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Economics

40 U.S. Cities With The Highest Cost Of Living

TristaDecember 10, 2021
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12. Amagansett, New York

Amagansett is a census-designated place on New York’s Long Island and is a perfect retreat for those who can afford big-city living but prefer a quieter life instead. Whereas residents of Amagansett could be shelling out millions for a shoebox apartment in Manhattan, they choose to live in a more rural setting where the average home value is over $3 million and the homes are much more spacious (via Go Banking Rates). Annual expenditures come out to nearly $325,000 per person, and you can imagine that that amount probably includes a fair number of Broadway shows and shopping trips down Fifth Avenue (via Go Banking Rates). Residents also have easy access to the beach community of Montauk.

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11. Rolling Hills, California

Rolling Hills was developed by the same planner who created the nearby town of Hidden Hills, both parts of the Los Angeles Metro Area (via Hidden Hills). This equestrian town has no traffic lights, and the houses are all one-story ranch homes or haciendas. While you may believe the idea of living in such a tightly regulated small town is passe, people pay heavy dollars to live in Rolling Hills. The average value of those ranches and/or hacienda homes is over $3.4 million and residents pay just under $329,000 in annual living expenses (via Go Banking Rates). 

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10. Water Mill, New York

Water Mill is a census-designated place on Long Island, making it a small town with beach access and just a short train ride from New York City. The city is also incredibly historic and boasts the first water mill in New York, dating back to the year 1644 (via Water Mill Museum). Life in this landmark town costs an average of $333,713 per year per person, coming out to $27,809 per person. The average value of a home, as of January 2021, is nearly $3.3 million, making this town affordable only to high earners in Manhattan and celebrities who want a second home (via Go Banking Rates).

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9. Beverly Hills, California

Nothing says high life quite like Beverly Hills, the legendary abode of movie stars. People who live in Beverly Hills pay far more than those in the rest of Los Angeles to cover their annual living expenses, $344,303 per year (via Go Banking Rates). If you can’t afford nearly $30,000 per month, not including the money you would put into savings, don’t even think of trying to move to Beverly Hills. The average value on this unique piece of real estate is upwards of $5.32 million (via Zillow). This means that a 20% down payment would be over one million.

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8. Belvedere, California

Belvedere is a unique town in the small townscape of Silicon Valley (via CN Traveler). This census-designated place is based on two islands separated by a lagoon, making Belvedere the choice for Silicon Valley top earners who want to be part of the prestigious yacht club. Belvedere was home to Vivian Vance, the actress who played Ethel on I Love Lucy until she died, and it has also been home to many other celebrities and Silicon Valley techs. Life in Belvedere costs an average of $345,879 per person per year, and the average value of a home is an eye-popping $4.256 million (via Go Banking Rates). 

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7. Stinson Beach, California

Stinson Beach is a favorite for some high-earning Silicon Valley leaders (via NPS). People who live in this idyllic enclave shell out an average of $356,279 per year to cover their personal living expenses; that amount comes out to nearly $30,000 per month. Homes in Stinson Beach have an average value that is just shy of $4 million, meaning that to own a piece of paradise in this exclusive area, you can expect to put down a 20% payment of $785,230 (via Go Banking Rates).

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6. Wainscott, New York

Wainscott is a census-designated place on Long Island that is steeped in history. The Wainscott School was the last one-room schoolhouse to operate in the United States (via Wikipedia). It lasted from 1730 until 2008, when an annex was built, and the school was no longer one room. Owning a part of this dramatic piece of American history comes at a steep price, with the average home value a whopping $2.56 million in January 2021 (via Go Banking Rates). Residents of Wainscott pay an average of $384,394 in annual living expenses, making this small CDP on Long Island one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country.

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5. Portola Valley, California

Portola Valley might be considered the spoiled little sister of Palo Alto. Palo Alto has served as the incubator of many tech geniuses and the companies they have built, and it has one of the highest costs of living in the country (via Best Places). Portola Valley has an even higher cost of living despite not having the accomplishments of Palo Alto. In this small census-designated place, the average value is $4.1 million, and residents pay an average of $393,471 to cover their annual living expenses (via Go Banking Rates).

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4. Hillsborough, California

Hillsborough is another super high-end small town in Silicon Valley full of mega-mansions for wealthy tech executives who have shaped so much of the world in which we live. It also has many historical landmarks, making it a great place to visit for those who are visiting San Francisco. People who live in Hillsborough pay an average of $410,112 to cover their annual living expenses, an amount that comes out to $34,176 per month (via Go Banking Rates). The average value of a home in Hillsborough is nearly $4.6 million, making a decent down payment about a million dollars (via Zillow).

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3. Los Altos Hills, California

There’s Los Altos, and then there’s Los Altos Hills, and the “Hills” ending should indicate that this small town is an even more affluent area than Los Altos (via Wikipedia). The city has expansive lots that house mega-mansions and all the toys that billionaires desire. People who live in Los Altos Hills pay an average of $421,017 each year to cover their living expenses, meaning that they are shelling out $35,085 every single month (via Go Banking Rates). The average value of a home in Los Altos Hills, as of January 2021, came out to nearly $4.7 million.

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2. Jupiter Island, Florida

Jupiter Island has the largest per-capita income of any other place in the entire country. This island off the coast of Florida is home to some of the country’s largest, and most expensive homes, worth an average of $5.24 million as of January 2021 (via Go Banking Rates). Residents of Jupiter Island pay an average of $477,750 per year to cover their own living expenses, meaning that they are forking out nearly $40,000 every single month.

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1. Atherton, California

The most affluent, most exclusive, and most expensive place to live in the entire country has long been the small town of Atherton, California (via Wikipedia). Annual expenditures for someone who lives in Atherton are a whopping $575,834 per person per year, and the average value of a home is nearly $6.6 million (via Go Banking Rates). No other place on this list comes close to the cost of living in Atherton. To afford to live in this palatial residential area, you have to be an executive-level earner at a Silicon Valley company. How much does that person need to make? Bet on an income that would allow you to spend nearly $50,000 per month.

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