These Are The 10 Most Expensive States In America For 2019

We looked at the most recent MIT living wage data to determine the states in America where you need some serious cash to get by.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is HomeSnacks’ second time ranking the most expensive states in the US.

Most Expensive States In America Map

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There are some places in the country where you can earn a lot of money and still feel poor. We’re talking San Francisco or New York City — where a 2 bedroom apartment costs over $4,000 a month on average.

Well, thank god we don’t have to live there.

Instead, we can choose to live in some of the cheapest places in the country. Where a dollar of income goes way further than the big cities mentioned earlier. Take Mississippi, the cheapest state in the country this year according to MIT’s Living Wage data.

A family of 2 adults and 1 child requires $48,537 to reach a living wage in Mississippi. That’s almost 30% cheaper than California where it takes $68,190 to reach a living wage.

Here’s a quick look at the 10 cheapest states to live in America according to MIT’s living wage data:

  1. California (Photos)
  2. New York (Photos)
  3. Massachusetts (Photos)
  4. Maryland (Photos)
  5. Connecticut (Photos)
  6. New Jersey (Photos)
  7. Colorado (Photos)
  8. Virginia (Photos)
  9. Hawaii (Photos)
  10. Alaska (Photos)

And for those playing at home, a living wage in the San Francisco Metro clocks in a staggering $81,795.

The data for this analysis comes from the MIT living wage. So if one of the top research universities in the world says you’re expensive, you’re real expensive.

For exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on. Or if you’re so rich you do not care about this list, check out:

How We Determined The Most Expensive States In The US For 2019

When we at HomeSnacks normally measure how expensive a place to live is we check in on whats called a cost of living index. That analyzes the costs of goods in basket of things like housing, milk, utilities, and gas across the country.

But for this analysis we had an even better source — MIT’s Living Wage data.

The team at MIT compiles the best set of geographical data on what a family of various sizes can realistically expect to spend to live a decent life each year. Not super comfy, but not in poverty.

In particular they look at the cost of the following items:

  • Food
  • Child Care
  • Medical
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Other Personal Necessities
  • Taxes

They just updated their data at the begining of 2019, so we can take a fresh look at it.

Specifically, this analysis uses their average required wage for two adults and one child in every states. We ranked the living wage from highest to lowest with the highest being most expensive.

The highest state, California, was crowned the most expensive state to live in America for 2019. (Although DC would like to have a word if you consider that a state.)

Here’s a look at the top ten.

1. California

California|Ca, CA

Living Wage: $68,190
Housing: $19,875
Child Care: $8,311

After living in California for 8 years, I’m not surprised to see it at the top of this list.

We moved about 5 years ago and our apartment in San Francisco now costs 2x as much as it used it. It’s insane.

But we don’t use intuition for these rankings, we use data. And the MIT data shows California will set you back over $66k a year to live semi comfortably.

2. New York

New-York|Ny, NY

Living Wage: $67,419
Housing: $17,896
Child Care: $10,602

The 2nd most expensive state in the nation would be the California of the east coast — New York.

Now that I just pissed everyone from New York by calling it that, I can tell you that the living wage there only comes in $200 less than California. That’s like a sandwich at Katz deli every day for 2 weeks.

God those are delicious and expensive, just like New York generally.

3. Massachusetts

Massachusetts|Ma, MA

Source: Public domain

Living Wage: $66,376
Housing: $17,721
Child Care: $12,373

Massachusetts likes to think of itself as the smartest state in the country with all of to fancy institutions (Looking at you MIT data people), but all those smarts cost a lot apparently.

Massachusetts clocks in atlas the third most expensive state in the country.

I guess all you need for a good education is money.

4. Maryland

Maryland|Md, MD

Living Wage: $66,150
Housing: $18,196
Child Care: $8,452

With Maryland we start to see a trend that’s gonna continue for the majority of the rest of the list — the good part of the east coast (the not southern states) cost a heck of a lot to live in.

With jobs a plenty in DC and access to the northeast corridor, Maryland’s high cost of living is offset by higher salaries.

Except for Baltimore. No one wants to live there I hear.

5. Connecticut

Connecticut|Ct, CT

Living Wage: $64,668
Housing: $15,670
Child Care: $10,438

Welcome to the land of hedge funds and people that commute to New York City — the wonderful state of Connecticut.

While they aren’t crashing into deer or eating nutmeg, they pay a ton for housing and child care.

6. New Jersey

New-Jersey|Nj, NJ

Living Wage: $64,436
Housing: $17,409
Child Care: $8,863

Ahh the chosen land — New Jersey. Having grown up there I can attest first hand that it’s super expensive.

That’s probably because everyone wants to live there seeing as how it’s the best state in the union.

While that may just be my not very humble opinion, the facts say you better be making over $63k a year here to avoid having to eat Wawa everyday (which wouldn’t be the worst thing).

7. Colorado

Colorado|Co, CO

Living Wage: $62,950
Housing: $14,799
Child Care: $9,133

Here is a state I would never have even thought of for this list — Colorado.

The state seems to be kinda in the top quintile for everything without having any one cost stick out. I guess child care is relatively expensive compared to other states in the country.

Still a big surprise to me to see them here on this list.

8. Virginia

Virginia|Va, VA

Living Wage: $62,598
Housing: $14,900
Child Care: $8,427

I guess we can let Virginia be an honorary northern state for this ranking seeing as how it’s actually expensive to live there.

That being said, it’s expensive because of the proximity to DC to the Northern States, obviously. You gotta pay for the right to be close to them right?

That and housing it seems.

9. Hawaii

Hawaii|Hi, HI

Source: Public domain

Living Wage: $62,413
Housing: $22,314
Child Care: $698

How the heck did an island in the middle of nowhere that everyone dream about living in slip down to the ninth spot on this list??

Well, unlike Alaska, housing cost here are volcanoes high beating the second closest California by $3,000 year (or about 3.5 average Trump tax cuts).

So I take it people are willing to put up with the high price of food and toilet paper and basically everything for that whole island living thing.

10. Alaska

Alaska|Ak, AK

Living Wage: $62,102
Housing: $15,239
Child Care: $10,084

And rounding out the top ten is Alaska.

In all honesty, I figured Alaska would have been fighting with California the top spot. Alas, people here are too busy fighting bears to fight for the top spot in our most expensive state analysis.

Instead, they’ll have to settle for an 10th place finish mostly because no one really wants to live there — the housing costs aren’t nearly as high as places like…

There You Have It — The Most Expensive States In America To Live For 2019

After all the dust settled and the analysis was over, we crowned California as the most expensive state to live in America for 2019.

When you stop to think about it though, being expensive is probably a good thing — it means people must really want to live there and the economy is doing well. So even though it might be 30% cheaper in Mississippi, I doubt anyone is going to be moving there from California.

Here’s a quick look at the cheapest states in America:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. West Virginia

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive States In America For 2019

Rank State Living Wage
1 California $68,190
2 New York $67,419
3 Massachusetts $66,376
4 Maryland $66,150
5 Connecticut $64,668
6 New Jersey $64,436
7 Colorado $62,950
8 Virginia $62,598
9 Hawaii $62,413
10 Alaska $62,102
11 Washington $61,988
12 Illinois $59,498
13 Oregon $59,237
14 Rhode Island $59,221
15 Delaware $58,886
16 Vermont $58,841
17 Minnesota $58,289
18 New Hampshire $58,161
19 Florida $57,029
20 Montana $56,410
21 Nevada $56,277
22 Wisconsin $56,231
23 New Mexico $56,228
24 Arizona $56,189
25 Maine $55,665
26 Georgia $54,964
27 Idaho $54,631
28 Utah $54,627
29 North Carolina $54,429
30 Nebraska $54,332
31 Wyoming $54,316
32 Pennsylvania $53,884
33 Missouri $53,654
34 Iowa $53,502
35 Louisiana $53,501
36 Michigan $53,281
37 Texas $53,219
38 Kansas $53,201
39 North Dakota $53,161
40 Oklahoma $52,805
41 Indiana $52,207
42 South Carolina $52,038
43 Ohio $52,013
44 Kentucky $51,925
45 Alabama $50,585
46 South Dakota $50,166
47 Tennessee $50,152
48 West Virginia $50,068
49 Arkansas $49,970
50 Mississippi $48,537

Most Expensive Places Around America

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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