These Are The 20 Most Expensive Cities In America For 2018


We looked at cost of living metrics for every city in America over 100,000 people to determine which ones cost the most.

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Walk with me down memory lane for a quick example of how expensive some cities costs.

My old rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, CA in 2013 – $2,000.

My mortgage for a 4-bedroom house in Durham, NC in 2013 — $1,300.

The rent on that old apartment now… close to $4,000. My mortgage now? Still $1,300.

The cost of San Francisco was one the major factors in our decision to leave, but is San Francisco even the most expensive city in America? According to the most recent data, Yonkers, NY. What?

Well New York City didn’t have all the available indexes, so apparently Yonkers had to step in and take the top spot while San Francisco comes in at number 3.

Here’s the list of the most expensive cities in America for 2018:

  1. Yonkers (Photos | Homes)
  2. Jersey City (Photos | Homes)
  3. San Francisco (Photos | Homes)
  4. Sunnyvale (Photos | Homes)
  5. Berkeley (Photos | Homes)
  6. Santa Clara (Photos | Homes)
  7. Fremont (Photos | Homes)
  8. Daly City (Photos | Homes)
  9. Oakland (Photos | Homes)
  10. Cambridge (Photos | Homes)

The least expensive city in America? Laredo, TX.

While San Francisco might not have been able to take the top spot, twelve cities from California appear in the top 20 most expensive. A lot of that does in fact have to do with housing costs, but San Francisco didn’t take the top spot because things like services and groceries aren’t as expensive.

For more on the top twenty, read on. Or if you’re looking for some cheaper places to live, check out:

The Top 20 Most Expensive Cities In America

#1 Most Expensive City In America

Yonkers, NY

Population: 196,459

#2 Most Expensive City In America

Jersey City, NJ

Population: 248,435

#3 Most Expensive City In America

San Francisco, CA

Population: 807,755

#4 Most Expensive City In America

Sunnyvale, CA

Population: 141,123

#5 Most Expensive City In America

Berkeley, CA

Population: 112,662

#6 Most Expensive City In America

Santa Clara, CA

Population: 116,301

#7 Most Expensive City In America

Fremont, CA

Population: 215,188

#8 Most Expensive City In America

Daly City, CA

Population: 101,538

Daly City, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

#9 Most Expensive City In America

Oakland, CA

Population: 392,890

#10 Most Expensive City In America

Cambridge, MA

Population: 105,026

#11 Most Expensive City In America

Santa Rosa, CA

Population: 167,207

Santa Rosa, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

#12 Most Expensive City In America

Concord, CA

Population: 122,683

Concord, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

#13 Most Expensive City In America

Hayward, CA

Population: 145,165

#14 Most Expensive City In America

Richmond, CA

Population: 104,225

#15 Most Expensive City In America

Boston, MA

Population: 619,662

#16 Most Expensive City In America

Fairfield, CA

Population: 105,407

#17 Most Expensive City In America

Anchorage, AK

Population: 291,470

#18 Most Expensive City In America

Stamford, CT

Population: 122,878

Stamford, CT

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

#19 Most Expensive City In America

Vallejo, CA

Population: 116,417

#20 Most Expensive City In America

New Haven, CT

Population: 129,898

How We Determined The Most Expensive Cities To Live In The USA

To create our list of the most expensive cities in America, we looked to a cost of living index across several bundles of goods for every city over 100,000 for which there was data available.

This left us with 270 cities from across the country.

For these 270 major cities, we looked at the following criteria taken from the cost of living index:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Health Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

And just so you can better understand how the cost of living index works, 100 is the average cost of a place in the United States. A score of 90 means that the place cost 10% less than average.

San Francisco has a score of 243 meaning it’s almost 2.5 times as expensive as the average place in the country.

We ranked every city on each of these indexes, averaged the indexes into a score, and ranked the city with the best score as the “Most Expensive City In America For 2018”.

It’s important to note that by ranking these linearly we removed some of the impact of stupidly high rent. San Francisco has the highest rent in our database and is almost twice as much as Yonkers, but Yonkers has rent in the top 10%, so it balances out against other expenses.

