In this article we take a look at the 25 most expensive cities to live in the US. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 most expensive cities to live in the US.
I come from a country which has the cheapest cost of living in the world. That doesn’t mean that everyone can afford everything. In fact, 24.3% of the population in Pakistan lives below the national poverty. Cost of living has to be relative to earnings, and earnings themselves are quite low for most people. Of course, if you’re someone visiting from abroad, you can have the time of your life without even having to spend a lot.
On the other hand, the US has a much higher cost of living in the world, which is why it is near the top in the 16 countries with the highest cost of living. In the US, 11.8% were below the poverty line in the country, though the good thing is, that this number has been steadily falling for a few years. On the other hand, so is the cost of living. Unlike European countries which have socialized healthcare and support those who are unemployed, which is generally not true in the US. The US cost of living has risen by over 14% in just the past three years. Meanwhile, housing costs have increased 21% in the same time while rent has climbed at least 7.6%. Because of these increases, more and more Americans are unable to afford basic necessities and struggle from paycheck to paycheck.
I am sure most of the readers have heard the older generation, or as they’re now more popularly known, the Boomers, talking about how the current generation is lazy and entitled who want everything handed to them on a silver platter. What they don’t consider is the fact that the cost of living and inflation has increased significantly since their time, while salaries have not, leaving the current generation in a fix where even multiple jobs cannot allow them to buy a mortgaged property, or even a decent car. In 1940, the adjusted for inflation price for a median home would be $30,600 in 2000 dollars. Can you even imagine purchasing any sort of property whatsoever for that price today? It seems impossible. Now, the average or typical homebuyer is generally around 44, whereas earlier, they’d be around the age of 25-34. Rent has risen four times the rate of inflation, so having a roof over your head counts as luxury too.
It’s not just home ownership or renting a property of course. In 1971, studying at Harvard cost $2,600. Now, including boarding and expenses it costs $60,000 annually. This increase of 1,550 percent is not justified by any inflation rate or rising interest rates. After all, there’s a reason why American students owe more than $1.4 trillion just to obtain a decent education and then spend the rest of their lives trying to pay off the loans along with interest. Often, after several payments, due to interest, the total payable amount actually increases rather than decreases. Previously having a minimum wage job itself allowed a normal living lifestyle, covering basic necessities. Nowadays, anyone working on minimum wage has to take at least two jobs to be able to support themselves.
There is no doubt that the cost of living is increasing in the US and it is becoming more unaffordable for many citizens every passing day. And this is only going to increase further thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which has already taken over a million lives with over 32 million cases. The pandemic has meant that the country had to go into lockdown and saw over 40 million people file for unemployment, people who were to receive a paltry monthly $1,200 check from the government and expected to live off it. And even these have been now reduced to $600. No one in any state can survive of just $600 in a country with such a high cost of living. Many small businesses have suffered significant losses, while others have permanently gone under, and it will take a long time to truly assess the damage the pandemic has caused, which currently shows no signs of abating. After all, Trump’s legacy and tactic to ensure reelection was based on showing incredibly low unemployment figures during his presidency. That strategy is now in tatters as the US continues heading towards the unknown, having lost more than 300,000 people in the pandemic already, with over 16 million infections.
To determine our ranking of the most expensive cities in the US, we only considered the big cities i.e. those with a population of at least 200,000 people or more. We then checked the cost of living index for each city using both Numbeo and Expatistan, giving 70% weightage to Numbeo’s rankings since they were based on mid 2020 data. Based on these calculations, we were able to arrive at our list of most expensive cities in the US, free of any biases which may otherwise have been present. These cities also host some of the biggest companies in the world which turn has an impact on the cost of living as well, and these companies include Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). So let’s take a look where it can cost an arm and a leg to live in, starting with number 25: