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Where Are the Most Expensive Cities in America? — Dollars and Sense

Manhattan Skyline
Handout, Getty Images

We all want to stretch a dollar, but there’s one place in America that it’s getting harder and harder to do so.

The latest cost of living index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) indicates that once again the borough of Manhattan in New York City has the highest cost of living of anywhere in the country. It’s true, and with an index score of 233.5, the Big Apple continues to score way above the national average of 100.

“The top 10 most expensive cities are pretty stable, they remain almost static,” said Dean Frutiger, project manager for the Cost of Living Index project at C2ER. “There’s more change with the bottom.”

For nearly 50 years the council has published quarterly data based on the prices of 60 consumer goods and services within six different categories including housing, utilities, health care, transportation and groceries, among others.

Housing is the largest determining factor for the index, said Frutiger, since nearly 30 percent of the American people’s income is spent on simply having a place to live — a determining factor in bumping Washington, DC from the top 10 to around the 11th or 12th mark.

We recommend taking up residence in Harlingen, Texas just in case. Not only does the city have the lowest cost of living (18.4 percent below the national average), but we also hear that it is a good place to get authentic Mexican fare, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

The Seven Most Expensive Cities in America

1. Manhattan, New York City – 233.5

2. Brooklyn, New York City – 183.4

3. Honolulu – 170.8

4. San Francisco – 163.2

5. San Jose, California – 156.5

6. Queens, New York City – 151.4

7. Stamford, Connecticut – 146.7

[ABC News]

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