Rent costs have been rapidly increasing across urban areas in the United States. In fact, areas like San Francisco and Denver have seen yearly average rental costs increases over 10 percent. Income growth has been essentially flat since the 2008 recession, which makes the increase in housing costs even more significant. The three cities in the United States with the highest cost of living are New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.    


The Big Apple is famous for its high cost of living. Residents of New York are drawn to the city for its job prospects, cultural attractions, and robust night life. Those benefits come at a high premium. According to, the average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in the New York City is $3039. The expensive real estate prices coupled with New York’s high tax rate — it has the highest combined sales and income tax of any state — make the city that never sleeps an expensive proposition. Despite such high expenses, the minimum wage in New York is just $8.75 an hour. However, politicians hope to increase that in the near future.


Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

The rise of Silicon Valley amid the technology revolution of the 21st century has transformed San Francisco into one of the United States’ most expensive cities. The bay area as a whole has seen a significant increase in the cost of living recently with San Francisco leading the charge. The city’s great climate and proximity to fast growing and innovative companies make it a destination for millennials. As of May, the average one bedroom apartment in San Francisco cost $3213 a month, and the average two bedroom apartment cost a shocking $4385 a per month. The minimum wage in San Francisco is $12.25 an hour but will increase to $15.00 an hour by 2018.


Washington D.C. has also become one of the United States most expensive cities. The capital’s population has increased from 572,000 residents in 2000 to 646,000 in 2014, and the housing supply has not been able to keep up with demand. The average cost of a one bedroom apartment in the nation’s capital is $1741 a month. Washington D.C.’s minimum wage is currently set at $10.50 an hour but will rise to $11.50 an hour next year.


Are these cities worth the cost? Are there ways around the high price tags? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on twitter @Andrew_Morse4