These Are The 10 Most Expensive Cities In California


We used science and data to determine which cities in California that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and California does this very well. Families love the Golden State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in California that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state. After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in California:

  1. Los Altos Hills (Photos)
  2. Hillsborough
  3. Woodside (Photos)
  4. Atherton (Photos)
  5. Los Altos (Photos)
  6. Tiburon (Photos)
  7. Saratoga (Photos)
  8. Palo Alto (Photos)
  9. Piedmont (Photos)
  10. Cupertino (Photos)

If you’re wondering, Calipatria is the most affordable city in California.

Read on to see why these places cost so much more than average. Or check out the most affordable places in California.

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How We Determined The Most Expensive Cities In California

There are basic necessities that you have to buy no matter where in the country you live. Those things include:

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

You can then compare the cost of these things in each of the places in California to figure out which is the most expensive.

For reference, the United State averages a cost of living 100. A score below 100 means that the city has a below average cost of living while a score over 100 has a high cost of living for that category.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 417 places in California that have more than 5,000 people.

The city with the highest cost of living index, Los Altos Hills, rank as being the most expensive.

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1. Los Altos Hills

Los Altos Hills, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,244
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 1563
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

2. Hillsborough

Source: Google Maps

Population: 11,148
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 1544
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

3. Woodside

Woodside, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,427
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 1337
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

4. Atherton

Atherton, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,034
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 1241
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

5. Los Altos

Los Altos, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,762
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 916
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

6. Tiburon

Tiburon, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,100
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 879
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

7. Saratoga

Saratoga, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,627
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 869
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

8. Palo Alto

Palo Alto, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 65,998
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 846
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

9. Piedmont

Piedmont, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,957
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 714
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

10. Cupertino

Cupertino, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 59,787
Services Index: 115
Groceries Index: 124
Housing Index: 708
Healthcare Index: 119
Transportation Index: 131
Utilities Index: 108

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck

Well there you have it, the places in California that have the highest cost of living, with Los Altos Hills ranking as the most exensive city in the Golden State.

If you’re curious, here are the most least expensive cities in California:

  1. Calipatria
  2. Arvin
  3. Woodlake

For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In California

City Rank Population Services Groceries Healthcare Housing Transportation Utilities
Los Altos Hills 1 8,244 115 124 119 1563 131 108
Hillsborough 2 11,148 115 124 119 1544 131 108
Woodside 3 5,427 115 124 119 1337 131 108
Atherton 4 7,034 115 124 119 1241 131 108
Los Altos 5 29,762 115 124 119 916 131 108
Tiburon 6 9,100 115 124 119 879 131 108
Saratoga 7 30,627 115 124 119 869 131 108
Palo Alto 8 65,998 115 124 119 846 131 108
Piedmont 9 10,957 115 124 119 714 131 108
Cupertino 10 59,787 115 124 119 708 131 108
Menlo Park 11 32,792 115 124 119 686 131 108
Burlingame 12 29,618 115 124 119 657 131 108
Los Gatos 13 30,163 115 124 119 617 131 108
Malibu 14 12,830 105 106 109 1180 120 112
Beverly Hills 15 34,536 105 106 109 1106 120 112
Larkspur 16 12,131 115 124 119 577 131 108
Mill Valley 17 14,178 115 124 119 539 131 108
San Marino 18 13,294 105 106 109 894 120 112
Lafayette 19 24,685 115 124 119 527 131 108
Palos Verdes Estates 20 13,568 105 106 109 738 120 112
Orinda 21 18,390 115 124 119 518 131 108
Manhattan Beach 22 35,534 105 106 109 736 120 112
Sausalito 23 7,043 115 124 119 496 131 108
Coronado 24 24,333 105 109 111 578 124 122
Rolling Hills Estates 25 8,184 105 106 109 660 120 112
San Carlos 26 29,166 115 124 119 410 131 108
Foster City 27 31,809 115 124 119 408 131 108
Laguna Beach 28 23,114 104 109 104 606 127 113
Newport Beach 29 86,594 104 109 104 584 127 113
Moraga 30 16,549 115 124 119 405 131 108
Millbrae 31 22,177 115 124 119 405 131 108
Danville 32 42,891 115 124 119 396 131 108
Corte Madera 33 9,478 115 124 119 395 131 108
Belmont 34 26,503 115 124 119 393 131 108
Solana Beach 35 13,146 105 109 111 438 124 122
Hermosa Beach 36 19,725 105 106 109 531 120 112
San Anselmo 37 12,527 115 124 119 365 131 108
Rancho Palos Verdes 38 42,282 105 106 109 453 120 112
Villa Park 39 5,911 104 109 104 443 127 113
Mountain View 40 76,741 115 124 119 350 131 108
Santa Monica 41 91,619 105 106 109 433 120 112
Redwood City 42 79,736 115 124 119 346 131 108
Calabasas 43 23,956 105 106 109 406 120 112
San Francisco 44 829,072 115 124 119 339 131 108
La Habra Heights 45 5,398 104 109 104 393 127 113
Half Moon Bay 46 11,803 115 124 119 334 131 108
San Mateo 47 100,114 115 124 119 332 131 108
San Ramon 48 73,826 115 124 119 329 131 108
Westlake Village 49 8,393 105 106 109 375 120 112
South Pasadena 50 25,914 105 106 109 371 120 112
San Rafael 51 58,588 115 124 119 326 131 108
Sunnyvale 52 145,921 115 124 119 324 131 108
Santa Barbara 53 89,669 100 106 102 389 115 119
Fairfax 54 7,546 115 124 119 316 131 108
Berkeley 55 115,688 115 124 119 315 131 108
Clayton 56 11,328 115 124 119 315 131 108
Arcadia 57 57,251 105 106 109 347 120 112
El Segundo 58 16,839 105 106 109 345 120 112
Dana Point 59 33,861 104 109 104 342 127 113
Santa Cruz 60 62,045 115 124 119 306 131 108
Campbell 61 40,327 115 124 119 305 131 108
Encinitas 62 61,008 105 109 111 328 124 122
San Clemente 63 64,673 104 109 104 340 127 113
Sierra Madre 64 11,060 105 106 109 339 120 112
Redondo Beach 65 67,511 105 106 109 334 120 112
Yorba Linda 66 66,335 104 109 104 330 127 113
Pacifica 67 38,283 115 124 119 295 131 108
Agoura Hills 68 20,630 105 106 109 329 120 112
Pleasanton 69 73,164 104 110 103 334 114 113
Albany 70 19,020 115 124 119 293 131 108
Laguna Niguel 71 64,299 104 109 104 322 127 113
Santa Clara 72 119,525 115 124 119 290 131 108
Alameda 73 75,763 115 124 119 288 131 108
Scotts Valley 74 11,711 115 124 119 288 131 108
San Bruno 75 42,090 115 124 119 287 131 108
Irvine 76 229,850 104 109 104 311 127 113
Fremont 77 221,654 115 124 119 285 131 108
Walnut 78 29,822 104 109 104 306 127 113
South San Francisco 79 65,537 115 124 119 282 131 108
Dublin 80 49,694 115 124 119 281 131 108
Novato 81 53,451 115 124 119 279 131 108
Pacific Grove 82 15,365 104 110 103 311 114 113
Carlsbad 83 109,296 105 109 111 292 124 122
Huntington Beach 84 195,686 104 109 104 299 127 113
Walnut Creek 85 65,923 115 124 119 274 131 108
El Cerrito 86 24,136 115 124 119 273 131 108
Cerritos 87 49,599 104 109 104 296 127 113
Thousand Oaks 88 128,126 105 106 109 297 120 112
Goleta 89 30,333 100 106 102 304 115 119
Monterey 90 28,053 104 110 103 300 114 113
Live Oak 91 8,500 115 133 120 253 154 136
Daly City 92 103,897 115 124 119 268 131 108
Indian Wells 93 5,089 105 109 111 280 124 122
Los Alamitos 94 11,598 104 109 104 288 127 113
Fountain Valley 95 56,440 104 109 104 287 127 113
Torrance 96 147,181 105 106 109 288 120 112
West Hollywood 97 35,053 105 106 109 286 120 112
Culver City 98 39,353 105 106 109 286 120 112
Pasadena 99 139,065 105 106 109 285 120 112
Pleasant Hill 100 33,842 115 124 119 254 131 108

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