California’s Most Expensive Urban Areas

Four out of the top 10 most most expensive areas to live in the U.S. are right here in California, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.  

The Council ranked 274 urban areas that participated in the second quarter of the 2023 Cost of Living Index. The index is based on the cost of housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

The index shows that COL has risen even in parts of the state once considered inexpensive. Inland areas like Modesto and Bakersfield have COLs well above the national average.

These are the 10 most expensive urban areas to live in California, according to the index:

  1. San José (COL: 174.9% of national average)
  2. San Francisco (169.6%)
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach (148.8%)
  4. Orange County (147%)
  5. San Diego (140%)
  6. Oakland (136.4%)
  7. Sacramento (117.9%)
  8. Stockton (117.6%)
  9. Modesto (113%)
  10. Bakersfield (111.5%)

List and data were compiled by The Council for Community and Economic Research and do not reflect statistics for all areas.