Most Expensive State to Live In: A Friendly Guide

Welcome to our friendly guide on the most expensive state to live in the US. With the high cost of living in some states, it can be challenging to make ends meet and save for the future. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that make a state expensive to live in and provide insights on the top expensive states to reside. We’ll also share practical tips on how to afford living in expensive states and weigh the pros and cons of calling one of these states home.

Whether you’re considering a move to an expensive state or simply curious about the cost of living in different parts of the US, this guide is for you. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of the most expensive state to live in!

most expensive state to live in

What Makes a State Expensive to Live In?

Living expenses can vary significantly from state to state and even within regions of the same state. However, there are several factors that contribute to the cost of living in a particular location. Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions about where to live and how to manage your finances.

HousingThe cost of buying or renting a home is a major factor in the overall cost of living. Areas with limited housing supply and high demand tend to have higher prices.
FoodThe cost of groceries and dining out can vary depending on the local economy, transportation costs, and availability of fresh produce. Certain types of food, such as organic or specialty items, may also be more expensive.
TransportationCosts associated with owning and operating a vehicle, including gas, insurance, maintenance, and parking, can add up quickly in high-traffic or urban areas.
TaxesThe amount of taxes you pay can vary depending on state and local income tax rates, sales tax, property tax, and other fees and assessments.

Understanding these factors can help you determine which states and cities are more affordable for your lifestyle and financial goals.

States with high living expenses

The Most Expensive State to Live In: Hawaii

When it comes to the most expensive state to live in, Hawaii tops the charts. The cost of living in Hawaii is 92.9% higher than the national average, according to a study by CNBC. This means that residents of Hawaii pay significantly more for housing, food, transportation, and other expenses.

One of the biggest factors contributing to Hawaii’s high cost of living is housing. The median home value in Hawaii is over $600,000, making it one of the most expensive states to buy a home. Rent prices are also high, with the average two-bedroom apartment renting for over $2,000 per month.

Food and transportation costs in Hawaii are also higher than the national average. Due to Hawaii’s remote location and reliance on imports, groceries tend to be more expensive. Gas prices are also higher, as well as the cost of owning and maintaining a car on the islands.

Despite the high cost of living, many people still choose to call Hawaii home. With its beautiful beaches, year-round warm weather, and unique cultural experiences, Hawaii offers a unique quality of life that can be worth the extra expense for some.

highest cost of living by state

States with High Living Expenses: California and New York

California and New York are two states known for their high cost of living, with housing being a major contributor to their expenses. In fact, California and New York have some of the highest housing prices in the country, with the median home value reaching up to $700,000 and $500,000 respectively.

Despite the high cost of living, both states offer unique opportunities and experiences that attract many people to live there. California boasts a beautiful coastline, sunny weather, and a thriving tech industry, while New York offers cultural diversity, world-renowned restaurants, and endless entertainment options.

If you’re considering living in either state, it’s important to do your research and carefully weigh the pros and cons. While the cost of living may be high, there are also many benefits to living in these vibrant and exciting states.

States with High Living Expenses

Pros and Cons of Living in California and New York


  • Both states offer diverse job opportunities, particularly in industries such as technology, finance, and entertainment.
  • California and New York have unique cultural experiences and attractions that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
  • Both states have access to top-rated education and healthcare systems.


  • Housing costs are extremely high, making it difficult to find affordable living arrangements.
  • Both states have high tax rates, which can add up quickly.
  • The cost of goods and services is generally higher than in other states.

“New York is not a city for the faint of heart. Its constantly changing, fast-paced, and a bit rough around the edges. But if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

States with High Taxes: Connecticut and Massachusetts

When it comes to states with high taxes, Connecticut and Massachusetts top the list. Both states have some of the highest income and property tax rates in the country, making them an expensive place to call home.

In Connecticut, residents pay a state income tax of up to 6.99%, and the property tax rate is one of the highest in the country at 2.14%. In Massachusetts, the income tax rate is 5.05%, and the property tax rate is also high, averaging 1.21%.

Why are taxes so high in these states?

One reason is that both Connecticut and Massachusetts offer a high quality of life, with excellent schools, healthcare, and public services. These amenities come at a cost, and the government relies on taxes to fund them.

How do high taxes affect the cost of living?

High taxes can make living in Connecticut and Massachusetts more expensive, as they can eat into residents’ disposable income. However, some argue that the benefits of living in these states outweigh the costs, and that the high tax rates are necessary to maintain a high quality of life.

StateIncome Tax RateProperty Tax Rate
ConnecticutUp to 6.99%2.14%

If you’re considering moving to Connecticut or Massachusetts, it’s important to factor in the cost of taxes when budgeting for your living expenses. You may also want to look into tax breaks and incentives that can help lower your overall tax burden.

high taxes

States with High Transportation Costs: Alaska and Washington D.C.

