Cost of Living By State 2022

Curious about the cheapest states to live in, or perhaps wondering which expensive states you should avoid? By searching for cost of living by state, you can get a good idea of which areas you might be able to afford. Here is a breakdown of some of the most expensive and most affordable states in the US, and just a few in the middle territory of being about average.


What’s the average cost of living in the US?

To better understand the cost of living by state, it’s good to have an idea of what average looks like. That’s because costs are usually measured on an index of 0 to 100, with 100 being above average. Any state that falls below 100 on the index is considered below average or cheaper than other states.


The state closest to the average cost of living is Virginia, which sits at about 101 on the index. Things that contribute to living costs are usually groceries, housing, utilities, healthcare, and transportation. Often though—a state might have low housing costs, for example, but an average cost for groceries.


California is an excellent example of this. With an overall cost of living that sits at around 150, the cost of healthcare in California is only about 92 on the index. In this case, it’s the high cost of housing that puts the state over the top. Housing in California sits at an extraordinary 239 on the index—the average home price is about $685,000. But other things there, like groceries and utilities, are just slightly over the national average.


Cost of living by states at the lower end

What are some of the more affordable states to live in? At a low 82 on the index, Alabama is one of the cheapest states. Housing is very affordable, at only 56 on the index, with the average cost of a home at around $165,000. Groceries are just below average at 94, but health costs are actually above average at 102.

Kentucky also offers affordable housing, sitting on the index at around 63 with the average cost of a home at around $166,000. Groceries, health costs, and transportation also all fall below average.


Cost of living by states in the middle range

States like Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Utah are all about average. Of course, this might not hold true for the larger cities in Florida and Illinois like Palm Beach and Chicago. Florida sits at around 103 on the index for overall cost of living. You can find new home construction in Florida starting at $300k. But in Palm Beach, the overall cost of living is at 232 on the index, with housing costs at 506—or average home prices of $1.36 million.


The difference between Illinois and Chicago is a little more subtle. The average cost of living in Illinois is around 93 on the index, while the cost of living in Chicago is around 107. Home prices are pretty affordable in Illinois, sitting at about 80 on the index—but housing prices in Chicago are about average. At around 99 on the index, the median home price in Chicago is $291,000.


Cost of living by states in the upper range

What are the most expensive states to live in? California aside, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Alaska are all at the upper end of being expensive. However, by far the most expensive state to live in is Hawaii. The overall cost of living in Hawaii is at around 170 on the index, with the cost of housing surpassing even California at 269 (California sits at around 239 on the index). The average cost of a home in Hawaii is about $732,000.


What makes Hawaii so expensive? Outside of attracting high-income people from across the world, Hawaii is also surrounded by water which can make it expensive to bring outside goods in.



Exploring cost of living by state is one way to choose where you want to live in the future. You can also explore the top ten cheapest places to live in more depth or browse the best cities for first-time homebuyers. In the end, the best place to live is one you can afford—but also one that matches the lifestyle you want to live.


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