Top 6 Most Expensive Cities in North America to Live

Friday, April 23, 2010

How much is quality of life worth? What are you willing to shell out for rent/mortgage, food, clothing, transit and taxes? Is living well worth the price we pay? Heavy questions and everyone needs to find their own answers. Well, if you’re considering relocating to the other side of the fence, here are the most expensive cities in North America to live.

6. San Diego

The first of the Californian entries on this list, San Diego’s cost of living index is a healthy 133.7, making it one of the cheapest West Coast cities in which to live. The 3rd cheapest to be exact. Not bad for paradise though still a long way from being within everyone’s price range.

5. Washington

This one is a bit of a surprise. But Washington, DC has a cost of living index of 138.5. Considering the level of poverty in the US capital, one would think the city might top the list with living costs so high that pretty much everyone outside of politics would have a hard time making ends meet. However at #5, it’s hardly bargain basement as well.

4. Los Angeles

Another surprise here. That’s right, La-La Land comes in at #4 on this list. I’m sure the Hollywood multi-millionaires are pleased with a cost of living index of only 140.7. So if you think you’ll be California bound in the near future, you might want to consider the City of Angels as a possible nesting place. Or course there are those fires and mudslides to worry about.

3. San Jose

153.1. Not bad for this Californian paradise. But not great either. But, hey, life on the West Coast comes with a price tag many think is worth paying to get away from snow, cold and Winter in general. San Jose may not have the cache of L.A. or Frisco but it does have the same balmy weather.

2. San Francisco

This West Coast city ranks very high but the cost of living index here is much lower than our number one spot. Only 162.9. These may not put San Franciscans on easy street but they might have a bit more spring in their steps than the citizens of our most expensive city. Living in the shadow of the Golden Gate bridge can be a San Francisco treat!

1. New York

No surprise here. The Big Apple costs big bucks. With a cost of living index of 214.7, New York is way ahead of the pack. Bottom line, pretty much everything costs more in New York City than anywhere else in North America. Are the financial headaches of John and Jane New Yorker the reason why this is the city that never sleeps.

There you have it. Address bragging rights don’t come cheap and one should be aware that living the high life comes with high cost. They’re not giving that California sun away. And if you want to sink your teeth into the Big Apple, it’ll cost you.

This article was written by Andrew Salmon. He writes for a number of websites including:



  1. I live in NYC.. not Manhattan but Staten Island.

    I rent my downstairs to my grown children; I rent out my garage... real estate is more expensive .. but there are so many SALES .. since so many groceries stores competing for customers..(that you can buy mainly Loss Leader items..)..

    Better for the environment too.

    I also furnished my Mother-daughter home on things I was given; or found on the curb (not junk)... so much excess around here. Good items.. not cheap stuff.

    The buck stores are great. I got about 25 boxes of Organic health bars.. for 1.00 for 6 bars in each box.

    Minute 100% juice quarts in rectangle boxes for 1.00 each (got 7 the other day); too heavy to carry more.

    Sugarfree all natural applesauce 6 little containers for $2.00.

    Raisins boxes for 1.00 each.

    Eggs reduced to 50 cent for 8 in a container.. got a few of those.

    I did stop eating organic food due to losing more freelance work; ordering from Fresh Direct; but I'm still trying to eat as healthy as possible.

    Anyway NYC (all 5 boroughs) have more bargains since so many stores competing if you know how to shop.. :)

    For meat I look for Manager reduce stickers and make sure the meat is fresh.. very fresh...or just great sale items.. we eat mainly chicken.

    Mystery Shopping is terrific many stores and banks and such. I get reimburse only grocery shops and lunches and even a $40.00 gift card for take out sushi..that I do once a year or so.. doing again this Tuesday..

    I can eat for free all day .. but those jobs mainly don't pay cash; only reimbursement so I limit those jobs.

    Also.. I travel around mainly when not rush hour so more peaceful .. and I won't drive; I take buses and trains and ferry.

    For only 89.00 you can get a 30 day pass to ride unlimited instead of paying 2.25 for a ride on a bus or train.

    The Ferry boat to Manhattan is FREE.. yes FREE too.

    There are so many free entertainment in NYC; free museums such as the Native American Museum; where Washington was inaugurated..and so forth.

    Just have to LOOK for FREE things to do......and with an unlimited metro card.. renting my garage out for $200.00 a month is a win-win for me. No stress of traffic.. traffic is stressful to drive in .. all over..

    And I work in 3 of the 5 boroughs.. Manhattan (NYC); Staten Island of NYC and Brooklyn of NYC.

    The winters are the I try to work more the warmer 9 months to read and meditate and work less in the winter.

    It is a game I play... :)

    I also have my son mow my grass with a push mower; I prune my own yard bushes.. and I am going to fix the cracks in my steps myself with cement.

    I save thousands and it is not really hard to do; and great being outdoors.. :)

    NYC is manageable.. people get roommates too...... and jobs do pay a bit more.. so things are higher but more money made for some (me I live frugally because I want to be home each day by 2pm for my 14 year old son since he was 6 and I was divorce.).

    It is tricky but managable. :)

    I read last month NY STATE came in 51 of the least in Happiness. I say if you can be happy here you can be happy anywhere..

    And people that sell their homes and move to another state... make out good.. because they can sell their homes and then buy even a nicer one or whatever for way less.. so that helps in retirement.

    All tricks of living here in NYC..

    hugs. I did ramble on. I hope you found it slightly interesting... about how low transportation can be (and we have the best transportation; buses and trains non-stop). no long waits. And for 89 a month ... no car repairs; no gas; no replacing another car.. it is easier to have a higher mortgage or rent payment without a car.

  2. Thank you for just goes to show that being creative has it's ways of working in your favor!

  3. lol...I hope I did not bore you... !! (I get excited about surviving.. thriving here.. lol as a single mom.


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