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What States Have the Highest Cost of Living?

What States Have the Highest Cost of Living?
September 3, 2020

As Mark Twain once said, “The cost of living has had no effect on its popularity.”
But popular though living maybe, not everyone pays the same price for it. The cost of living varies from state to state, usually depending on what the state has to offer. The states with the highest costs of living generally have features that make them more desirable than others.

What are the Most Expensive States to Live In?

At Colonial Van Lines, we’ve driven through a lot of states, and we always wonder what drives the gas pump prices up. That’s why we did a little investigating on the subject at worldreview.com.  So, without further ado, here are the most expensive states to live in and why people are willing to pay so darn much to live in them. 


Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for living in Paradise. Topping the list with a whopping 92.2% higher than the national average, Hawaii is the state with the highest cost of living in America. Why so high? Because Hawaii is an island and most of its goods need to be shipped in from the mainland. On average, you can expect to pay 30% more for goods in Hawaii than you would in the rest of the states.

Washington, DC

DC is back and more expensive than ever. ‘Back’ after years of population loss, DC owes its high cost of living to its recent economic developments and job opportunities. At 58.4% higher than the national average, the District Columbia ranks second on the list of the most expensive states to live in.


It’s a California dream, but it’s a transportation nightmare. Thanks in part to its notoriously high gas prices, (the highest in the country), California has a transportation index of 38.9% more than the rest of the country. That, along with the shockingly high cost of housing, (a 2 bedroom apartment will run you about $2,495 – higher in L.A. and San Francisco), make the Golden State the state with the third-highest cost of living in the United States.

New York

When Frankie said, “If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere,” was he referring to the rent? With the cost of a two-bedroom apartment at an average of $3,675 in New York City and a two-bedroom unit at an average of $1,528, New York’s housing index is a stunning 104.4 % higher than the cost of housing in other states. The average living wage in New York is $59,128. Learn more about what it’s like living in New York here!


With employment opportunities abounding, thanks to companies like Nike, Boeing, and Intel and a wealth of startups, Oregon may be well worth its price index of 34.2 % higher than the rest of America. And while Oregon rents are below the median, they are significantly higher around cities like Portland. Looks like keeping it weird is keeping Oregon on its toes. Learn more about moving to Oregon here!


After you get your degree from Harvard, you should be well prepared to pay for a home that costs over 3 times the national average. Although Massachusetts is the sixth most expensive state in the nation, it is also the best educated. At $77,378, Massachusetts has the highest median income in the country. Learn more about moving to Massachusetts here!


The 49th state to join the union is the state with the 7th highest cost of living in America. Like Hawaii, Alaska also needs to have most of its goods shipped from the mainland, driving prices of basic essentials higher. It also has cold and dark winters, which lead to large energy bills. Fortunately, Alaskans are well equipped to handle it. With a median income of $76,715, and dividends from oil sales Alaska is all good.


What’s close proximity to Washington DC and some of the best blue crab in the United States worth to you? How about living in the eighth-most expensive state in the US? Yet, while the average price of a home in Maryland costs $79,450 the median salary offers ample compensation. At $81, 868, Maryland’s median household income is the second-highest in the nation.


They say talk is cheap, but the stimulating conversation you’ll find in Connecticut may be worth the price of the high cost of living. With a top-notch education system (cough, Yale), Connecticuters are some of the most well-educated people in the United States. Yet, they are also paying $10.63 for a bottle of white wine – double the price of wine in most other states. Utility bills are high and rents are high as well. Homeowners can expect to pay $662, 447 for a home, and over $200 a month on utilities.

New Jersey

It’s known as the diner capital of the world, the home of Bruce Springsteen, and the legendary Jersey shore. Add to that list, the tenth most expensive state in the US. Boss as it may be, the Garden State has a median home price above the national average and the highest property tax rate in the country. But with the third-highest median income in the country, the New Jersey residents say, “fuhgeddaboudit.”

A Word from Colonial Van Lines

Now that we know where we shouldn’t stop for gas, we want you to know a little bit about us.

  • We are a fully licensed and insured moving company with 50 years of experience in the industry.
  • We care about our customers. We stand by our customers from the beginning to the end of their moves, handling all aspects in between.
  • We offer a wide range of services. As a full- service company, we offer a wide range of flexible service plans including long-distance moving, expert packing, and clean, climate-controlled storage facilities.
  • We provide customized service plans to suit your needs and budget. We’ll work with you to devise a moving plan that optimizes your time, money, and effort.
  • We offer free no-obligation moving quotes.  As part of our policy of transparency and honesty, we offer free no obligation rate quotes to all our customers.

Whether you’re living in one of the states with the highest cost of living or not, Colonial Van Lines offers the best quality moving services in the nation. Request our free rate quote today, and we’ll get you situated.


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