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America’s most expensive states to live in 2015

The costliest places to live

PeskyMonkey | Getty Images

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.

Read MoreAmerica's Top States for Business 2015

(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

10. Vermont

A home in Champlain Valley, Vermont.
Geoffrey Clifford | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 41 (10th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 15 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 40 (11th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Burlington-South Burlington Metro): $485,749
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.79
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.56
  • Monthly energy bill: $234.61
  • Doctor visit: $113.84


Caption: A home in Champlain Valley, Vermont.

9. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island.
Barry Winiker | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 42 (9th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 14 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 42 (9th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Providence Metro): $392,340
  • Half gallon of milk: $3.39
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.49
  • Monthly energy bill: $213.54
  • Doctor visit: $149.00


Caption: A neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island.

8. Massachusetts

Brownstones in Back Bay, Boston
Jorge Salcedo | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 43 (8th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 12 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 45 (6th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Boston Metro): $525,300
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.29
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.49
  • Monthly energy bill: $292.18
  • Doctor visit: $151.00


Caption: Brownstones in tony Back Bay, Boston.

7. Oregon

Downtown Portland, Oregon.
Yellow Dog Productions | Getty Images

"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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 44 (7th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 11 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 37 (14th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Portland Metro): $436,750
  • Half gallon of milk: $1.97
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.65
  • Monthly energy bill: $151.02
  • Doctor visit: $131.85


Caption: A night view of downtown Portland.

6. New Jersey

A 'For Sale' sign is displayed outside of a house in Oradell, New Jersey, U.S., on Friday, May 1, 2015. The number of Americans who signed contracts in March to buy previously owned homes climbed after the biggest increase in more than four years, a sign for further progress in the housing recovery.
Ron Antonelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 45 (6th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 9 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 44 (7th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Bergen-Passaic Metro): $521,274
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.62
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.32
  • Monthly energy bill: $156.79
  • Doctor visit: $101.25


Caption: A For Sale sign displayed outside of a home in Oradell, New Jersey.

5. California

Cars drive down Castro Street in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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!

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 46 (5th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 8 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 47 (4th most expensive)
  • Average home price (San Francisco/Redwood City Metro): $946,066
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.77
  • Pound of ground beef: $3.97
  • Monthly energy bill: $213.39
  • Doctor visit: $127.57


Caption: Cars drive down Castro Street in San Francisco.

4. Alaska

A dog sled ride in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Education Images | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 47 (4th most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 6 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 46 (5th most expensive)
  • Average home price (Anchorage Metro): $528,673
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.37
  • Pound of ground beef: $5.27
  • Monthly energy bill (Fairbanks Metro): $591.16
  • Doctor visit: $169.40


Caption: A dogsled ride in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, Alaska.

3. New York

Brownstone buildings line a street of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. CityShares, which enables participants to reap rewards from increasing apartment demand in gentrifying areas, is targeting properties in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant for some of it's first investments.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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!"

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 48 (3rd most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 5 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 50 (most expensive)
  • Average home price (Manhattan): $1,372,183
  • Half gallon of milk: $1.92
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.46
  • Monthly energy bill: $259.80
  • Doctor visit: $122.50


Caption: Brownstone buildings in a Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.

2. Connecticut

A nearly completed multi-million dollar home is viewed in the wealthy town of Greenwich, Connecticut.
Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 49 (2nd most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 3 (out of 75 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 48 (3rd most expensive)
  • Average home price (Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro): $618,800
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.26
  • Pound of ground beef: $3.99
  • Monthly energy bill: $262.56
  • Doctor visit: $123.75


Caption: A nearly completed multimillion-dollar home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

1. Hawaii

Agnieszka Szymzak | Getty Images

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.

  • 2015 Cost of Living rank: No. 50 (most expensive)
  • 2015 Cost of Living score: 2 (out of 50 points)
  • 2014 Cost of Living rank: No. 49 (2nd most expensive)
  • Average home price (Honolulu Metro): $868,317
  • Half gallon of milk: $3.67
  • Pound of ground beef: $4.97
  • Monthly energy bill: $530.15
  • Doctor visit: $125.67


Caption: A house overlooking an idyllic beach in Kauai, Hawaii.