15 Most Unaffordable States to Live

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The quest for the perfect place to call home in the USA often leads to a rude awakening about the cost of living. From the eye-watering price of a modest home to the gulp-inducing total at the grocery store checkout, let’s dive into the reality of the 15 most unaffordable states in the US. Buckle up; it’s going to be an expensive ride.

1. California – The Golden (State) Gouge

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / TierneyMJ

In California, a median home price floats around $800,000, but in places like San Francisco, that number skyrockets to over $1.3 million. Rent? About $2,800 for a one-bedroom in the city. High taxes, gas at $4+ a gallon, and a cost of living 50% above the national average make it a tough state for savers. But hey, you’ve got beaches, tech jobs, and avocados.

2. Hawaii – Paradise at a Premium

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Theodore Trimmer

Hawaii isn’t just geographically isolated; it’s on another planet financially. Median home prices are above $1 million, with Honolulu rents averaging $2,300. Groceries can be 30-60% more than the mainland, thanks to shipping costs. Salaries are higher, but they’re swallowed by costs, from gas at $3.50+ to healthcare that’s pricier due to the remote location.

3. New York – The Empire Spends Back

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / pisaphotography

New York’s allure comes with a hefty price tag. A median NYC home costs over $1 million, with rents for a tiny apartment at $3,000+. Upstate offers relief, but not much. Taxes are high, gas is around $2.80/gallon, and getting into the city (if you’re not already there) adds to daily expenses. But the diversity, culture, and opportunities? Unmatched.

4. Massachusetts – Revolutionary Prices

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

In Massachusetts, the median home price hits $530,000, with Boston’s rents around $2,500. Healthcare and education are top-notch but costly. High state income taxes and gas at $2.70/gallon don’t help. You’re paying for access to history, academia, and clam chowder.

5. Oregon – Green but Expensive

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Oregon’s median home price stands at $470,000, with Portland rents at $1,500. No sales tax, but high state income taxes and gas at $3/gallon balance that out. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and foodies, but your wallet will feel the hike.

6. Washington – Tech Wealth and High Costs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Seattle’s tech boom means jobs but also a median home price near $800,000 and rents at $2,100. No state income tax, but sales tax near 10% and gas at $3.50/gallon. Great coffee and mountain views come at a cost.

7. Colorado – Rocky Mountain High Prices

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Denver’s median home price is around $600,000, with rents at $1,700. High state income taxes, gas at $2.80/gallon, and a cost of living 12% above the national average. The outdoors is your playground, if you can afford it.

8. Alaska – The Last Frontier for Your Wallet

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rex Lisman

Despite no sales or state income tax, Alaska’s remote location means high costs for groceries and healthcare. Median home prices are around $310,000, with rents at $1,200. Gas is pricey at $3.20/gallon, but the natural beauty is unparalleled.

9. New Jersey – Garden State, Wallet Wilt

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mihai_Andritoiu

With some of the highest property taxes in the nation, a median home price of $400,000, and gas at $3/gallon, New Jersey makes sure you pay for its proximity to NYC and Philly. The shore’s nice, if you can afford the property taxes.

10. Maryland – High Income, High Costs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Felix Lipov

A median home in Maryland costs $360,000, with rents around $1,700. High state income taxes, gas at $2.90/gallon, and a cost of living 20% above the national average. You’re paying for access to D.C., good schools, and crab cakes.

11. Connecticut – New England’s Pricey Corner

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Expect to pay a median price of $320,000 for a home, with rents at $1,400. High taxes, gas at $3/gallon, and living costs 21% above the national average. The charm of small towns and access to NYC come at a high cost.

12. Rhode Island – Small State, Big Expenses

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

With a median home price of $380,000 and average rents at $1,500, Rhode Island’s charm is costly. High taxes and healthcare costs, plus gas at $2.80/gallon, make this small state a big spender’s game. Its coastal beauty and seafood are top-notch, if your wallet can handle it.

13. Vermont – The Green Mountain Spend

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Vermont, with its lush landscapes and artisanal everything, has a median home price around $330,000 and rent at $1,400. High healthcare costs, state taxes, and a cost of living that’s 20% above the national average mean you’re paying a premium for that serene lifestyle. Gas here hits $2.90/gallon, making those scenic drives a bit less sweet.

14. Virginia – Historical High Costs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Virginia’s rich history comes with equally rich living costs. The median home price is around $350,000, with Northern Virginia closer to $600,000 due to its proximity to D.C. Average rent is $1,700, with high healthcare costs and state income tax. Gas averages $2.70/gallon, but at least you’re close to the nation’s capital and a wealth of historical sites.

15. Illinois – The Windy (Pricey) City

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Illinois, and especially Chicago, can blow your budget away. A median home price in the state is around $230,000, but in Chicago, it jumps to $350,000+, with rents averaging $2,000. High property taxes, state income tax, and living costs 20% above the national average in the city make it a tough financial nut to crack. Gas at $3.30/gallon doesn’t help, but the city’s vibrant culture, food scene, and sports might just make it worth it.

Brace Your Wallets

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yuliya Padina

Each of these states offers its own version of the American dream, served with a side of steep costs. Before you pack your bags for paradise, make sure your wallet is as ready for the adventure as you are. Dream big, spend wisely!

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The post 15 Most Unaffordable States to Live was republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andy Dean Photography.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.


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