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10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

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Expensive soda

Which U.S. cities have the highest costs of living?

The Council for Community and Economic Research recently measured the prices of common purchases in 307 urban areas to find the cost of the professional standard of living in each location. The index, its fifth edition, crunched more than 50,000 prices -- everything from grocery items to transportation to housing.

The national average on the index is 100.

Following is a look at each of the 10 most expensive cities in the United States.

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Manhattan, N.Y. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Manhattan, New York


Manhattan, New York

Manhattan, New York, once again ranks as the most expensive place to live in the U.S. The city in 2012 had cost of living index of 225.4 -- more than double the national average.

New York has remained America's most expensive city since 2007, when the Cost of Living Index released the first edition of its annual report.

Market prices in Manhattan


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.34
  • Monthly rent - $3,902
  • Home price - $1,303,421
  • Gallon of gas - $3.967
  • Haircut - $22.21
  • Movie ticket - $13.33
  • Bottle of wine - $9.67

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

New York,Brooklyn

Brooklyn, New York


People walk past Brooklyn Brewery on October 23, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Though a half-gallon of milk would cost you less in Brooklyn than in Harlingen, Texas, which ranks as America's most affordable city, Brooklynites pay nearly twice as much for haircuts.

With a cost of living index of 178.6, Brooklyn, New York, ranks as the second most expensive place to live in the U.S. The Council for Community and Economic Research has ranked the birthplace of Barbra Streisand as the second most expensive city in the U.S. every year since 2007.

Market prices in Brooklyn, New York --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.12
  • Monthly rent - $2,411
  • Home price - $959,907
  • Gallon of gas - $3.910
  • Haircut - $13.83
  • Movie ticket - $12.25
  • Bottle of wine - $10.02

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images

Honolulu


Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii's state capital ranks as the third most expensive place to live the U.S. The unemployment rate there is 4.8 percent -- nearly 3 percent lower than the national rate -- according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Honolulu's index of 167.7 in 2012 fell 0.8 from the previous year.

Market prices in Honolulu --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $3.28
  • Monthly rent - $2,646
  • Home price - $668,020
  • Gallon of gas - $4.244
  • Haircut - $15.10
  • Movie ticket - $10.35
  • Bottle of wine - $8.67

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

James Martin/CNET

San Francisco


San Francisco, Calif.

The City by the Bay in 2012 had a cost of living index of 163.4, the fourth highest score. 

San Francisco is consistently ranked by Arizona State University's Carey School of Business in America's five best cities for job growth. The unemployment rate among San Franciscans, however, is 7.7 percent.

Market prices in San Francisco --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.28
  • Monthly rent - $2,630
  • Home price - $810,067
  • Gallon of gas - $3.838
  • Movie ticket - $16.79
  • Bottle of wine - $11.17
  • Bottle of wine - $6.31

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Fred Helbing

San Jose


Welcome to San Jose

The cost of living index of 153.4 in San Jose last year makes the city in Santa Clara County, Calif., the fourth most expensive in the U.S. The county in January retook first in the top 10 best-performing metro economies in the nation for the first time since 2001, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Market prices in San Jose --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.05
  • Monthly rent - $1,728
  • Home price - $764,283
  • Gallon of gas - $3.892
  • Haircut - $14.13
  • Movie ticket - $11.05
  • Bottle of wine - $5.84

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Complicated/Flickr

Queens, New York


Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York

Queens, the third borough in New York in America's 10 most expensive places to live, in 2012 had a cost of living index of 148.3. The indexes of all three sections of the Greater New York metropolitan area rose from the previous year. Staten Island and the Bronx make up the rest of New York City.

Market prices in Queens, New York --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.58
  • Monthly rent - $2,152
  • Home price - $630,189
  • Gallon of gas - $3.879
  • Haircut - $17.79
  • Movie ticket - $12.48
  • Bottle of wine - $8.96

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

DanTD/Noroton

Stamford, Conn.


Stamford, Connecticut

With a cost of living index of 146.1 in 2012, Stamford, Conn. ranks as the seventh priciest place to live in America. The area is roughly 30 miles northeast of Manhattan, New York, which has the highest cost of living for a seventh straight year. 


Market prices in Stamford, Conn. --
  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.51
  • Monthly rent - $2,011
  • Home price - $569,411
  • Gallon of gas - $3.904
  • Haircut - $20.03
  • Bottle of wine - $9.62
  • Bottle of wine - $8.59

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Washington


Lincoln Memorial in Washington

Washington remains one of America's 10 least affordable cities. Its cost of living index was 144.7 in 2012. 

Market prices in Washington--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.71
  • Monthly rent - $1,852
  • Home price - $746,549
  • Gallon of gas - $3.713
  • Haircut - $16.29
  • Movie ticket - $11.54
  • Bottle of wine - $7.95

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

WPPilot

Orange County, Calif.


Orange County, California

Orange County, Calif. in 2012 had 3,090,132 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and a cost of living index of 140.6, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. The state's second most populous county since 2009 has ranked in the top 10.

Market prices in Orange County, Calif.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.24
  • Monthly rent - $1,716
  • Home price - $682,703
  • Gallon of gas - $3.949
  • Haircut - $15.57
  • Movie ticket - $11.92
  • Bottle of wine - $5.29

10 most expensive places to live in the U.S.

The average credit score among Bostonians fell a point from a year ago to 778, according to Experian's third annual State of Credit report. Boston is the only city on the Eastern Seaboard ever to rank the study's top 10. The average number of late payments in the area dropped 12.9 percent. Willem van Bergen/Flickr

Boston


Boston

Boston last year ranks as America's 10th most expensive place to live with a cost of living index of 139.9. The metropolitan area replaces Truckee, Nevada County, Calif., which surprisingly ranked in the top 10 from 2009 to 2011.

Market prices in Boston --


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.72
  • Monthly rent - $1,755
  • Home price - $459,744
  • Gallon of gas - $3.706
  • Haircut - $15.29
  • Movie ticket - $11.22
  • Bottle of wine - $9.15
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