America’s Most Expensive Cities 2010

We all know that Paris is the world’s most expensive city to live in, but what about for the folks living in the good ol’ U.S. of A? For those wanting to live in some haute digs but don’t want to leave the comforts of home, Forbes has the answers. It turns out (though not surprisingly) New York City is the most expensive place to live in the United States and ranks eighth in the world. But who else makes the cut from sea to shining sea? Let’s find out.

L.A.: In another not-so-shocking twist, Los Angeles makes the cut as No. 2 on the list. Though it does not rank as high as NYC in terms of housing costs (making a six-figure income will only get you a middle-class status in the Big Apple), LA trumps every other city when it comes to commuting. Gas prices are one of the highest in the U.S. and many residents work six-day weeks just to stay afloat. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates on the mainland.

Honolulu: We’ll have to travel a bit more (say, off the mainland) to live in Forbes’s No. 5 spot. For many, Honolulu, Hawaii is considered paradise. And they’d be right, though it doesn’t come cheap: Honolulu living costs 55 percent more than the average U.S. city mainly because mostly everything must be imported, from cars, gas, and metals to household products like meat, dairy, and food products. Gas prices are the highest there and there’s very little worker satisfaction since most employers only offer part-time hours (though some might consider that a good thing).

Miami: No. 6 on the list is just a little more Southern and a bit more tropical. Miami has earned quite a reputation as a global, fashion, entertainment, and cultural mecca. It’s also quite the hot spot for celebrities such as Shakira, Lenny Kravitz, and our own cover subject, Emilio Estefan, along with his wife Gloria, who call “The Magic City” home. Though housing prices have dropped just a bit in the recent years, amenities like groceries and public services are still as high as the bright blue Miami sky.

Aspen: Another chart topper (and we’re not talking about music) is considered a winter version of Beverly Hills. Aspen, Colo. is riddled with high-end outlets such as Gucci and Prada; and it topped the list of most expensive home prices in 2009, with the average housing price being $2.6 million and four residences being sold for more than $30 million in 2010. You always enjoy it during your annual ski vacation, so why not make it a permanent residence?

Juneau: The last chart topper mentioned on Forbes’s list is also off the mainland. For being a little less than populated, Juneau, Alaska’s got some high prices. Remember that like Hawaii, Alaska needs to import most of its necessities as well, a major factor in the cost of living there. With fuel having to travel by air, the cost of gas can be as high as $9 per gallon, and the costs of housing, utilities, and health care are 40 to 100 percent higher than the national average. Transportation and grocery items are 25 percent higher than in other major cities as well.

As the well-known saying goes, “nothing in life is free,” and, as expected, you’re going to have to pay a hefty price for paradise.

Via Forbes