Urban areas with the highest, lowest cost of living

Of the 269 urban areas in the Council for Community and Economic Research's most recent Cost of Living Index, the Manhattan borough of New York City was the most expensive and Decatur, Ill., was the least expensive. 

The third quarter of 2023 index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, "for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile." Data is collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. 

The index is based on six categories: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services. 

In the latest index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in Manhattan to more than 20% below the national average in Decatur.

Here are the 10 most expensive urban areas in the index, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research:

1. New York City (Manhattan): 227.8

2. Honolulu: 179.2

3. San Jose, Calif.: 171.3

4. San Francisco: 169.5

5. New York City (Brooklyn): 159.7

6. Orange County (California): 151.2

7. Boston: 148

8. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.: 147.3

9. Seattle: 145.7

10. Washington, D.C.: 145.3

Here are the 10 least expensive urban areas in the index:

Note: The list includes ties.

1. Decatur, Ill.: 77

2. Harlingen, Texas: 79.7

3. McAllen, Texas: 80.2

4. Ponca City, Okla.: 80.4

5. Augusta-Aiken Ga.-S.C.: 82.8

6. Anniston-Calhoun County, Ala.: 83

6. Florence, Ala.: 83

6. Ashland, Ohio: 83

9. Conway, Ark.: 83.1

9. Tupelo, Miss.: 83.1

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