tech, movie sets, and more, but how much does it cost to live in a superstar metropolitan area? Cost of living can be analyzed and broken down into an affordability range for commodities, such as housing, consumables, transportation, and health care, as well as income and payroll taxes. 

Here are our top 15 most expensive U.S. cities to live in based on the annual salary of $72,000 and rent for a 2,200 square foot apartment for a family of 4 with 2 cars using ERI SalaryExpert’s cost-of-living calculator. For reference, the United States national average for comparable rent is $2,791.

  1. San Francisco, California

San Franciso, located in northern California and known as the “City by the Bay,” has the highest  cost of living in the U.S.  Be prepared to find a roommate or look for a tiny home with cost of living being 102% higher than our national average. Average rent for a family of 4 in San Francisco would be, on average, $8,157 a month.

 

 

  1. Boston, Massachusetts

Home to the first lighthouse built in the U.S., Boston has a cost of living that is 79.4% higher than our national average. A family of 4 could expect to pay an average of $7,126 monthly for rent. 

 

 

  1. New York, New York

“The Big Apple” is the city so nice, they named it twice. The cost of living in New York City is 78.3% more expensive than our national average.  Rent for a family of 4 would run an average of $6,934 a month. That’s a $1,223 difference between San Francisco and New York City. 

 

 

  1. Los Angeles, California

The “City of Angels,” Los Angeles’ cost of living is 74.1% more than our U.S. national average. When moving here, you can enjoy the beach, mountains, and city all within a short distance. To enjoy this luxury, you can expect to pay an average of $6,802 monthly rent for a family of 4.  

 

 

  1. San Diego, California

The biggest producer of avocados in the U.S., San Diego’s cost of living is 67.6% over our national average. Enjoying both the city and beach comes at a price. For a family of 4, be ready to spend an average monthly rent of $6,392. 

 

 

  1. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., while technically not a city or a state, is the sixth most expensive major area in the U.S. Cost of living in Washington, D.C., is 61.7% higher than our national average. A family of 4 living in the nation’s capital could pay a monthly rent of $6,229. 

 

 

  1. San Jose, California

Nicknamed the “Capitol of Silicon Valley,” San Jose is a major technology hub in California’s bay area. The cost of living is 61.3% more than our national average, with a monthly rent average of $5,903. 

 

 

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii

In the state of coffee and pineapples, Honolulu’s cost of living is 60.9% above our national average. This equates to a monthly rent of $5,725 on average.  

 

 

  1. Oakland, California

Home to the nation’s first formally declared wildlife refuge, cost of living in Oakland is 58.5% over our U.S. average. The average monthly rent for a family of 4 is $5,699. 

 

 

  1. Miami, Florida

Known as the “Magic City,” Miami has a unique and exciting mix of hip urban culture and laid-back seaside vibes, infused with Latin traditions. The cost of living in Miami is 52.5% over our U.S. average. The average monthly rent for a family of 4 is $5,934.

 

 

  1. Seattle, Washington

Home of the world-famous Space Needle, the cost of living in Seattle is 51.7% over our U.S. average. The monthly rent for a family of 4 is $5,380. 

 

 

  1. Chicago, Illinois

With amazing architecture, vibrant music, and iconic deep-dish pizza, cost of living in Chicago is 43.6% over our U.S. average. The average monthly rent for a family of 4 is $5,262. 

 

 

  1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Like Miami, Fort Lauderdale is known for its beaches, art, culture, and events. Although more affordable than Miami, the cost of living in Fort Lauderdale is 43.6% over our U.S. average. You can expect the average monthly rent for a family of 4 to be $5,406. 

 

 

  1. New Brunswick, New Jersey

New Brunswick, known as “the heart of New Jersey,” is both a college town and a commuter town for residents commuting to New York. Cost of living is 38.8% over our U.S. average. Although the average monthly rent in New Brunswick is $1,867 cheaper than New York, residents can still expect to pay an average monthly rent for a family of 4 of $5,067. 

 

 

  1. Denver, Colorado

Home to many major sports teams and the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver has a cost of living that is 31.6% over our U.S. average. The average monthly rent for a family of 4 is $4,598. 

 

 

How does your hometown compare to the most expensive cities? 

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