Thursday, January 23, 2014

The 25 Most Expensive Cities in America

U.S. cities with the highest cost-of-living, according to Expatistan.

Expatistan pegs its cost of living index on rent, entertainment, clothing, food staples, public transportation costs and many other variables.

25. San Jose
24. Minneapolis
23. Nashville, Tenn.
22. Tampa, Fla.
21. Detroit
20. Denver
19. Dallas
18. Baltimore
17. Houston
16. Atlanta
15. Pittsburgh
14. Chicago
13. San Diego
12. Portland, Ore.
11. Sacramento
10. Oklahoma City
9. Los Angeles
8. Buffalo, N.Y
7. Seattle
6. Philadelphia
5. Boston
4. Washington, D.C.
3. Honolulu
2. San Francisco
1. New York City

Notes from Expatistan : 

NYC monthly rent is $4,078 versus close second San Francisco’s $3,769. One of the biggest differences between the two  cities is transportation; New York City’s being 45 percent more expensive.

San Francisco has a higher cost of living than international cities of Sydney, Hong Kong and Milan.

 Boston’s housing is 34 percent more expensive than in Philadelphia.

In Buffalo, NY, a basic dinner out for two in a neighborhood pub costs $90.

Monthly rent is $2,306 and food, housing and clothes are each 21 percent more expensive in Los Angeles than they are in Chicago.

 Monthly rent in a 900-square-foot apartment in a pricey area of Detroit is only $1,293.

The cost of living in Tampa, Fla. is 34 percent cheaper than in San Francisco.

According to Expatistan’s cost comparison tool, the cost of living in Minneapolis is 47 percent more expensive than Prague in the Czech Republic.

In San Jose, a furnished apartment goes for $1,505 and a basic dinner for two in a neighborhood pub costs $37.
RW question for any EPJ readers who live in Buffalo, NY: Does a basic dinner  for two in a neighborhood pub really cost $90, as Expatistan reports? .


  1. Buffalo, NY dinners. Uh.. No. Unless you're dinning out somewhere where the higher end paid people would hang out at, but even this is odd. The housing tax sux though. I think Expatistan may consider higher end eat-outs as normal, though some of NYC extravagance tends to come up here but for the most part Buffalo is a dying town. In fact, when I first came out here from California (Sacramento), I noticed it was considerably cheaper for everything other than property taxes.

    Rochester, NY

  2. Bob,

    Typical pub meal with drinks for 2 around Buffalo is ~$45.


  3. The Buffalo NY rank threw me immediately, and even more so after reading $90 dinner for two at a pub. Growing up there, you realize one of the very few benefits of living in Buffalo is how cheap it is. Rent and housing prices are very modest. You can get very cheap tuition through SUNY Buffalo as a NY resident. Yes, you could find a place where a dinner for two is $90, but at a neighborhood pub? I'd like to know what local pub they're talking about because that seems rediculous.

  4. Went to Buffalo for sales calls and out to eat at a neighborhood pub. No way 90 bucks. Buffalo is more akin in local costs to a second tier rustbelt city like Toledo than these other places. I like Buffalo NY. Problem with NY is taxes - 10% state income tax. We almost moved to San Francisco area with my family, and chose Florida instead. Can't justify the increased tax burden, and increased residential costs, etc. for not any better weather or quality of life. SF is great if you are raising money for a startup. For everyone else that can telecommute, there are better places that give you more bang for the buck.

  5. As a Buffalo native born and raised, I had bought into the idea that Buffalo was a cheap city to live in. After starting to look around the country at other places to live, not so much. Is a dinner for two $90, that's a bit much, but $60 is not out of bounds.
    Also it looks like the data on Buffalo might be skewed by outliers. As asked for by the site, I added some data, including $60 for a dinner for 2 and it took the $90 down to $70.
    Still and all, Buffalo is has been becoming a more and more expensive city as the wealth is drained out of the productive class and the people who are able leave (myself included in the latter category hopefully soon).

  6. Buffalo higher than LA & San Diego renders this list complete useless imo.

    Brand new 4 BR 2800 sq house in BUF 'burbs can be had for $300K. In the best school districts. The kind of place you could live 30 years in w/ your kids.

    $3 Labatt Blues at any bar, at any time. Great summers. Don't believe the hype.

    NYS taxes are horrible, no doubt. But it's a great place to live if you have a good job. Those who get the good jobs there rarely give them up. Brian, above, bitching about Brain Drain - that's been a problem for the city since the '70s.

  7. These cost of living analyses always seem to leave off the most important thing: taxes. I used to live in San Francisco and was making decent money but getting nowhere. I moved to Singapore and my take home pay literally doubled because of the lower tax rates. Granted, the nominal prices (factoring in exchange rate) are certainly higher here than in SF, but with double the take home pay the cost was relatively way lower. It's a tricky thing to measure, but it's critical when factoring in cost of living.

  8. The only "neighborhood pub" that I'd believe this of is Mulberry-and it's worth it! I'm a server at a more expensive, but casual, establishment and a table of two is spending around $40 on average (before tip), including an alcoholic beverage or two. Rent is cheap, entertainment is inexpensive and easily found, people are friendly-unless you're behind the wheel of a car. Love it here in Buffalo. PS-I'm from Sacramento too & I'll never go back.