Manhattan By Far The Most Expensive Place To Live In The US


nycYou probably guessed it from the $14 cocktails and $3,000-a-month rents for a studio apartment: Manhattan is pricey.

But there’s more hard data to prove that it’s by far the most expensive place to live in the United States.

How expensive?

Manhattan rates a Cost of Living Index of 233.5, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

That’s based on a national index average of 100 – so Manhattan is well over twice as pricey as the average.

The council evaluated 300 US cities to determine their index numbers based on the cost of 60 consumer goods and services – from grocery items and housing to health care and transportation. (For the purposes of this survey, New York City’s boroughs are treated as distinct cities.)

A distant second on the list was Brooklyn, with an index of 183.4. Queens was sixth, with an index of 151.4.

The council said about 29 percent of the average American urban dweller’s spending goes for housing. That helps explain why Manhattan and Brooklyn rank so high.

Queens housing prices are lower than in Manhattan and Brooklyn but Queens earns its high ranking because its grocery items, utilities, transportation and health-care costs were higher than Brooklyn’s, according to the council.

Other big-bucks cities are Honolulu, which ranks third thanks to soaring food prices, and San Francisco, which was fourth because of its scarce housing stock and high transportation and health-care costs.

Other costly cities to live in are San Jose, Calif., which ranks fifth, and Stamford, Conn., at seventh, according to the council’s statistics.

Dead last on the list of 300 cities is the Texas border town of Harlingen, which had an index of 81.6.

That means living in Manhattan is three times more expensive. (But why would you want to live in Harlingen, Texas?)

For the record, the cheapest cities after Harlingen are Memphis; McAllen, Texas; Fayetteville, Ark.; Temple, Texas; Conway, Ark.; Pueblo, Colo.; Wichita Falls, Texas; Springfield, Ill., and Winston-Salem, NC – all well below the national average.

The council has been computing the most expensive American cities for 45 years and the list of has been fairly stable. Between this quarterly report and the last one, Honolulu and San Francisco traded places, as did Queens and Stamford.

Paying the price

The 7 most expensive places to live in the nation:

1. Manhattan

2. Brooklyn

3. Honolulu

4. San Francisco

5. San Jose

6. Queens

7. Stamford, Conn.


{ Newscenter}


  1. If they specify exactly where in Brooklyn is the most expensive, they will find – surprise surprise – Boro Park & Flatbush! Insane! What ever happened to the “housing bubble”, “unemployment”, “stock market crash”, etc…?! A lot of the blame falls on the shoulders of those evil greedy real estate “agents”! People are willing to sell their home for a “normal” price but those evil ones come along and tell the seller: oh come on you can get much more then that! Don’t “settle” for that price! Come on this is “prime” Flatbush! And when the stupid buyer pays the high outrageous price & eventually can’t make his mortgage payments, we’re supposed to “feel bad” for him!!! We all say: too bad! This is what you get for ruining our neighborhood. Why don’t you go live with that real estate agent who “sold” you that house!