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15 Most Expensive States to Live in the United States

Want to stretch your paycheck as much as possible? If you live in one of the most expensive states, you might want to consider a move.

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Las Vegas city aerial view panorama sunset with mountain
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15. Nevada

Moving to Nevada could be an expensive bet—and that’s before you start laying down the cards at the blackjack table. Despite having no state income tax, the Silver State was ranked the 15th most expensive state to live in by CNBC. That’s because this red-hot state ranks as the 5th most expensive for housing, according to U.S. News & World Report. See what every state is best—and worst—at.

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA townscape.
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14. New Hampshire

New Hampshire actually slightly improved its standing for cost of living year over year, moving down two spots in CNBC’s rankings. Despite that, its 5 percent state income tax helps keep the Granite State on the pricey side.

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Skyline of downtown Seattle at Washington State
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13. Washington

Blame Seattle and its behemoth companies (we’re talking Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, just to name a few) for jacking up the cost of living in Washington. It’s currently the fourth most expensive state in the United States for housing.

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Portland, Maine, USA downtown skyline.
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12. Maine

This stalwart New England state charges its residents a pretty penny to reside there—the state income tax rate is 7.15 percent, helping Maine rank among the worst states in the United States for taxes. Health care costs are significantly higher here than the average in the United States, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC).

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Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline in early autumn.
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11. Vermont

Vermont ranks among the best states in the nation for quality of life—number two in the whole country, according to CNBC. But they pay for all of that happiness—an 8.75 percent top state income tax rate, and nearly 31 cents per gallon for gasoline tax.

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Providence, Rhode Island was one of the first cities established in the United States.
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10. Rhode Island (tie)

Like its Northeastern neighbors, Rhode Island sports a high cost of living, thanks to a 34¢ per gallon gasoline tax, and a red-hot housing market, with a median house cost of $282,600, according to Zillow.

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Hudson River Jersey City_192336935 f11photo

9. New Jersey

The Garden State ranks as one of the most expensive states for housing, thanks to its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia—the median home value is $327,700. It also sports a whopping top individual income tax rate of 10.75 percent and a 41¢ gas tax. However, its kids definitely benefit—it’s home one of the top five educational systems in the United States.

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Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown skyline.
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8. Connecticut

Like its New England neighbors, Connecticut sports a high cost of living, with pricey housing and food costs helping to ring up the bills for its residents, according to MERIC. Taxes don’t help either: property taxes are at 2 percent and the top tax rate is close to 7 percent, reports Kiplinger.

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anchorage alaska
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7. Alaska

The spectacular scenery and natural environment will draw you in, but living up north can be pricey—the costs of all the basics, including groceries, utilities, housing, and health care are well above average, according to MERIC. Residents of The Last Frontier do get a break when it comes to taxes, at least as there’s no state income tax or sales tax.

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Portland, Oregon, USA skyline at dusk with Mt. Hood in the distance.
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6. Oregon

Oregon joins its fellow West Coast neighbors on the most expensive list, thanks to the high cost of beachfront housing—the median home value is nearly $350,000, according to Zillow. But Oregon currently has a red-hot economy, making the high cost of living there a little easier to bear for its residents.

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Baltimore, Maryland, USA skyline at the Inner Harbor.
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5. Maryland

This bustling state serves as a suburb of the nation’s capital and has several large cities of its own, driving up housing costs throughout the state. It ranked well above average for every standard expense of living—except health care—according to MERIC.

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Boston, Massachusetts, USA skyline with Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market at dusk.
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4. Massachusetts

Massachusetts has bragging rights for the smartest residents, thanks to its top-rated educational system and being home to some of the finest higher education institutions in the country. But it’s also well above average for every cost of living, from housing to health care, and sports a not-so-insignificant 5.05 percent income tax rate and nearly 27¢ gas tax. Surprisingly, visiting can also be pricey—Boston ranks as the most expensive U.S. city to book a hotel room.

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New York City skyline with urban skyscrapers at sunset.

3. New York

New York City area real estate definitely helps drive up the average cost of housing for the entire state—the median home value is $301,000. New Yorkers also spend more than the average American on other costs, including groceries and transportation.

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Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground

2. California

West Coast living costs plenty, with housing and transportation costs far above the national average, along with steep state income and gasoline taxes. The Golden State is also home to many of the most expensive cities in the United States.

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waikiki beach hawaii

1. Hawaii

Living in paradise will cost you plenty. Thanks to the high cost of housing and shipping in pretty much everything else you’ll need, Hawaii consistently ranks as one of the most pricey places to live on earth—and the 11 percent income tax and nearly 47¢ gas tax don’t improve matters. Ready to give your wallet a break? These are the 15 least expensive states to live in.