Transportation costs can significantly impact the overall cost of living in a state. Alaska and Washington D.C. are two places where transportation costs are particularly high.

In Alaska, the cost of transportation is high due to its remote location and harsh climate. With limited public transportation options, many residents rely on their cars to get around, leading to higher costs for gas, maintenance, and insurance. Additionally, the cost of shipping goods and supplies to Alaska is also higher, which can lead to higher prices for consumer goods.

In Washington D.C., the high cost of transportation is largely due to its congested roadways and limited parking options. Many residents choose to use public transportation, which can be expensive. The cost of maintaining a car in the city can also be costly due to parking fees and high insurance rates.

States with High Transportation Costs

Despite the high transportation costs in these states, there are ways to save money. In Alaska, carpooling and using public transportation when possible can help reduce costs. In Washington D.C., living in a walkable neighborhood with access to public transportation can also help reduce transportation expenses.

How to Afford Living in Expensive States

Living in an expensive state can be challenging, but there are ways to make it work. Here are some practical tips and suggestions:

Budget carefully

One of the keys to affording life in an expensive state is to budget carefully. Keep track of your expenses and prioritize your spending. Consider cutting back on non-essential items and finding ways to save on the things you need.

Find affordable housing options

Housing is often the biggest expense in expensive states. Look for more affordable options such as apartments, shared housing, or commuting from a nearby town or suburb. Consider using websites and apps like Zillow or Craigslist to search for affordable housing options.

Take advantage of tax breaks and incentives

Some expensive states offer tax breaks and incentives to residents. Research these options and see if you qualify. For example, some states offer tax credits for buying an electric car or installing solar panels on your home.

Save on transportation costs

Transportation costs can add up quickly in expensive states, especially if you have a long commute. Look for ways to save on transportation costs, such as carpooling, using public transportation, or biking to work. Consider purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle to save on gas costs.

Consider remote work or freelancing

If you have a job that allows you to work remotely or freelance, you may be able to live in an expensive state without paying the high costs associated with commuting to work. Look for remote work or freelancing opportunities in your field.

By following these tips and putting in a bit of extra effort, you can make living in an expensive state more affordable and manageable.

affording expensive states

Pros and Cons of Living in Expensive States

Living in an expensive state can come with both benefits and drawbacks. Below, we weigh the pros and cons of residing in one of the high cost of living states we’ve covered in this guide.


  • Higher salaries: One of the benefits of living in an expensive state is that salaries tend to be higher to match the higher cost of living. This can make it easier to afford everyday expenses and save for the future.
  • Access to amenities: Expensive states often offer a wide range of amenities, from high-end restaurants and shopping to top-tier healthcare and education systems.
  • Cultural opportunities: Many of the most expensive states in the US are also home to vibrant art and culture scenes, with plenty of museums, theaters, and other attractions to explore.
  • Beautiful locations: States like Hawaii and California are known for their stunning natural beauty, from beaches to mountains. Living in these areas can offer a lifestyle that is hard to replicate anywhere else.


  • High cost of living: Of course, the biggest disadvantage of living in an expensive state is the high cost of living. Everything from housing to groceries can be more expensive, making it a challenge to make ends meet.
  • Increased competition: With higher salaries and more amenities, expensive states can also be more competitive. Finding a job, affordable housing, or a spot in a popular school can be more difficult.
  • Higher taxes: Many expensive states also have higher tax rates, which can eat into your earnings and make it harder to save for the future.
  • Overcrowding and traffic: In many urban areas within expensive states, overcrowding and traffic can be major issues. Long commutes and crowded public transportation can add to the overall stress and cost of living.

Before deciding whether to move to an expensive state, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Consider your personal priorities, financial situation, and long-term goals to help make the right choice for you and your family.

Pros and cons of living in expensive states

Frequently Asked Questions

Living in an expensive state can come with its challenges, but with some careful planning and strategizing, it can also be a great experience. Here are some common questions that readers have when it comes to living in expensive states.

How can I find affordable housing in expensive states?

One of the biggest expenses in expensive states is housing. To find affordable options, consider looking for roommates or house-sharing arrangements, or renting a smaller apartment or home. In addition, consider living outside of major cities where rents tend to be higher. Finally, do your research and consider utilizing resources such as non-profit organizations or government housing assistance programs.

How can I save money on taxes in expensive states?

In many expensive states, taxes can be a significant expense. To save money on taxes, consider taking advantage of tax breaks and incentives, such as property tax exemptions or deductions for charitable donations. Additionally, make sure to keep accurate records of all expenses that can be deducted from your taxes.

How can I navigate the high cost of living in expensive states?

One of the best ways to navigate the high cost of living is to create a budget and stick to it. Look for ways to cut down on expenses, such as shopping at discount stores or cooking at home instead of eating out. Additionally, consider taking on a side job or freelancing to earn extra income. Finally, consider taking advantage of services such as public transportation or carpooling to save on transportation costs.