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Most expensive places to live

The cost of living depends on rent, gas, food prices, taxes, the state of local economy and other variables. Among the most expensive places to live in the US are Boston, San Jose, Washington D.C., New Haven, California’s Orange County, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Diego, but New York beats them all. Its Manhattan area has a standard of its own. With condominium prices averaging $1.2 million and rent costs more than $2500 a month, it is undoubtedly the most expensive – and largely luxurious – place to live in. Housing costs make up for some 69% of all living expenses, which are more than twice as high as the national average. Strong economy and job growth are the reason for the strength in rental markets. Being the country’s most densely populated county and the home of the New York Stock Exchange, Manhattan is one of the largest and most important business spots in the U.S., and high prices on food, property, gas and services simply gravitate to those. Entertainment, luxury apartments and world-famous residents all contribute to its reputation of an expensive, modern and most importantly, pleasant place to live in.

San Francisco comes as a runner-up, with average rent of a little more than $1,600 and a life cost 98.7% above the mean. The Internet revolution produced many high-income businesses in the city, leading to an escalation in household income and property prices. With its diverse art scene and thriving nightlife, it attracts tourists and visitors, which contributes to higher living standards.

The most expensive cities are also on the list of America’s largest cities, and no wonder: the factors that boost a city’s population often lead to higher living costs as well. Historical and cultural landmarks which attract large numbers of tourists can also boost a city’s income – and the cost of living. Large corporations’ headquarters and centers of business activity can also be a factor, as they allow for higher rent and property prices which then lead to higher costs on anything else.

For an average worker, living in an expensive city is more or less like living anywhere else. They get higher salaries and spend them on more expensive coffee, transportation, rent and all other living costs. For well-off citizens, an expensive city offers diversity, better services and more entertainment. This lavish lifestyle means even small things like beverages and ready-to-eat food can be sold for more, and prices on just about everything go up. Large shopping malls and posh boutique stores also contribute to raising the cost of living, by increasing the inflow of tourists and the car rental costs that come with them. Towns in Alaska are also mentioned among the most expensive, simply because of shipping costs for all the conveniences of modern life – and some tourist attractions.

When basic living expenses are so much higher than the countrywide average, entertainment and recreation can become even harder to afford, in spite of living in a city that has a lot to offer. In short this means that with the benefits of a big city come the drawbacks. Nevertheless, people will keep visiting these cities for all the fun they provide, even if sandwiches and taxi rides are overpriced there.

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