Places With The Highest Cost Of Living by Ben Taylor, Career Trends

You probably know someone with a tech job in San Francisco or an advertising gig in New York. She eats at world-class restaurants, travels to foreign countries on business and boasts a LinkedIn profile sparkling with brand names and blockbuster deals. But what gets under your skin most is her salary, which rumors peg more than 50 percent higher than yours.

It’s enough to make any American envious — until you factor in the cost of living.

When adjusted for housing, food, transportation, childcare and other necessities, that six-figure paycheck leaves little left over. And just because your friend dines at Eleven Madison Park for once-per-year business dinners doesn’t mean she can afford a single entrée on her own dime.

At CareerTrends, part of the Graphiq network, we turned to the Economic Policy Institute to rank the 50 metros with the highest cost of living. A metro, or metropolitan statistical area, is defined by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Put simply, a “metro” must have a core central area with more than 50,000 people, as well as social and economic integration with nearby areas, measured by commuting ties.

For each metro on this list, we’ve broken down the overall cost of maintaining a secure but modest living in that area, highlighting categories like childcare, food and housing. We’ll list cost estimates for both single and married people, and visualize expenses for families ranging from zero to four children. We’ll also compare each metro’s costs to the cost of living for both the state and country at large, broken down by expense types.

The metros on the list are ranked by an overall cost of living index, a single percentage comparing each metro to the nation at large. The index takes into account every cost category and compares the overall figure to the national average. For example, a metro with a 50 percent index is 50 percent more expensive than the nation as a whole.

We’ll run down the list from No. 50, concluding with the most expensive metros of all — yes, places even pricier than the Big Apple or the City by the Bay.

Places With The Highest Cost Of Living

A previous version of this list rounded the cost of living index percentages to the nearest whole number, resulting in many ties. The list has been updated with percentages rounded to the nearest tenth, which changed the order of the list slightly. The overall list composition and order of the top 10 metros remain unchanged.

#50. Worcester, Massachusetts

Overall Cost of Living Index: 11.2% above the national average
Total Population: 924,722

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,493
Married Couple: $3,517
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,530
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,131

#49. Springfield, Massachusetts

Overall Cost of Living Index: 11.5% above the national average
Total Population: 626,775

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,533
Married Couple: $3,532
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,538
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,139

#48. Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Overall Cost of Living Index: 11.7% above the national average
Total Population: 163,658

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,259
Married Couple: $3,211
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,574
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,175

Note that for a few metros on this list — including Eau Claire — the cost of living with zero children is actually less than the national average. But with all family sizes included, these metros are indeed more expensive than the nation, on average.

#47. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York

Overall Cost of Living Index: 12.2% above the national average
Total Population: 1,135,667

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,337
Married Couple: $3,168
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,970
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,487

#46. Rochester, Minnesota

Overall Cost of Living Index: 12.3% above the national average
Total Population: 210,004

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,405
Married Couple: $3,355
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,610
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,203

#45. Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, California

Overall Cost of Living Index: 12.3%* above the national average
Total Population: 2,197,422

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,669
Married Couple: $3,702
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,232
Married Couple with Two Children: $5,775

*Note that Rochester, Minnesota and this metro have the same cost of living index. We broke the tie by looking at the monthly cost for a married couple.

#44. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin

Overall Cost of Living Index: 13% above the national average
Total Population: 1,565,368

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,342
Married Couple: $3,359
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,764
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,343

#43. Ocean City, New Jersey

Overall Cost of Living Index: 14.1% above the national average
Total Population: 96,286

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,472
Married Couple: $3,628
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,455
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,114

#42. Vallejo-Fairfield, California

Overall Cost of Living Index: 14.2% above the national average
Total Population: 421,624

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,669
Married Couple: $3,758
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,336
Married Couple with Two Children: $5,820

#41. Seattle-Bellevue, Washington

Overall Cost of Living Index: 14.3% above the national average
Total Population: 3,557,037

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,677
Married Couple: $3,691
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,414
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,023

#40. Madison, Wisconsin

Overall Cost of Living Index: 14.4% above the national average
Total Population: 620,368

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,452
Married Couple: $3,388
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,776
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,271

#39. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, New Jersey

Overall Cost of Living Index: 14.5% above the national average
Total Population: 157,429

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,737
Married Couple: $3,831
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,554
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,202

#38. Baltimore-Towson, Maryland

Overall Cost of Living Index: 15.7% above the national average
Total Population: 2,753,396

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,833
Married Couple: $3,807
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,708
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,202

#37. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania

Overall Cost of Living Index: 16.1% above the national average
Total Population: 6,015,336

Estimated Monthly Cost of Living for:
Single Adult: $2,814
Married Couple: $3,896
Single Parent with Two Children: $5,731
Married Couple with Two Children: $6,366

#36. Anchorage, Alaska

Overall

1, 23  - View Full Page