The 20 Most Expensive States to Live In

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The cost of living in the United States varies significantly from one state to the next. This can impact on where you choose to live, your standard of living, the amount of disposable income you have, whether you can save for the future, and your earning potential. Many factors can impact on the cost of living, such as averages earnings, the cost of buying or renting property, the price of essential goods, and service costs. These factors are taken into consideration and compared to the national average to give a score called the overall price parity. This is a method that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses to rank states according to the cost of living there. Based on the information collated by the BEA, here are the 20 most expensive states in which you can live in the United States according to overall price parity.

20. Maine – 98.4

In the twentieth position on the list of the 20 most expensive cities to live in the United States is Maine, according to News Week. With an overall price parity of 98.4, the overall cost of living is 1.6 percent lower than the average cost of living in the United States. Both goods and property rental are lower than average, but the cost of other services is five percent above average. People living in Maine have enjoyed a rise in their earnings, and the per capita income is around $44,094. The purchasing power of income is $44,811. It is worth noting that there are significant differences in the cost of living depending on where in Maine you live. Coastal locations and the main cities are usually more expensive than other areas in this state.

19. Pennsylvania – 98.4

The per capita income in Pennsylvania increases by an average of 1.8 percent per year. The last data shows that per capita income in this state is $50,730, while the purchasing power is $51,545. The overall price parity of this state is below average at 98.4. Other services cost 2.7 percent more than average, while the cost of goods is on par with other states at 99.4. The surprising element fo the cost of living in Pennsylvania is that rent costs around 11.2 percent less than average with a score of 88.8.

18. Illinois – 98.9

Despite being one of the most expensive states in which to live, Illinois is still lower than the national average, says City Rating. All aspects of the cost of living in this state are slightly lower than the national average for the United States. It also has decent purchasing power because the per capita income is $51,679, while the purchasing power is $52,254.

17. Rhode Island –  99.6

Although Rhode Island is in the top 20 most expensive states to live in the United States, the costs are actually below the national average in almost every respect. There is only rent that is more expensive than the national average and by just 0.6 percent. The per capita income for those living in Florida is $50,373 and the purchasing power is $50,575.

16. Florida – 99.7

Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, but it is also one of the most expensive states in which you can live. The overall price parity, the cost of goods, and the cost of other services are all slightly below the national average. It is the cost of property rental that makes this an expensive place to live as you can expect to pay 6.1 percent above the average cost. The purchasing power of income is $45,992, which is slightly higher than the per capita income of $45,855.

15. Oregon – 99.8

The cost of property and renting is what puts Oregon in the most expensive states at six percent above average. However, its overall price parity is below the national average at 99.8, due to the lower cost of goods and other services. There is very little difference between the per capita income and purchasing power of that income, as there is a difference of only $91 between the two figures.

14. Delaware – 100.2

Despite ranking in the most expensive states to live, Delaware has an overall price parity that is barely above the national average at 100.2. The cost of goods and rent are slightly below the national average, while services costs are 3.2 percent higher. Purchasing power is $47,741 against per capita income of $47,837.

13. Vermont – 101.6

Although Vermont is the thirteenth most expensive to live in the United States, there are some affordable areas in the state in which you can live, says Home Snacks. The cost of goods is slightly cheaper than the average, while the cost of other services is only 0.3 percent above the national average. However, rental costs are more than 13 percent higher than the average. The per capita income for Vermont is $50,084, but the purchasing power of income is $49,295.

12. Virginia – 102.3

In terms of the cost of goods, the cost of living in Virginia is slightly under the national average. Other services also differ only slightly from the average with a slightly higher cost of 0.8 percent. However, compared to the average for the United States, renting property costs 9.7 percent more. With an overall price parity of 102.3, this is the twelfth most expensive in the United States in which you can live. There has been a slight increase in the per capita income of people living in Virginia, as this is now $52,941.

11. Colorado – 103

The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranks Colorado as the eleventh most expensive state to live in the United States based on its overall price parity of 103, which means the cost of living is three percent greater than the national average. The Alaskan per capita income is $52,097, while the purchasing power of this income is $50,579.61. Although renting is 17.6 percent more than the national average, both goods and other services are less than average.

