10 Things Travel

Contrary to popular belief, Hawaii is NOT the most expensive place to live in the US

Did you know that one of the busiest Costco’s in the country is just outside the airport in Hawaii?

People fly in, taxi over to the Costco, and purchase their entire vacation supply immediately upon landing.  It’s cheaper to do it this way than it is to ship everything over yourself or to buy provisions at the grocery store.

Hawaii gets a bum wrap about this – their prices may be higher than on the continental 48 states, but that doesn’t mean that Hawaii is the most expensive place in the country to live, does it?

Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond
Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond

Would you believe that’s not true, according to the COMMERCE DEPARTMENT’S BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS?

Nope, according to their research, it is just slightly more expensive to live in Washington DC than it is to live in Hawaii.

What were the Top Ten Most Expensive States to Live In?

  1. Washington DC
  2. Hawaii
  3. New York
  4. New Jersey
  5. California
  6. Maryland
  7. Connecticut
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Alaska
  10. New Hampshire

In other words, aside from the outliers of Alaska, Hawaii, and California — living in the greater Northeast is going to cost you a pretty penny.

So where should you move to if you’re hoping to save some money?


  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Alabama
  4. Missouri
  5. South Dakota
  6. West Virginia
  7. Kentucky
  8. Ohio
  9. Iowa
  10. Oklahoma

The two states that were at the middle?  Where the expense gap was just a little bit higher on one and just a little bit lower on the other?  The magic place is between Illinois and Oregon.

The interesting thing is that of the 51 places listed, just 16 states were classified as being more expensive to live in than the average.  So for the most part, we’re doing okay.  Of course, those 16 states are also among the most crowded, so you take the good with the bad on this one…