Top 10 most expensive metros in the U.S.

  • (MoneyWatch) Manhattan, one of New York City's five boroughs, is once again the most expensive metro in the U.S. according to the Council for Community and Economic Research's (C2ER) Cost of Living (COL) Index. New York City is home to three of the 10 most expensive urban areas in the U.S., with Brooklyn and Queens also making the list.

    C2ER publishes its cost of living index every quarter. The study measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services in professional and managerial households and is based on six categories -- housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

    The average cost of living for a professional or managerial household is represented by a COL index score of 100.

    All of the cities in the top 10 were well above the national average for the 304 urban areas surveyed. The after-tax cost for a professional standard of living was more than twice the average in Manhattan, with a measure of 229.6 on the COL index.

    The COL Index is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items. Prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university applied economic centers in each urban area surveyed.

    The 10 most expensive urban areas in the third quarter of 2012 were:

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.