The 20 Most Expensive Cities To Live In America For 2022


We looked at cost of living metrics for every city in America over 100,000 people to determine which ones cost the most.

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Walk with me down memory lane for a quick example of how expensive some cities costs.

My old rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, CA in 2013 – $2,000.

My mortgage for a 4-bedroom house in Durham, NC in 2013 — $1,300.

The rent on that old apartment now… close to $5,000. My mortgage now? Still $1,300.

The cost of San Francisco was one the major factors in our decision to leave, but is San Francisco even the most expensive city in America? According to the most recent data, Glendale, CA. What?

Well New York City didn’t have all the available indexes, so apparently Glendale had to step in and take the top spot while San Francisco comes in at number 3.

The 10 Most Expensive Cities In America For 2022

  1. Glendale
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Inglewood
  4. Burbank
  5. Daly City
  6. Irvine
  7. Boulder
  8. El Monte
  9. New York
  10. El Cajon

The least expensive city in America? Fort Wayne, In.

While San Francisco might not have been able to take the top spot, twelve cities from California appear in the top 20 most expensive. A lot of that does in fact have to do with housing costs, but San Francisco didn’t take the top spot because things like services and groceries aren’t as expensive.

For more on the top twenty, read on. Or if you’re looking for some cheaper places to live, check out:

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the most expensive cities in America.

The Top 20 Most Expensive Cities In America

#1 Most Expensive City In America

Glendale, CA

Population: 199,357

Glendale, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

#2 Most Expensive City In America

Los Angeles, CA

Population: 3,973,278

#3 Most Expensive City In America

Inglewood, CA

Population: 109,309

#4 Most Expensive City In America

Burbank, CA

Population: 103,411

Burbank, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

#5 Most Expensive City In America

Daly City, CA

Population: 107,197

Daly City, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

#6 Most Expensive City In America

Irvine, CA

Population: 272,694

Irvine, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

#7 Most Expensive City In America

Boulder, CO

Population: 108,777

Boulder, CO

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

#8 Most Expensive City In America

El Monte, CA

Population: 113,917

El Monte, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

#9 Most Expensive City In America

New York, NY

Population: 8,379,552

#10 Most Expensive City In America

El Cajon, CA

Population: 103,249

#11 Most Expensive City In America

San Mateo, CA

Population: 103,619

San Mateo, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

#12 Most Expensive City In America

Anaheim, CA

Population: 353,085

#13 Most Expensive City In America

Oceanside, CA

Population: 175,694

#14 Most Expensive City In America

Costa Mesa, CA

Population: 112,958

#15 Most Expensive City In America

Pasadena, CA

Population: 142,017

Pasadena, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

#16 Most Expensive City In America

Cambridge, MA

Population: 117,822

#17 Most Expensive City In America

East Los Angeles, CA

Population: 120,504

#18 Most Expensive City In America

Garden Grove, CA

Population: 172,800

#19 Most Expensive City In America

Escondido, CA

Population: 150,396

Escondido, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

#20 Most Expensive City In America

Vista, CA

Population: 100,659

Vista, CA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Methodology: How We Determined The Most Expensive Cities To Live In The USA For 2022

To create our list of the most expensive cities in America, we looked to a cost of living index across several bundles of goods for every city over 100,000 for which there was data available.

This left us with 324 cities from across the country.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in California to figure out which is the least expensive.

We ranked every city on each of these indexes, averaged the indexes into a score, and ranked the city with the best score as the “Most Expensive City In America For 2022”. You can download the data here.

It’s important to note that by ranking these linearly we removed some of the impact of stupidly high rent. San Francisco has the highest rent in our database and is almost twice as much as Yonkers, but Yonkers has rent in the top 10%, so it balances out against other expenses.

Summary: The Most Expensive Big Cities in America

After measuring the cost of living in every city in the county, Glendale is the most expensive there is to live.

My plan now? Stay in Durham for as long as I can — it’s one of the cheaper big cities to call home in America.

