As businesses try to attract the most talented workers, they're looking for states where the cost of living is low. These are not those states. Our Cost of Living category is worth 75 points out of a possible 2,500 total. Details on all of our categories and our methodology are here. Click ahead to see America's most expensive states, as ranked by CNBC, along with a sampling of prices you'll pay for basic items in the most expensive areas of the state.
(Average price data based on Council for Community and Economic Research C2ER Cost of Living Index for the first quarter of 2015.)
—By CNBC's Scott Cohn
Posted 24 June 2015
Yes, it is called the Green Mountain State, but it's really only green for a few months out of the year. The rest of the time it can be cold and snowy. Great for skiers; not so good for utility bills. Expect your energy bill to be well north of $200 per month.
Caption: A home in Champlain Valley, Vermont.
Rhode Island is the smallest of the states, at 1,214 square miles. That means you could fit about 135 Rhode Islands into the state of California. But the prices in Rhode Island are not small at all. Here's something that is small: the apartment you'll be able to afford. Average rent for a 950-square-foot apartment is $1,408 a month, or about 50 percent higher than the national average. And that doesn't include utilities.
Caption: A neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island.
Wasn't this state founded by Puritans? You wouldn't know it from the prices in Massachusetts today. The average home price in the Boston area is more than $525,000, almost twice the national median. Your total energy bill, thanks in part to the same brutal winters our forefathers endured, is pushing $300 a month.
Caption: Brownstones in tony Back Bay, Boston.
"Dam," but prices are rising in the Beaver State, which has seen a big jump in food and housing costs in the past year. Want to drink beer with the hipsters in Portland? A six-pack of Heineken will set you back $11.53, almost 50 percent higher than the national average. Want a small cheese pizza—not the artisanal type, but a plain, thin crust at Pizza Hut? That will set you back $11.00.
Caption: A night view of downtown Portland.
A garden is going to cost you plenty in the Garden State, home to some of the highest housing prices in the nation. Even though the state—including its housing market—has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, housing prices are still way above the national average. If you're renting, you won't do any better. The average apartment rent is nearly twice the national average.
Caption: A For Sale sign displayed outside of a home in Oradell, New Jersey.
The Golden State, with its Golden Gate, charges golden prices, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the average home price is pushing $1 million dollars. Want an Italian dinner here in the home of the iconic North Bay neighborhood? Brace yourself. An 8-ounce canister of grated Parmesan cheese will set you back more than $6.00, compared to the national average of $3.90. Mamma mia!
Caption: Cars drive down Castro Street in San Francisco.
Prices in The Last Frontier have gone where none have gone before. In Fairbanks, your total energy bill averages close to $600 a month. In Anchorage a half gallon of orange juice can be a luxury at $4.65. You might think that in a land overflowing with oil, at least filling up your car (or truck) would be cheap. But in the first quarter of 2015, when gasoline was averaging a little more than $2 a gallon nationally, they were pumping it in Juneau for $3.61.
Caption: A dogsled ride in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Living like a king or queen in the Empire State will cost you a fortune. Living like a commoner will cost you a pretty penny, too. The average home price in Manhattan, $1.3 million, is the highest in the country. Even upstate in Buffalo you'll pay about 50 percent more than the national average. And it's not just housing. Your coffee will cost you, too—$6.26 for a typical 11.5-ounce bag, compared to less than $4.50 nationally. It's enough to get some people to say, "Fuhgeddaboudit!"
Caption: Brownstone buildings in a Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Connecticut is known as the Nutmeg State, and while we don't have price data on nutmeg, a 5-pound bag of sugar will set you back $3.19. That's actually well below the national average, but little else in Connecticut is. This is another state with high housing prices, closing in on three times the national average. Want to take your mind off your bills by going out to catch a movie? Get ready to pay the highest ticket prices in the nation: $14.75 for a first-run show on a Saturday night.
Caption: A nearly completed multimillion-dollar home in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Aloha State is living proof that you get what you pay for. The quality of life in Hawaii is second to none. But the cost is no small potatoes. Speaking of potatoes, a 5-pound sack in Honolulu will cost you $6.48, or more than twice the average in the rest of the U.S. Hawaii is the only state that grows its own coffee, which you might think would get you a break on the price. Yet an 11.5-ounce bag will cost you $7.79 in Honolulu, compared to the national average of $4.45. But again, at least you're living in Hawaii.
Caption: A house overlooking an idyllic beach in Kauai, Hawaii.