These States Have The Highest Cost Of Living In 2022

The United States has been through a lot over the past several years. Ravaged by a pandemic and political division, it's been a tough time to be an American — and an expensive time as well. Gas prices are at their highest in decades, and the housing market recently experienced a boom that highly favored sellers. While real estate is finally starting to cool down, the high cost of living persists in many states. Some regions, like Hawaii and California, remain consistently high, while others like Texas are just getting used to their reputation of no longer being affordable in some regions. 

When determining the cost of living in a particular area of the U.S., many factors come into play, including food, housing, healthcare, and transportation. Major cities tend to have the highest costs of living, as do states located in the Northeast, along the Pacific Coast, and non-contiguous states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, via The Ascent, the average American's monthly expenses are $5,111. That number could both stun a Mississippian and cause a Californian to roll their eyes, thanks to the varying cost of living throughout the nation. 


Hawaii is a truly magical place and popular tourist destination. Anyone who's been there knows how the islands can cause you to fall in love with the idea of staying forever. But for those who actually DO live in Hawaii, they pay a pretty penny to do so. The cost of living in this state is nearly twice the national average, with almost everything from housing to food costing more than anywhere else. 

According to Kauai Hawaii, a two-bedroom apartment in Honolulu is $3,500. Groceries also average about 50% more than the national cost due to the fact that most things need to be shipped to Hawaii. However, Hawaii does have a bright side besides the literal sunshine. It has the 4th lowest poverty rate in the U.S. despite its high cost of living, with a median household income of $118,223. This is significantly higher than the island's living wage of $107,702. 

New York

New York is about as far from Hawaii as you can get, but it ranks almost equally high when it comes to the cost of living. According to World Population Review, New York is the second most expensive state in the U.S., and New York City is the most expensive city in the nation. Housing in New York will cost you, on average, 2.3 times the national average. 

When it comes to New York, location really matters. The state average for a two-bedroom apartment is approximately $1717. However, you can expect to pay $5,874 for a similar unit in the city. A large percentage of NY residents are not able to purchase a home based on their income, making this state the one with the lowest rate of homeownership in the nation. 

New York is an incredible place full of diversity and opportunity, as well as history and entertainment that is life-changing. Unfortunately for native New Yorkers, however, home is where the bank account is pretty unhappy. 


California has long been a destination for dreams — home to both Hollywood and some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Due partially to these opportunities, along with its temperate year-round weather, California has been a challenging place to live financially for a few generations. California also has the highest gas prices in the U.S. and the second-highest transportation costs. 

Million-dollar homes are the norm in some parts of California, and rent runs much higher than the national average in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Unfortunately, California also has the highest rate of homelessness, according to the most recent study released by the Senate Housing Committee

Despite its expense, nothing quite compares to California — home to Yosemite, Disneyland, Hollywood, Lake Tahoe, and so much more. It's one of few places you can live in the U.S. and experience beaches, mountains, desert, and big cities all in your home state. 


Back over on the east coast, Massachusetts is another state that has a fairly high cost of living. Currently ranking as the fourth most expensive state in the United States, the highest prices are found in Boston, with smaller areas a bit more affordable. According to Best Places, the average studio apartment price is $1299, which is higher than the national average of $949. 

Living in Massachusetts does have some benefits that some other states listed above don't have, including an incredible educational system. Some of the best schools are in Massachusetts, from elementary school through Ivy League. It's also home to a ton of American history and tourist destinations, making it a great place to show friends and family around. The metropolitan area also has an efficient transportation system, and in many portions of the state, you're all but guaranteed a white Christmas. 

Coming in as rather expensive but still more reasonable than California and New York, Massachusetts is doable for those with decent jobs and at least the state living wage of $121,414.