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15 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the United States

Where will the cost of living eat up more of your paycheck? These cities rank among the most expensive to live in, according to Apartment Guide.

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NEW YORK CITYRyan DeBerardinis/shutterstock

1. New York City

Living in the Big Apple will take a big bite out of your paycheck. The average one-bedroom apartment rents for $4,146.71, more than 200 percent more than the national average, according to Apartment Guide. But the jacked-up prices don’t end there—Kiplinger’s reports that grocery prices in Manhattan are 40 percent more expensive than the national average, and you’ll pay 27 percent more to get around town. It’s definitely not a cheap town to consider for retirement.

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San francisco Hyde Street Cable Car Tram of the Powell-Hyde in California USAlunamarina/Shutterstock

2. San Francisco

San Francisco’s skyrocketing housing costs have made national news—and have helped them rank as the second most expensive place to live in the United States. The average one-bedroom apartment rents for $3,854, and the median house value is $1.3 million, according to Zillow. It’s no wonder that 91 percent of Bay Area residents say their cost of living is high.

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Castro Street in downtown Mountain View, California, USA. Morning sunshine.Lynn Yeh/Shutterstock

3. Mountain View, California

You can blame Google for making the price of living in Mountain View so high—the tech company’s headquarters are in town. Mountain View rents one-bedrooms for $3,828, and the median rents have doubled in the past nine years, according to Bloomberg.

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Exterior view of houses located in a residential neighborhood; Redwood City; San Francisco bay area, California Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

4. Redwood City, California

Redwood City is yet another northern California town with exorbitantly high rental costs. It had the most expensive studio apartments—with $3,361 for a studio—and the fourth-highest rents for one-bedrooms, just a few hundred less than its neighbor, Mountain View.

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Santa Monica California beach colorful houses in USAlunamarina/Shutterstock

5. Santa Monica, California

This Southern California beach town near Los Angeles comes in fifth with one-bedroom rents at $3,786. The cost of living there is about 48 percent higher than the national average, and the median home price is $1.7 million—though the Santa Monica real estate market is cooling, according to Zillow. Find out how much the average house costs in each state.

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Menlo Park, CaliforniaJHVEPhoto/shutterstock

6. Menlo Park, California

Facebook’s headquarters have jacked up the cost of living in its home base, with the average one-bedroom rent 172.11 percent above the national average. Buying a house may be even more out of reach—the median home value in Menlo Park is $2.2 million, according to Zillow.

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Famous landmark Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California.Maks Ershov/Shutterstock

7. West Hollywood, California

There’s a good reason that so many cities in California rank among the most expensive places to live—the state had the second-highest cost of living in the country, according to CNBC. In addition to rents 172 percent higher than the national average, the median home value is $820,000.

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BOSTONWangkun Jia/shutterstock

8. Boston

Boston may be a college town, but it’s not exactly affordable for the average cash-strapped college student. In fact, the cost of living in Boston is about 50 percent above the national average, according to Kiplinger’s, and the average one-bedroom rental is $3,533.

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Foster City, CA/USAjejim/shutterstock

9. Foster City, California

Another Northern California town, Foster City has high rents for any class of apartment—for a two-bedroom, you’re looking at an average rent of $4,690, nearly 200 percent higher than the national average. Like so many of its California neighbors, it’s the cost of housing that makes the cost of living so high, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

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Urban garden detailJorge Salcedo/shutterstock

10. Brighton, Massachusetts

This Boston neighborhood has high apartment rental costs—its average one-bedroom rental is $3,402 per month—and that helps create a cost of living that’s 39.5 percent higher than the rest of the country, according to Salary.com. Looking for some other relocation ideas? Try one of these best places to live in each state.

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Palo Alto, CA/USA - circa June 2011: Streets of Palo Alto, Californiaamadeustx/shutterstock

11. Palo Alto, California

Located in the epicenter of Northern California’s high tech corridor, Palo Alto’s home to several tech companies, including Tesla. Currently in Palo Alto, one-bedroom apartment rents are 153 percent above the national average, and two-bedroom apartments run 193 percent higher than the national average.

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 New modern homes in an upmarket residential neighborhood Playa Vista, CA. divanov/Shutterstock

12. Playa Vista, California

This neighborhood of Los Angeles has become Southern California’s Silicon Valley outpost, with Google opening up headquarters there. And that’s helped hike up housing costs, with a one-bedroom apartment renting for $3,353, and median home values at just over the $1 million mark.

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San Bruno, California 1260466108/shutterstock

13. San Bruno, California

Located just outside San Francisco, San Bruno shares its ultrahigh housing costs. One-bedroom rentals are 150 percent higher than the national average, and the overall cost of living is a whopping 62.5 percent higher than the national average. Looking to save some cash and live outside the United States? Try one of these cheapest cities to live around the world.

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Fisherman's Village has colorful storefronts and a wide brick walk in Marina Del Rey, California.Lynne Albright/Shutterstock

14. Marina Del Rey, California

It’s all about location, location, location when it comes to real estate costs, and living in a coastal spot that’s a neighbor of Los Angeles? It’s going to cost you. One-bedroom apartment rentals in Marina Del Rey run 154 percent above the national average.

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Mission Santa ClaraMariusz S. Jurgielewicz/shutterstock

15. Santa Clara, California

Silicon Valley stalwart Santa Clara has high one-bedroom rents—$3,227 on average, according to Apartment Guide. And that helps create a super-high cost of living overall—51.4 percent above the national average, according to Salary.com. Looking to move? You’ll get more for your money in these towns that are least expensive for renters.

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