These Are The 10 Most Expensive States In America For 2018

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.

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We all like to dream about flying in private planes, driving around in limousines, and having our own personal, professional teeth floss-ers.

Well maybe I’m the only one that dreams of the last one (it would only set you back about $20-30k a year. Not bad if you have Taylor Swift money).

But for some parts of the country, saving enough money to ever do one of these things once is a pipe dream. These are the states where just getting by on a day to day basis is so expensive you can barely save for tomorrow.

What parts you may ask?

Well the general answer would be any coastal state, but in participle California and Hawaii are head and shoulders above the rest.

Here’s a look at the 10 most expensive states in America:

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

And for those playing at home, a living wage in the San Francisco Metro clocks in a staggering $78,386.

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:

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How We Determined The Most Expensive States In America

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 end of 2017, 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 2018. (Although DC would like to have a word if you consider that a state.)

Here’s a look at the top ten.

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1. California


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $66,019
Housing: $18,827
Child Care: $8,421

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

Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $65,820
Housing: $16,997
Child Care: $10,742

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


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $64,929
Housing: $16,846
Child Care: $12,536

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


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $64,765
Housing: $17,711
Child Care: $8,564

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


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $63,855
Housing: $15,404
Child Care: $10,577

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

Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $63,400
Housing: $16,972
Child Care: $8,980

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. Virginia


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $61,817
Housing: $14,594
Child Care: $8,538

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.

8. Alaska


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $60,815
Housing: $14,731
Child Care: $10,217

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 8th place finish mostly because no one really wants to live there — the housing costs aren’t nearly as high as places like…

9. Hawaii


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $60,784
Housing: $21,733
Child Care: $708

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. Colorado


Source: Wikipedia

Living Wage: $60,767
Housing: $13,592
Child Care: $9,253

And rounding out the top ten 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.

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

After all the dust settled and the analysis was over, we crowned California as the most expensive state to live in America for 2018.

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. South Dakota

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Cheapest States In America

State Rank Living Wage
California 1 $66,019
New York 2 $65,820
Massachusetts 3 $64,929
Maryland 4 $64,765
Connecticut 5 $63,855
New Jersey 6 $63,400
Virginia 7 $61,817
Alaska 8 $60,815
Hawaii 9 $60,784
Colorado 10 $60,767
Washington 11 $59,130
Rhode Island 12 $58,393
Illinois 13 $58,185
Vermont 14 $57,955
Delaware 15 $57,918
Oregon 16 $57,281
New Hampshire 17 $57,197
Minnesota 18 $57,037
Florida 19 $55,680
New Mexico 20 $55,357
Nevada 21 $55,113
Arizona 22 $54,891
Wisconsin 23 $54,845
Montana 24 $54,709
Maine 25 $54,399
Georgia 26 $53,537
Utah 27 $53,283
Idaho 28 $53,231
North Carolina 29 $53,120
Wyoming 30 $53,108
Nebraska 31 $52,912
Pennsylvania 32 $52,787
Missouri 33 $52,488
Louisiana 34 $52,294
Kansas 35 $52,123
North Dakota 36 $52,122
Iowa 37 $52,066
Texas 38 $51,756
Michigan 39 $51,752
Oklahoma 40 $51,398
Indiana 41 $50,774
Kentucky 42 $50,759
South Carolina 43 $50,732
Ohio 44 $50,668
Alabama 45 $49,826
West Virginia 46 $49,502
Tennessee 47 $49,027
South Dakota 48 $48,817
Arkansas 49 $48,780
Mississippi 50 $47,881

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