How much are you willing to pay to live in the state of your choice? While you might be willing to shell out a little more for the basics, a high cost of living is a negative for businesses looking for any edge to attract qualified workers.
Our Cost of Living category in America's Top States for Business scores all 50 states based on the average cost of essentials, including food, shelter and clothing. The lower the rank, the more expensive the state. The category is worth 75 points. You can see our full study and our methodology here.
Click ahead to visit America's most expensive states to live in, along with some average prices in the most expensive areas of each state. Price data is based on the 2015 Annual Average Cost of Living Index by the Council for Community and Economic Research, C2ER.
New Jersey is known as the Garden State, and if you're content with pitching a tent and living in the garden, you'll probably be able to afford it pretty well. If, on the other hand, you require the accompanying house, you'd best be prepared to pay some of the highest housing prices in the country. If you need to hire someone to take care of that garden, you're on your own.
2016 Cost of Living score: 15 out of 75 points
Average home price (Bergen-Passaic): $521,477
Half gallon of milk: $2.46
T-bone steak: $12.02
Monthly energy bill: $184.66
Doctor visit: $99.07
Live free or die? Really? Clearly, they are not referring to the prices in New Hampshire. Heating your home during those chilly New England winters will cost you some of the highest utility bills in the country. Want a nice, warm beverage to get you through those cold winter days? A 12-ounce package of coffee — just the basic blend — will cost you about $5. Want to do what some of the locals do and escape the cold by going bowling? It'll cost you, on average, $4.62 a lane, or nearly 40 percent higher than a game in Milwaukee.
2016 Cost of Living score: 14 out of 75 points
Average home price (Manchester): $362,849
Half gallon of milk: $2.81
T-bone steak: $11.15
Monthly energy bill: $243.35
Doctor visit: $149.18
The famous mansions of Newport are symbols of America's Gilded Age. Dripping with opulence, they were the summer playgrounds of yesterday's super rich. No, they aren't typical of homes in today's Rhode Island, but at these prices, you might think you should be getting something at least a little bit bigger. One look at your utility bill and you might think you're paying to heat a mansion. Considering renting instead? A 950-square-foot apartment will cost you around $1,500 a month.
2016 Cost of Living score: 12 out of 75 points
Average home price (Providence): $399,678
Half gallon of milk: $3.22
T-bone steak: $11.97
Monthly energy bill: $210.24
Doctor visit: $149.00
Remember how expensive it was in New Hampshire? Forget about trying to save some money by slipping into neighboring Massachusetts. Prices here are even worse. You may want to start a revolution when you see your grocery bill: A loaf of bread will set you back $2.18. The average home prices are among the highest in the country, and the cost for some basic auto repairs may encourage you to skip driving and opt instead to "pahk ya cah in Hahvad Yahd."
2016 Cost of Living score: 11 out of 75 points
Average home price (Cambridge): $592,300
Half gallon of milk: $2.61
T-bone steak: $11.86
Monthly energy bill: $164.09
Doctor visit: $163.83
Alaska is rugged. It can be beautiful. It is the Last Frontier. It is also the last frontier for just about anyone who ships basic goods. That explains why groceries are so expensive. Alaska has relatively little agriculture of its own, so even staple items have major transportation costs attached. You'll pay more than $5.00 for a pound of ground beef in Fairbanks. That's more than 25 percent higher than the price in Oakland, California. And it's not just groceries. Need to get a repairman out to fix your refrigerator? It'll cost $100 for a service call, compared to about $46 in Decatur, Illinois. That's chilling.
2016 Cost of Living score: 9 out of 75 points
Average home price (Anchorage): $535,915
Half gallon of milk: $2.46
T-bone steak: $12.73
Monthly energy bill (Fairbanks): $549.42
Doctor visit: $174.00
Connecticut gets its unofficial nickname "the Nutmeg State" from the spice that was once so valuable that Yankee peddlers in Connecticut were accused of counterfeiting it to sell to unsuspecting southerners. Today you can find nutmeg at any grocery store. But some things in Connecticut are still out of reach. Take housing. The average home price in Stamford is more than three times that of Pueblo, Colorado. And it's not just the big- ticket items. A six-pack of Heineken in Hartford is more than 10 bucks, compared to $7.79 in Hilo, Hawaii.
2016 Cost of Living score: 8 out of 75 points
Average home price (Stamford): $626,189
Half gallon of milk: $2.89
T-bone steak: $12.44
Monthly energy bill: $268.37
Doctor visit: $123.77
Want to go see a movie in Hollywood? You'll pay the highest ticket prices in the nation at $14.33 for an adult ticket on a Saturday night. Want to leave your heart in San Francisco? It will cost you more than $3,200 on average to rent an apartment there. They don't call this the Golden State for nothing. Even the pizza is expensive: $13 for a 14-inch cheese pizza in Stockton. But go ahead and order the pizza, stay home, and watch a movie on TV. You'll come out ahead moneywise.
2016 Cost of Living score: 6 out of 75 points
Average home price (San Francisco): $978,744
Half gallon of milk: $2.77
T-bone steak: $11.33
Monthly energy bill: $210.92
Doctor visit: $125.52
Let's hope Vice President Joe Biden has been saving his money, because when he goes home to Delaware after he leaves office, he's going to find that his home state has gotten expensive. Even basic groceries are pricey. At $2.32, a head of lettuce costs twice as much in Dover as it does in Denver. And the average energy bill in Wilmington is more than 30 percent higher than in Miami. The First State isn't the costliest, but it is definitely up there.
2016 Cost of Living score: 5 out of 75 points
Average home price (Wilmington): $329,684
Half gallon of milk: $2.28
T-bone steak: $11.25
Monthly energy bill: $206.57
Doctor visit: $88.33
The highest average home price in the nation is in Manhattan, and it is pretty stratospheric: $1.4 million. And once you're in New York, you will need something to eat. A pound of ground beef at $6 and a loaf of bread at $2.28? Fuggedaboutit! Yet it's not just Manhattan. Upstate in Buffalo, your average monthly energy bill is likely to be close to $170.
2016 Cost of Living score: 3 out of 75 points
Average home price (Manhattan): $1,472,476
Half gallon of milk: $1.89
T-bone steak: $13.31
Monthly energy bill: $249.15
Doctor visit: $121.25
Okay, admit it. At least once in your life you've fantasized about living in Hawaii. The sun. The sand. The scenery. Are you nuts? Do you have any idea what things cost out there? Try $4 for a dozen eggs and $3.50 for a loaf of bread! That's what happens when you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Just getting food and other basic needs to the islands is a huge and expensive undertaking. Of course, when all is said and done, you're in Hawaii — one of the most glorious places on Earth, but also the most expensive state to live in.
2016 Cost of Living score: 2 out of 75 points
Average home price (Honolulu): $925,922
Half gallon of milk: $3.85
T-bone steak: $11.77
Monthly energy bill: $504.25
Doctor visit: $116.77