The Cost of Living: The Most Expensive and Affordable States in America
The 2017 cost-of-living index figures by C2ER (Council for Community and Economic Research) are out, and they reveal that where you live in America has a significant impact on the economic challenges you face. Despite continued widespread recovery tactics, no country is immune from economic slumps, but higher than average state autonomy in America means economic growth varies by state. While one might expect to see California and New York on the list of most expensive states in America, shifting economic landscapes make several unexpected states more expensive as well. Complicated economic factors, as well as public officials struggling to meet the challenges of the future, make these ten states the most expensive and most affordable in America.
Most Expensive States
The Aloha State takes the top spot as the most expensive state in America. Palm-fringed, sandy beaches, sizzling cultural melts, and incredibly beautiful flora and fauna make Hawaii a magical allure. However, all these goodies come with a steep price. Looking to buy a home in Hawaii? That’ll set you back a whopping $1 million on average. And that isn’t all – it’ll cost you nearly $3,000 to rent a two-bedroom apartment, and the monthly energy bill is estimated at $455.51, a figure that’s about three times what you’d shed in some leafy suburbs of California.
2. New York
The Empire State takes second place as the most expensive state in America. The high price of living in this state is evident in the average home price of $1.6 million, while renting a cozy two-bedroom apartment averages $4,200 in monthly rent. Despite the improvement in unemployment rates since the end recession, New York continues to battle with aging infrastructure and starkly different growth rates.
California is also one of the most expensive states in America. High housing costs in this state have long made it one of the pricier states, but population growth is another concern. At around $1 million, the average price of a home in metro San Francisco is the third-highest nationwide. While the state holds only 12% of the American population, nearly 33% of all welfare recipients are Californian.
Massachusetts is officially more expensive to live in than Alaska! The cost of groceries is through the roof, with 24-ounce T-bone steak going for more than $62! While the average price of a home is $634,233, expect to pay three or even five times more in most Newton, Framingham, and Cambridge neighborhoods. At $2,668, the average rent for a sweet two-bedroom apartment in Boston is the fourth-highest in the US.
A newcomer to this list, Alaska – the moose state – offers unsurpassed natural beauty and close-knit culture you’ll never find elsewhere. With only 760 farms, it’s no surprise that most produce and food items are hauled from different states. And that trickles down to tons of other costs. A loaf of bread that goes for a mere $1.79 in Iowa will set you back $4.68 in Anchorage. Paying utility bills ($201.39 for energy) and healthcare isn’t a walk in the park either.
Least Expensive States
One of the less densely populated states, Mississippi, is one of the least expensive states to live in. With a low per capita income, the state’s housing costs remain correspondingly low as well, making the cost of living affordable. Mississippi previously relied mainly on cotton production to drive the economy. In the last two decades or so, however, Mississippi has diversified its agricultural and livestock industries, ensuring economic growth.
Indiana is famous for the Indianapolis 500 and low-cost homes (averaged at $270,204). At the Crossroads of America, you can expect rock-bottom prices for groceries and other basic food items. A head of lettuce goes for a paltry $1.04 while a pound of coffee and ground beef will set you back just $4.43 and $3.74, respectively. A boom in the local economy has pushed prices up a teensy bit, but you can still pick up a check at dinner.
The Great Lakes State, much like Mississippi and Arkansas, offers low-cost housing (averaged at $274,355) for consumers. Still, it’s consistently ranked in the top ten for the best states to do business. After all, this is the home of the American auto industry. The average gas price in Detroit was about $2.04 when it hit over $3 in most parts of the country. The auto industry has bounced back, healthcare is thriving, and high-tech jobs are supplanting manufacturing, helping this state become more competitive to prospective employers and keeping the economy working for Michigan citizens.
Arkansas is a more rural state, offering consumers low housing costs. Arkansas also boasts incredibly low costs for doing business, attracting six Fortune 500 companies to the state. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is just $700 a month, and the monthly energy bill is $145.79, roughly half of what you’d pay in Massachusetts. In short, Arkansas’ low-cost living is balanced by a lower household income than average but still remains a top state for the economic climate.
The Sooner State, the home of undulating wheat fields, rounds up our list. The cost of groceries, including a loaf of wheat bread for less than $3, is appropriately cheap. A grand 2,400 square-foot home will only chip off around $300K from your bank account. With a sub-$150 monthly energy bill and low-cost healthcare, Oklahoma is certainly one of the best places you’d be lucky to call home.
In conclusion, the cost of living is a crucial factor when considering where to live in America. These ten states show that the cost of living can vary significantly depending on the state you live in. From the Aloha State of Hawaii to the affordable Mississippi, each state provides unique opportunities and challenges for residents. The economic landscape will continue to shift, and it’s essential to consider the cost of living when making decisions about where to live in America.