10. Alaska – 105.4

The purchasing power in Alaska is $52,822 compared to the per capita income of $55,674. At 105.4, the overall price parity of Alaska is 5.4 percent above the United States’ average. Renting property is fairly price at 37.5 percent above average. However, the cost of services is actually 3.4 percent lower than the average cost of services across the United States.

9. Washington – 105.5

It is worth noting that Washington D.C., which is the capital of both this state and the United States has a significantly higher overall price parity than the rest of the state at 115.9. However, the overall price parity of Washington is still 5.5 percent higher than the average at 105.5. The per capita income of this state is $54,632, while the purchasing power of this income is $51,784. Renting property is more than 16 percent higher than the average for the United States.

8. New Hampshire – 105.9

The cost of goods in New Hampshire is almost on par with the average cost in America at just 0.4 percent higher. It is the cost of property and rent that push up the overall price party of New Hampshire to 105.9. Renting a property is around 18.3 percent more expensive than the average cost of renting in the United States.

7. Massachusetts – 107.8

Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts, and it is also the most expensive city to live in the United States. It is the cost of living in Boston that has pushed up the figures for Massachusetts, says The State Update. The properties are particularly expensive, especially the historic brownstones. You can expect to pay 22.9 percent above the national average to rent properties in Massachusetts, and even more if you live in Boston. Overall, the cost of living in Massachusetts is 7.8 percent above the national average.

6. Connecticut – 108.7

Connecticut is a New England state that has some amazing historic houses and great entertainment options for residents. The standard of living is high in this state, but so is the cost of living there. With an overall price parity of 108.7, this state is 8.7 percent more expensive than the national average. The average salary in this state is high at $69,094, but the purchasing power is much lower at $63,564. Although the cost of goods is only a little over the national average, the cost or rent is 15.3 percent higher.

5. Maryland – 109.5

Maryland’s location next to Washington D.C. and the fact that the capital’s suburbs overspill into Maryland is one of the reasons why this state has such a high cost of living. The cost of living in Maryland is lower than living in the District of Colombia, so people who work in the capital often choose to live in Maryland and commute. However, Maryland has a higher cost of living than Washington. The average earnings in this state have increased gradually in recent years, and the average salary is now around $57,972. Renting property in Maryland costs around 22 percent more than the average for the United States.

4. New Jersey – 113.2

According to The State Update, the cost of living in New Jersey is so high because of its proximity to New York and Philadelphia. Commuting and housing are two of the biggest contributors to this state having an overall price parity of 113.2, which is 13.2 percent higher than the national average. Although this is a high earning state, the property taxes are exceptionally high and almost all aspects of living cost more than the average across the United States.

3. California – 114.4

The fact that California is a coastal state with a great climate makes it a desirable place to live. This pushes up property prices and people pay 48,4 percent higher rents in this state. This is the predominant reason that this state has an overall price parity of 114.4. The average salary in this state is $56,308 but the purchasing power figure is $49,220.

2. New York – 115.6

New York is the most expensive mainland state in which you can live in the United States with an overall price parity of 115.6. Almost all aspects of living in this city are higher than the average cost of living in the United States. This means that despite the fact that the average salary is high at $58,324, the purchasing power of someone living in New York is $51,288.06. Rent in this city is 33.2 percent higher than the national average, while the cost of goods is 9 percent higher than the average across the states.

1. Hawaii – 118.4

With an overall price parity of 118.4, News Week ranks Hawaii as the most expensive city to live in the United States. Those living in Hawaii have one of the highest average salaries at $50,358 per year. However, because the cost of living in this state is 18.4 percent above the national average, this means that their real purchasing power is much less at $42,676. One of the most significant factors that give this state such a high overall price parity is the cost of buying or renting a property. In fact, rent is 57.4 percent more expensive in Hawaii than the national average. The cost of services is only slightly higher than the national average as Hawaii has a services parity of 103.5.


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