And for those playing at home, here’s a look at the least expensive cities in America:

  1. Fort Wayne
  2. Springfield
  3. Cedar Rapids

For more, read on:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In The US For 2022

Rank City Population
1 Glendale, CA 199,357
2 Los Angeles, CA 3,973,278
3 Inglewood, CA 109,309
4 Burbank, CA 103,411
5 Daly City, CA 107,197
6 Irvine, CA 272,694
7 Boulder, CO 108,777
8 El Monte, CA 113,917
9 New York, NY 8,379,552
10 El Cajon, CA 103,249
11 San Mateo, CA 103,619
12 Anaheim, CA 353,085
13 Oceanside, CA 175,694
14 Costa Mesa, CA 112,958
15 Pasadena, CA 142,017
16 Cambridge, MA 117,822
17 East Los Angeles, CA 120,504
18 Garden Grove, CA 172,800
19 Escondido, CA 150,396
20 Vista, CA 100,659
21 Boston, MA 689,326
22 Urban Honolulu, HI 347,181
23 Santa Ana, CA 332,610
24 Miami, FL 461,080
25 San Diego, CA 1,414,545
26 Long Beach, CA 462,081
27 Santa Rosa, CA 178,391
28 Simi Valley, CA 125,768
29 Richmond, CA 110,051
30 San Buenaventura (Ventura), CA 108,467
31 Berkeley, CA 123,065
32 Huntington Beach, CA 199,778
33 Pomona, CA 151,124
34 Ontario, CA 178,194
35 Downey, CA 111,263
36 Hayward, CA 158,817
37 Thousand Oaks, CA 127,648
38 Salinas, CA 156,177
39 Antioch, CA 111,468
40 Oxnard, CA 207,722
41 Fullerton, CA 141,061
42 Norwalk, CA 104,524
43 West Covina, CA 105,808
44 Oakland, CA 422,575
45 San Jose, CA 1,029,409
46 Torrance, CA 144,430
47 Santa Clara, CA 126,723
48 Vallejo, CA 121,275
49 Hialeah, FL 233,876
50 Newark, NJ 281,917
51 Sunnyvale, CA 152,569
52 Elizabeth, NJ 128,484
53 Orange, CA 139,322
54 Yonkers, NY 200,183
55 Chula Vista, CA 268,779
56 Carlsbad, CA 114,411
57 Paterson, NJ 145,484
58 Concord, CA 129,227
59 Santa Maria, CA 105,528
60 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 178,060
61 Santa Clarita, CA 212,519
62 San Francisco, CA 874,784
63 New Orleans, LA 391,249
64 Moreno Valley, CA 208,751
65 Hollywood, FL 153,834
66 Renton, WA 101,871
67 San Bernardino, CA 216,784
68 Fort Lauderdale, FL 181,818
69 West Palm Beach, FL 111,006
70 Stamford, CT 130,057
71 Gresham, OR 110,456
72 Fremont, CA 234,829
73 Seattle, WA 741,251
74 Corona, CA 168,112
75 Lakewood, CO 155,733
76 Sacramento, CA 503,482
77 Denver, CO 715,878
78 Fairfield, CA 116,544
79 Eugene, OR 170,457
80 Washington, DC 701,974
81 Murrieta, CA 114,066
82 Riverside, CA 327,569
83 Kent, WA 130,038
84 Fort Collins, CO 166,069
85 Pembroke Pines, FL 171,979
86 Orlando, FL 284,817
87 Lancaster, CA 157,697
88 Everett, WA 110,840
89 Bellevue, WA 146,145
90 Coral Springs, FL 133,370
91 Jersey City, NJ 262,652
92 Portland, OR 650,380
93 Temecula, CA 113,117
94 Miami Gardens, FL 110,767
95 Aurora, CO 379,434
96 College Station, TX 115,802
97 Vancouver, WA 182,792
98 Paradise, NV 193,150
99 New Haven, CT 130,381
100 Stockton, CA 311,103

Most Expensive Places By State

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.