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While trying to live the American dream, you should consider a few vital factors, one of which is the cost of living. Due to rising inflation rates, looking into rent, electricity bills, job opportunities, and other factors is essential.

Some US cities are costly, so they might not be ideal for people looking to make ends meet. With a bustling metropolis, these cities have a higher price tag.  You might need to sell your kidney to live a comfortable life and utilize all their amenities.

San Jose, California

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San Jose, the hub of Silicon Valley, boasts robust job opportunities in finance and technology, supported by a lower unemployment rate. While more affordable than San Francisco, the city’s cost of living is a massive $1,524,907, way above the national average, counterbalanced by higher median household incomes.

San Jose’s pleasant climate contributes to its recognition as the second-best place to live by U.S. News.

San Francisco, California

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San Francisco, situated in the Bay Area, offers a distinctive blend of urban living and coastal allure, characterized by iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge. Despite its charm, the city comes with a high cost of living, at $1,122,946, way above the national average, primarily driven by housing expenses.

The city’s booming economy, expanding job opportunities, and favorable climate have led to a population growth of 9.5% over the last two years, showcasing the appeal of its dynamic lifestyle.

Salinas, California 

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Salinas is more expensive than the average metropolitan city in the US because a hefty sum of money is spent on real estate. The median monthly rent is a massive $1,718, while the city has a 10.9% unemployment rate, making a living here on a budget more challenging.

The average housing costs are an average of $925,458, which is almost three times higher than the national average, making Salinas a costly place to reside in. 

San Diego, California

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The bustling city of San Diego has an average cost of housing of about $919,507, while the national average is $383,883. This hefty price tag can be attributed to the stunning beaches, golf, tennis, cycling activities, and the unforgettable Comic Con, which attracts more than 130,000 attendees.

The prices here are so high that they have their unique name referred to as the ‘sunshine tax’ for having a year-round sunny climate. 

Santa Rosa, California

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The city of art, Santa Rosa, is dotted with murals, sculptures, and artwork, making it an attractive place for creatives. The Summer Repertory Theatre Festival is famous amongst the people here, and it includes a relaxing visit to the Sonoma Valleys.

However, the national cost of housing is $889,590, above the measly national average of $383,883. However, people can save up on groceries as those cost less here.

Los Angeles, California

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A magnet for entertainment and creative industries, LA’s allure is matched by its high cost of living. The city’s sprawling nature and car-centric culture contribute to transportation costs that add to the overall expense. Los Angeles, while a large and costly city, has an average cost of housing of $836,831, way above the national average.

Its extensive green spaces, which cover almost 35% of the landscape, earned it the title of the greenest city in the US. Hotels cost $116 per night, and a three-course meal at an average restaurant costs $65.

Seattle, Washington

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Seattle, known for its iconic landmarks and tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, offers a dynamic mix of urban amenities and outdoor adventures. Despite its appeal, housing emerges as the most expensive aspect in the city, with costs within city limits surpassing the national average by 209% at $768,396 and exceeding the rest of Washington state by nearly 145%.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston, ranked 7th by U.S. News for quality of life, attracts history enthusiasts, scholars, and sports fans with its rich heritage, educational institutions, and iconic Fenway Park. It’s also touted as an excellent place for families, offering top-notch healthcare and schools investing around $10,000 more per student than the national average.

The average cost of housing here is a staggering $716,746.

Denver, Colorado

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Lush green parks like City Park and Cheesman Park make this a nature-friendly area, with a ton of natural beauty surrounding the gorgeous city. The famous annual Great American Beer Festival showcases over 800 breweries, and people from all over the country flock to witness this remarkable sight.

The national average for housing costs is half that of residing here at $658,554. Due to the massive bump in population, prices have dramatically increased over the years.

New York City, New York

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The epitome of the American dream, New York City is synonymous with diversity, culture, and career opportunities. Despite its high cost of living, $642,004, almost double the national average, the city continues attracting new residents, with a population growth of 6% since 2020.

