The most and least expensive places to live in America

  • America's big cities tend to be more expensive than other parts of the country.

  • Using recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we looked at the most and least expensive places to live in the US.

America's big coastal cities are really expensive.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data on personal income and the cost of living in 2016 for metropolitan areas and the nonmetropolitan parts of states. One of the main indicators the BEA released shows the relative cost of living in different parts of the country.

Regional price parity is an index that sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100, with a particular region's RPP showing how the cost of living in that region compares with that average.

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For example, the New York City metropolitan area had a 2016 RPP of 122.0, which means NYC and its suburbs are about 22% more expensive than the national average. Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia, had an RPP of 78.8, meaning that goods and services cost just about four-fifths as much as the national average.

Here's a map illustrating the RPP of the country's metropolitan areas and of the parts of states that fall outside those areas. Regions in blue are less expensive than the national average, with darker blue regions indicating the lowest relative cost of living. Regions in red are more expensive than average, with darker red showing a higher cost of living:

most expensive places in america
most expensive places in america

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Bureau of Economic Analysis

And here are the ten most expensive (in red) and least expensive (in blue) metro areas in the country:

most and least expensive metro areas chart
most and least expensive metro areas chart

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Bureau of Economic Analysis

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