These Are The 20 Most Expensive Cities In America For 2019


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

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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 Los Angeles, 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 Los Angeles was one the major factors in our decision to leave, but is Los Angeles even the most expensive city in America? According to the most recent data, Glendale, CA. What?

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

Here’s the list of the most expensive cities in America for 2019:

  1. Glendale (Photos | Homes)
  2. Costa Mesa (Photos | Homes)
  3. Los Angeles (Photos | Homes)
  4. El Monte (Photos | Homes)
  5. New York (Photos | Homes)
  6. Inglewood (Photos | Homes)
  7. El Cajon (Photos | Homes)
  8. Santa Ana (Photos | Homes)
  9. Boston (Photos | Homes)
  10. Boulder (Photos | Homes)

The least expensive city in America? Fort Wayne, IN.

While Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles 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

Glendale, CA

Population: 197,895

Glendale, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

#2 Most Expensive City In America

Costa Mesa, CA

Population: 112,439

#3 Most Expensive City In America

Los Angeles, CA

Population: 3,918,872

#4 Most Expensive City In America

El Monte, CA

Population: 115,665

El Monte, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

#5 Most Expensive City In America

New York, NY

Population: 8,461,961

#6 Most Expensive City In America

Inglewood, CA

Population: 111,012

#7 Most Expensive City In America

El Cajon, CA

Population: 102,894

#8 Most Expensive City In America

Santa Ana, CA

Population: 333,605

#9 Most Expensive City In America

Boston, MA

Population: 658,279

Boulder, CO

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

#10 Most Expensive City In America

Boulder, CO

Population: 105,420

#11 Most Expensive City In America

Oceanside, CA

Population: 173,829

#12 Most Expensive City In America

Berkeley, CA

Population: 118,585

#13 Most Expensive City In America

Anaheim, CA

Population: 346,776

#14 Most Expensive City In America

Irvine, CA

Population: 246,992

#15 Most Expensive City In America

Garden Grove, CA

Population: 174,676

Escondido, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

#16 Most Expensive City In America

Cambridge, MA

Population: 108,757

#17 Most Expensive City In America

Miami, FL

Population: 432,622

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

#18 Most Expensive City In America

Fullerton, CA

Population: 139,491

#19 Most Expensive City In America

Escondido, CA

Population: 149,912

#20 Most Expensive City In America

Oakland, CA

Population: 412,040

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

How We Determined The Most Expensive Cities To Live In The USA For 2019

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 280 cities from across the country.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in California to figure out which is the least expensive.

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 2019”.

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, Glendale 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. Fort Wayne
  2. Wichita Falls
  3. Topeka

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In The US For 2019

Rank City Population
1 Glendale, CA 197,895
2 Costa Mesa, CA 112,439
3 Los Angeles, CA 3,918,872
4 El Monte, CA 115,665
5 New York, NY 8,461,961
6 Inglewood, CA 111,012
7 El Cajon, CA 102,894
9 Santa Ana, CA 333,605
10 Boston, MA 658,279
11 Boulder, CO 105,420
13 Oceanside, CA 173,829
16 Berkeley, CA 118,585
17 Anaheim, CA 346,776
18 Irvine, CA 246,992
19 Garden Grove, CA 174,676
20 Cambridge, MA 108,757
21 Miami, FL 432,622
22 Fullerton, CA 139,491
23 Escondido, CA 149,912
24 Oakland, CA 412,040
25 Long Beach, CA 469,793
26 Paterson, NJ 146,894
27 Pomona, CA 151,807
28 San Diego, CA 1,374,812
29 Santa Rosa, CA 173,165
30 San Mateo, CA 102,224
31 Huntington Beach, CA 198,724
32 Newark, NJ 280,139
33 Oxnard, CA 204,752
34 Pasadena, CA 140,268
35 Elizabeth, NJ 128,042
36 Norwalk, CA 106,360
37 Ontario, CA 169,389
38 Orange, CA 139,919
39 San Buenaventura (Ventura), CA 109,067
40 San Francisco, CA 850,282
41 Stamford, CT 127,410
42 Salinas, CA 155,889
43 Santa Maria, CA 103,642
44 West Covina, CA 107,634
45 Hayward, CA 154,507
46 Richmond, CA 108,303
47 Yonkers, NY 199,725
48 Torrance, CA 147,307
49 Carlsbad, CA 112,008
50 Santa Clara, CA 122,725
51 San Jose, CA 1,009,363
52 Downey, CA 113,223
53 Chula Vista, CA 260,598
54 Fort Lauderdale, FL 175,153
55 Thousand Oaks, CA 128,623
56 Sunnyvale, CA 149,596
57 New Orleans, LA 382,922
58 College Station, TX 104,684
59 New Haven, CT 130,405
62 Concord, CA 126,938
63 Antioch, CA 108,675
64 Lowell, MA 109,871
65 Corona, CA 161,614
66 Hialeah, FL 235,626
67 Simi Valley, CA 126,126
68 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 173,309
69 Eugene, OR 161,649
70 Murrieta, CA 108,583
71 Santa Clarita, CA 180,303
72 Moreno Valley, CA 202,061
73 Riverside, CA 318,678
74 Alexandria, VA 151,473
75 Sacramento, CA 484,530
76 San Bernardino, CA 214,581
77 Richmond, VA 216,773
78 Providence, RI 178,851
79 Hartford, CT 124,320
80 Rialto, CA 102,418
81 West Palm Beach, FL 104,978
82 Fremont, CA 227,934
83 Vallejo, CA 119,644
85 Seattle, WA 668,849
86 Everett, WA 106,580
87 Fort Collins, CO 157,251
88 Fairfield, CA 110,953
89 Temecula, CA 108,965
90 Coral Springs, FL 127,673
91 Worcester, MA 183,677
92 Tallahassee, FL 188,466
93 Wilmington, NC 113,724
94 Bellevue, WA 136,718
95 Pembroke Pines, FL 164,753
96 Hollywood, FL 148,114
97 Palmdale, CA 156,823
98 Bridgeport, CT 147,022
101 Pompano Beach, FL 106,004
102 Atlanta, GA 456,378
104 Gainesville, FL 128,610
105 Denver, CO 663,303
106 Fresno, CA 513,807
107 Norfolk, VA 245,724
108 Orlando, FL 263,306
109 Lancaster, CA 159,651
110 Miramar, FL 133,741

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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