A whopping 91 percent of residents in the Bay Area, including parts of Oakland and San Jose, say the cost of living there is either "somewhat" or "very" high, according to a recent poll from data firm YouGov. That includes about two-thirds of residents, 62 percent, who say it's very high.
Data backs them up. Essential costs there, such as housing, are among the most extreme in the country. In San Francisco, the median home value is more than $1.3 million, according to real-estate website Zillow, and the median monthly rent is about $4,500.
That's compared to the national median home value of $223,900 and median monthly rent of $1,625, respectively.
"Majorities in 19 out of 20 cities consider their cost of living to be high," YouGov reports, but housing prices in the Bay Area way exceed even those in the other cities residents complain most about. For comparison, in Boston, the No. 2 city residents are most likely to call expensive, the median home value is $598,000 and median monthly rent is $2,895.
In Portland, the No. 3 city, it's $424,800 while the median monthly rent is $1,950.
YouGov: Cities where residents think the cost of living is high
It isn't just high housing costs that can cause residents to feel strapped, either. Other factors, like taxes, can come into play, too. San Francisco and San Jose have some of the most expensive sales taxes in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.
And California ranks No. 10 in the top 15 states with the highest tax burdens overall, according to financial site WalletHub.
California residents recently said their primary financial stressor was the overall cost of living in the state, according to a report from financial site GOBankingRates, which aimed to "pinpoint what's causing the worst financial fears and stress among Americans. "
Respondents could choose between "debt," "health care," "housing," or "taxes," as well as "education," including college expenses, "everyday costs," including groceries and utilities, or "family," including child care and divorce.
Exorbitant living expenses have led some workers like Danny Finlay, an account executive at public relations firm SutherlandGold, to come up with elaborate alternatives: Finlay commutes four hours and 140 miles each day from Dixon, California, to San Francisco for work.
He thinks it's worth it.
Factoring in everything from housing to miscellaneous expenses like parking, groceries and dining out, Finlay says the choice to live in Dixon likely saves him around $15,000 to $18,000 per year. And yet, even while saving that much money, he and his wife have a pretty sweet set up: They live in a three-bedroom home with a swimming pool for a fraction of the cost of a one- or two-bedroom in the Bay.
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