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Costly cities are costly for a reason. Be it climate, geography, culture, economic prosperity or all of the above, the most expensive U.S. cities to live in offer amenities and opportunities for which residents are willing to pay a premium to access. It’s simply the price of admission to enjoy the advantages a desirable place has to offer.
“It’s all about trade-offs and opportunity costs when choosing to live in one place over another,” says Jennie Allison of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, a nonprofit research and policy group. “In Hawaii, this is called a ‘Paradise Tax,’ and in Florida many people are likely familiar to the reference of the ‘Sunshine Tax.’” On the plus side, notes Allison: Wages are often higher in these cities, too, which makes a steeper cost of living more manageable.
We compiled our list of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in based on the Council for Community and Economic Research’s calculations of living expenses in 288 urban areas. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services such as getting your hair done or going to a movie. Take a closer look at the nation’s most expensive cities.