15 States in the US Where Living is a Financial Nightmare

According to U.S. Labor Department data published on December 12, 2023, the annual inflation rate (3.1% for the 12 months ended November) has eased dramatically since it touched an all-time high two years ago (in 2021, it stood at 7%). However, the inflation is still high nationwide; in some states, it is higher than in others. The cost of living, including food, energy, healthcare, and transportation, is astronomical in some states of the USA compared to others.

Let’s find out the 15 most expensive states to live in the USA.


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Hawaii is the most expensive state in the USA in terms of cost of living. The total average annual expenditure stands at $55,491. Hawaii residents pay much more on rent, with an astronomical median price of $837,234 and an average monthly mortgage payment of $5,004. Hawaii has the highest transportation costs, with an annual average of $7,458.


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It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find California on this list. California’s high cost of living is driven by high rent, gas prices, utilities, and transportation.According to data published by RentCafe, housing costs are 101% more expensive than the national average, while transportation (at 27%), utilities (at 22%), and food (at 17%) are above average as well.

Rhode Island

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The higher cost of energy makes Rhode Island an expensive place to stay. On average, residential electricity bills are $235 per month ($2820/year), which is 28% higher than the national average electric bill of $2197.

New Jersey

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New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the USA in terms of cost of living, which is 26% higher than the national average. The major contributors are housing, utilities, and transportation costs, which are 74%, 10%, and 10% higher than the national average.


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Expensive groceries, healthcare, and high rental costs make Massachusetts a costly place to live. According to this report, Massachusetts residents spend $1,806 on rent, $4,787 on food, and $12,754.33 on healthcare.

New York

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Things can’t be cheap in New York. We all know how expensive buying a home in Manhattan can be; in 2022, the median asking price in Manhattan was $1.5 million vis-a-vis Brooklyn, which stood at $995,000. Apart from housing, even groceries (at 35%) and transportation (at 16%) cost you more in New York.


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Groceries have become very expensive nationwide; however, in some states, spikes are at a staggering high. Maryland saw a sharp surge of 7% in its grocery costs in the last 12 months.


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According to a survey conducted by Apartment List, the median home cost in Florida was at $362,400, while the national average was $338,100.


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The lure of beautiful mountains, untouched landscapes, traffic-free roads, and quiet life has led to a surge in demand for real estate. However, due to land conservation, community opposition, and environmental regulations, building houses have become difficult and more expensive. After Florida that saw the sharpest increase in house prices at 19.9%, Vermont comes next with a hike of 16.9%. The average house price in Vermont is at $386,285.


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High healthcare costs make Connecticut an expensive state to live in the USA. According to Forbes, annual healthcare cost on a 3-year average from 2018-2020 was $11,899.33.


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The average cost for living expenses are particularly high for Washingtonians who shell out $1,842 a month on average on groceries, rent and utilities and $2,388 a month on average on mortgage and car loans.


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High housing expenditure combined with food costs put Colorado on the list of the most expensive American states. According to Forbes, the median monthly housing costs are $1,780, while total annual food costs are $4,714 in Colorado.


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The healthcare costs in Alaska are higher than any other state in the USA, which stand at $13,187.67. It is largely due to the small population, a limited number of medical service providers, and little competition among them, higher than usual compensation for providers and higher profit margins for hospitals.

New Hampshire

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Housing costs at $1,671, rental costs at $1,663, and healthcare costs at $11,359 contribute majorly towards the cost of living expenses for New Hampshire residents and puts the state on the list of one of the most expensive states to live in the USA.


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The cost of living in Delaware is 4%, healthcare costs are  4%, while transportation costs are at a staggering 13% higher than the national average.
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