America’s cities tend to be more expensive than other parts of the country.
Using recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we looked at the most and least expensive places to live in the US.
America’s big coastal cities are really expensive.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data on personal income and the cost of living in 2016 for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan parts of states, including the relative cost of living in different parts of the country.
Regional price parity is an index that sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100, with a particular region’s RPP showing how the cost of living in that region compares with that average.
For example, the New York metropolitan area had an RPP of 122 in 2016, meaning the city and its suburbs are about 22% more expensive than the national average.
Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia, had an RPP of 78.8, meaning goods and services cost about four-fifths as much as the national average.
Here’s a map illustrating the RPP of the country’s metropolitan areas and of the parts of states that fall outside of them. Regions in blue are less expensive than the national average, with darker areas indicating the lowest relative cost of living. Those in red are more expensive than average, with darker red showing a higher cost of living.
And here are the 10 most expensive (in red) and least expensive (in blue) metro areas in the US:
Here are the 40 largest metro areas by 2016 population, ranked from most to least expensive, along with their overall regional price parities and RPPs for goods, rent, and non-rent services. Much, but not all, of the disparity in prices among cities comes from rent, rather than other goods and services:
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Overall regional price parity: 127.1
Goods RPP: 110.4
Rent RPP: 213.3
Non-rent services RPP: 110.7
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Overall regional price parity: 124.7
Goods RPP: 110.7
Rent RPP: 190.9
Non-rent services RPP: 111.0
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Overall regional price parity: 122.0
Goods RPP: 109.9
Rent RPP: 154.9
Non-rent services RPP: 115.9
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