However, its renowned cosmopolitan lifestyle demands a significant financial commitment, especially for housing and dining. The unemployment rate of 11.7% makes it difficult to make ends meet.

Sacramento, California

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With thriving economic development bringing in new visitors and a ton of technological centers booming in the city, Sacramento should not be overlooked by its surrounding towns. This ethnically diverse slice of land has a population of 2,379,368, with its median monthly rent at $1,465.

The average housing cost here is $619,981, way above the national average of $383,883.

Vallejo & Fairfield, California

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With a population of 451,432, Vallejo & Fairfield is home to the Tomato & Vine Festival, attracting more than 2,500 visitors to the city. It offers much, from the exciting Jelly Belly factory tours to the Northern California Pirate Festival and the delightful Children’s Wonderland park.

The national housing cost here is a whopping $606,442, almost double the national average. It also has a Median Monthly Rent of $1,802.

Stockton, California

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With a population of 771,406, Stockton is another city in California that is regarded as one of the most expensive in the country. An unemployment rate of 11.9% and an average annual salary of $55,020 makes it difficult to live here.

The average housing cost here is $589,200, significantly above the national average. Everyday expenses like groceries cost more here.

Portland, Oregon

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Portland has an average housing cost of $586,683, making it much higher than the national average. Additionally, day-to-day living expenses are higher in this bustling city, along with the highest income tax in the country, making it difficult for people on a tight budget to live here.

The mouth-watering artisanal bakeries and food make it a delightful place to visit. The majority of the people living here are between 45-64 of age. 

Honolulu, Hawaii

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Honolulu’s stunning beaches and tropical climate are nestled in paradise, attracting residents and tourists alike. However, moving to this island paradise comes with higher costs due to factors like shipping. Grocery expenses are about 38.9% above the national average, and housing costs are an average of $581,658, significantly above the national cost. 

Miami, Florida

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According to U.S. News, Miami, renowned for its vibrant nightlife and strong Latin cultural influence, ranks as the second-best city for bars, entertainment, and nightlife. Its unique architecture, cuisine, and music blend make it a distinctive destination. Moreover, the cost of living in Miami is 23.1% higher than the national average. 

A three-course meal for two people will cost an average of $73.50.

Washington, D.C.

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The nation’s capital offers a mix of culture, politics, and history. Still, its robust job market and influential networks contribute to a high cost of living, particularly housing. The average housing cost here is $538,037, higher than the national average.

The living costs in the city are influenced significantly by transportation expenses as well. Costs vary based on the area of residence. 

Santa Barbara, California

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With some of the best climates all year round, Santa Barbara is one of the most highly desired cities for tourists and civilians alike. Sprawled with art, history, and culture, this city also offers beachfront activities like kayaking and surfing.

The cost of housing averages about $464,954, which is reasonable compared to some other places on this list. California also has some of the country’s highest gas prices, attributed to the high cost of living.

Modesto, California

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If you enjoy outdoor activities, Modesto is an ideal place to live, with many yoga studios, gyms, and golf courses across the city. You can also enjoy go-karting and soar in the sky with massive trampolines. The average housing cost is $463,918, one of the lower ones on this list.

Even though the region’s median home sale price is higher than the national median, you’re better off with a lower housing cost than other areas.

Fresno, California

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The enigmatic city of Fresno is home to a booming farmers market with fresh succulent fruit and crisp vegetables, along with some of the best pistachios in the country. The diverse job market makes this an attractive place, which allows more people to find different jobs and make ends meet.

The Median Monthly Rent amounts to $1,098, while the average housing cost is a reasonable $430,711.

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Author: Iva Ursano

Title: Writer

Expertise: Anti-Aging, Mental Health

Iva is a 60-something woman, originally from Northern Ontario, Canada, who now resides in sunny Guatemala. She helps women over 50 love the skin they're in and empowers them to live their best lives ever. When she's not blogging, she's out on her scooter feeding and rescuing street dogs.  

You can also check out her amazing eStore here. It is full of powerful self-help eBooks, personal development courses, and so much more—ALL at affordable prices!

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