Cost Of Living Guide In the United States


Shutterstock photo

Moving can be a big deal, especially if you're relocating to a new city or state. One of the major considerations when making such a big move is the cost of living, which can vary wildly across the United States.

NPR has a very interesting chart that helps give an idea of the disparity between what you earn and what it feels like you earn. For example, the median income in New York City is just over $37,000, but it feels like $28,799; by comparison, earning just under $25,000 in Hot Springs feels like a $27,771 salary, meaning your money goes farther there.

According to a New York Times article, a $75,000 salary is enough to buy happiness - after that, any positive effects tapered off.

You can even punch in your own paycheck and see what it is worth in other places.

Here, you will find a chart, courtesy of, that shows the cost of living around the country. The chart detailing the overall cost of living for each area "can be broken down into specific categories such as housing, taxes, healthcare, food, childcare, transportation, and other. For quick sorting, just click on any category at the top to list cities by that feature. If you want to search for cities based on the overall index, click on the Overall Index column to sort cities accordingly. If a city--for example Olympia, Washington has an overall index of 110, which means that that city is 10 percent more expensive than the average US city."

The monthly total cost needed for living in an area includes housing, food, taxes, childcare, transportation and more. The range goes from $3,709 a month to $7,584 a month, so you can determine pretty quickly how affordable a place is.

The Top 5 Most Expensive Areas are:

  • Nassau-Suffolk, New York metro area
  • Nantucket-Dukes Counties in Massachusetts
  • Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metro area
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Westchester County, New York

The Top 5 Most Affordable Areas are:

  • Simpson County, Mississippi
  • Casper, Wyoming
  • Three unnamed rural areas in South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming

To use the full chart and explore it in-depth, check out

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Real Estate , Travel and Lifestyle

More from Bart Brooks


Bart Brooks

Follow on:

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Data Provided by