Unsurprisingly, some of America’s biggest cities are also its most expensive.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released relative cost-of-living estimates using 2013 data for the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas and the non-metropolitan parts of states. The Bureau calculated “regional price parities,” which represent how expensive a particular area is, relative to the national average.
The Bureau’s Regional Price Parity (RPP) 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 to that average. For example, the New York City metropolitan area had a 2013 RPP of 122.3, which means that NYC is about 22.3% more expensive than the national average. Meanwhile, Michigan City, IN had a metro area RPP of 85, indicating that goods and services cost 15% less than average.
This map shows the RPP for each metro area, along with RPPs for the non-metropolitan parts of states, made up of small towns and rural areas. Blue regions are cheaper than the national average, and red regions are more expensive:
Here are the 15 most expensive metro areas:
And the 15 least expensive: