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America's 10 most expensive states to live in 2019

Aaron M. Sprecher | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Many Americans are looking for that "perfect place" to live. A locale that offers a wealth of cultural attractions, good schools, a robust job market and a heady economy. But most often these places come with a hefty price tag.

Today slow wage growth, inflation, expensive housing and rising taxes are making many U.S. states unaffordable places to live for thousands of middle-class wage earners.

To find out which U.S. states in 2019 are the most expensive to reside in, CNBC analyzed the Cost of Living category in its annual America's Top States for Business ranking, which rates all 50 states based on an index of average costs for basic items ranging from groceries to housing.

Here is the list of the most expensive places to live in America. Price data is based on the 2018 Annual Average Cost of Living Index by the Council for Community and Economic Research, C2ER.

10. (tie) New Jersey

Gas prices used to be one of the few cost advantages in the Garden State. Now you will pay 50% more here than the national average.
Kena Betancur | Corbis News | Getty Images

Thinking of driving down to the Jersey Shore for a little R and R? It's going to cost you some. Gasoline prices used to be one of the few cost advantages in the Garden State. But in 2016 the state passed a 23-cent-per-gallon tax increase to fund infrastructure improvements. And it is raising taxes again this year after revenues fell short. While prices are still on the low side nationally, you will now pay nearly 50% more in New Jersey — at about $2.78 per gallon on average last year — than you will in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where it costs just $1.88. At least in New Jersey you also get a gas station attendant: It is the last state to ban self-service.

2019 Cost of Living score: 10 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Bergen-Passaic counties
Average home price: $578,386
Half gallon of milk: $2.13
Ribeye steak: $11.72
Monthly energy bill: $191.05
Doctor visit: $101.07

10. (tie) Rhode Island

When it comes to food, Rhode Island ranks as one of the 50 most expensive metro areas in the U.S.
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What the Ocean State lacks in geographical size, it makes up for in the size of your grocery bill. Rhode Island boasts the nation's largest Italian-American population (19% of the total population, according to the National Italian-American Foundation). So maybe it is a function of demand that an 8-oz container of grated Parmesan cheese in Providence will set you back $5.19 here. That compares to just $3.99 in York County, Pennsylvania. And a 12-in. pizza at a national chain will cost you $10.59 vs. $7.99 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Then again, what self-respecting Rhode Islander gets pizza from a national chain?

2019 Cost of Living score: 10 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Providence-Warwick Metro
Average home price: $451,509
Half gallon of milk: $3.21
Ribeye steak: $12.69
Monthly energy bill: $227.80
Doctor visit: $154.86

8. Connecticut

A bottle of white table wine in Stamford will cost you nearly twice the price of the same bottle in Los Angeles.
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The Constitution State was one of only two states that did not ratify the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning the sale of alcohol (the other state was neighboring Rhode Island). Even today, alcohol is a valued commodity in Connecticut, at least judging by the price. A 1.5-L bottle of white table wine will cost you about $10.63 on average in Stamford. That is nearly twice the price of the same bottle in Los Angeles. White wine does not pair well with steak, but if you want one anyway, it will cost about 25% more here than it does in Temple, Texas.

2019 Cost of Living score: 8 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Stamford-Greenwich-Darien
Average home price: $662,447
Half gallon of milk: $2.13
Ribeye steak: $11.27
Monthly energy bill: $215.97
Doctor visit: $135.27

7. Alaska

In Alaska nearly all of your grocery items are shipped from someplace else, accounting for the high cost of groceries.
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The Last Frontier has fewer than 800 farms, or about one farm for every 1,000 people. Compare that to Iowa, which has roughly one farm for every 35 people and you can see where the problem lies. Nearly all of your grocery items will be shipped in from someplace else. That explains why a loaf of bread in Juneau costs $5.31, or more than twice the price in Dubuque. And in a land where winters are cold, dark and long, the cost of energy can be staggering. Your average electric bill in Fairbanks is $169.54 per month. That compares to $61.35 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

2019 Cost of Living score: 7 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Juneau
Average home price: $542,436
Half gallon of milk: $2.53
Ribeye steak: $14.31
Monthly energy bill: $257.97
Doctor visit: $195.97

6. Oregon

Stumptown Coffee Roasters is shown on display in the SE Division Street location in Portland, Oregon.
Craig Mitchelldyer | Getty Images

According to a 2016 study by real estate firm Redfin, Portland, Oregon is the third most caffeinated city in America (behind San Francisco and Seattle), with one coffee shop for every 867 people. And for those who buy their coffee the old-fashioned way — at the grocery store — the prices can give you the jitters. Try $5.42 a pound. That is $2 more than you will pay in Lynchburg, Virginia. Do you take sugar in your coffee? Prepare to pay $2.78 per pound, or nearly twice the price in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

2019 Cost of Living score: 6 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Portland
Average home price: $549,358
Half gallon of milk: $1.87
Ribeye steak: $12.84
Monthly energy bill: $143.33
Doctor visit: $129.73

5. Maryland

The average home price in the D.C. suburbs is about $800,000, or more than twice the national average.
Benjamin C. Tankersley | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The Old Line State has been having some trouble holding the line on real estate prices, with the average home price in the D.C. suburbs approaching $800,000 last year. That is more than twice the national average. It is enough to give you a headache, so be sure and set some money aside — a bottle of ibuprofen will cost you $9.82, compared to just $6.94 in Cedar City, Utah.

2019 Cost of Living score: 5 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick
Average home price: $794,750
Half gallon of milk: $2.12
Ribeye steak: $12.80
Monthly energy bill: $173.95
Doctor visit: $96.53

4. Massachusetts

A 950-sq-ft two-bedroom apartment will run you about $3,000 a month in Boston.
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The Bay State is the home of the Boston Brahmin — the highest caste of New England society, and just about the only kind of person who can afford to live there. At nearly $3,000 per month for a 950-sq-ft two-bedroom apartment, rents in Boston are among the highest in the country. That is more than four times the cost in Flagstaff, Arizona. It will also cost you a pretty penny to gas up — $2.71 on average last year, or 44% more than the price in Charlotte, North Carolina.

2019 Cost of Living score: 4 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Boston
Average home price: $663,942
Half gallon of milk: $1.97
Ribeye steak: $13.18
Monthly energy bill: $236.62
Doctor visit: $191.62

3. New York

Housing prices in Manhattan are by far the highest in the country. The price of a good steak is no less exorbitant.
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Just getting by in the Empire State can require a king's ransom. Housing prices in Manhattan are by far the highest in the country. The average price of a four-bedroom condo is just under $2 million, or nearly 10 times the cost of a four-bedroom house in Joplin, Missouri. Got a craving for a New York steak? Whether strip or ribeye, expect to pay a princely sum — nearly 70% more than the common folk pay in Killeen, Texas.

2019 Cost of Living score: 3 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Manhattan
Average home price: $1,901,222
Half gallon of milk: $2.56
Monthly energy bill: $217.46
Doctor visit: $105.61

2. California

A one-hour yoga class in Orange County will set you back about $23.
Bob Berg | Moment Mobile | Getty Images

The Golden State's nickname has never been as apt as it is nowadays, with Silicon Valley booming, housing in short supply and economic growth in 2018 outpacing the national average — 3.5% GDP growth for California versus 2.9% for the nation as a whole. Want to be a true Californian and take up yoga? A one-hour class in Orange County will set you back $23.33. That is the most expensive in the country, and nearly five times the cost in Dublin, Georgia.

2019 Cost of Living score: 2 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: San Francisco
Average home price: $1,243,239
Half gallon of milk: $2.86
Monthly energy bill: $237.13
Doctor visit: $148.84

1. Hawaii

Hawaiians pride themselves on their homegrown coffee — and pay dearly for it.
Jay L. Clendenin | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Hawaiians use the word aloha to say both hello and good-bye. So if you live in Hawaii, you can say aloha to high prices and aloha to your money. Hawaiians pride themselves on their homegrown coffee. They also pay dearly for it — at $8.20 a pound, it is by far the most expensive in the country. A dozen eggs in Honolulu will cost you $4.00, or twice the cost in Surprise, Arizona. The literal translation of aloha is peace, love and compassion. Thankfully, those are things you cannot put a price on.

2019 Cost of Living score: 1 out of 50 points (Top States Grade: F)
Most expensive area: Honolulu
Average home price: $1,158,492
Half gallon of milk: $4.18
Monthly energy bill: $388.65
Doctor visit: $129.38

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