There You Have It — The Most Expensive Big Cities in America

After measuring the cost of living in every city in the county, Yonkers is the most expensive there is to live.

My plan now? Stay in Durham for as long as I can — it’s one of the cheaper big cities to call home in America.

And for those playing at home, here’s a look at the least expensive cities in America:

  1. Laredo
  2. Erie
  3. Knoxville

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In The US

Rank City Population
1 Yonkers, NY 196,459
2 Jersey City, NJ 248,435
3 San Francisco, CA 807,755
4 Sunnyvale, CA 141,123
5 Berkeley, CA 112,662
6 Santa Clara, CA 116,301
7 Fremont, CA 215,188
8 Daly City, CA 101,538
9 Oakland, CA 392,890
10 Cambridge, MA 105,026
11 Santa Rosa, CA 167,207
12 Concord, CA 122,683
13 Hayward, CA 145,165
14 Richmond, CA 104,225
15 Boston, MA 619,662
16 Fairfield, CA 105,407
17 Anchorage, AK 291,470
18 Stamford, CT 122,878
19 Vallejo, CA 116,417
20 New Haven, CT 129,898
21 Carlsbad, CA 105,097
22 Lowell, MA 106,739
23 San Diego, CA 1,308,619
24 Oceanside, CA 167,799
25 Chula Vista, CA 242,499
26 Escondido, CA 144,311
27 Worcester, MA 181,473
28 Bellevue, WA 122,873
29 Hartford, CT 124,879
30 Providence, RI 178,185
31 Seattle, WA 612,916
32 Bridgeport, CT 144,446
33 Waterbury, CT 110,074
34 Springfield, MA 153,278
35 Roseville, CA 119,537
36 Irvine, CA 213,880
37 Huntington Beach, CA 191,403
38 Elk Grove, CA 151,639
39 Costa Mesa, CA 110,322
40 Orange, CA 136,891
41 Fullerton, CA 135,419
42 Thousand Oaks, CA 126,570
43 Torrance, CA 145,443
44 Pasadena, CA 137,316
45 Long Beach, CA 463,589
46 Anaheim, CA 337,471
47 Glendale, CA 192,537
48 West Covina, CA 106,290
49 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 165,775
50 Sacramento, CA 467,467
51 Simi Valley, CA 123,942
52 Los Angeles, CA 3,804,503
53 Downey, CA 111,807
54 Corona, CA 153,644
55 Santa Ana, CA 326,608
56 Santa Clarita, CA 175,922
57 Temecula, CA 100,621
58 Norwalk, CA 105,603
59 Manchester, NH 109,786
60 Murrieta, CA 102,345
61 Oxnard, CA 197,456
62 El Monte, CA 114,032
63 Ontario, CA 165,260
64 Inglewood, CA 110,225
65 Pomona, CA 149,431
66 Fontana, CA 196,129
67 Riverside, CA 306,128
68 East Los Angeles, CA 126,751
69 San Jose, CA 954,379
70 Stockton, CA 292,262
71 Moreno Valley, CA 193,758
72 Rialto, CA 100,009
73 Palmdale, CA 151,841
74 Portland, OR 585,888
75 Salinas, CA 150,634
76 Antioch, CA 102,575
77 Lancaster, CA 155,496
78 Eugene, OR 156,222
79 Victorville, CA 115,069
80 San Bernardino, CA 210,624
81 Philadelphia, PA 1,525,811
82 Paterson, NJ 145,655
83 Allentown, PA 117,942
84 Elizabeth, NJ 124,795
85 Kent, WA 108,700
86 Gresham, OR 105,612
87 Vancouver, WA 162,699
88 Newark, NJ 276,478
89 Enterprise, NV 113,150
90 Tacoma, WA 200,013
91 Henderson, NV 258,270
92 Modesto, CA 201,986
93 Salem, OR 154,835
94 Miami, FL 401,927
95 Everett, WA 103,135
96 Spring Valley, NV 178,673
97 Chicago, IL 2,702,471
98 Las Vegas, NV 587,699
99 North Las Vegas, NV 215,762
100 Frisco, TX 116,944

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