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From California to New York: The Cost of Living Across America

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Thinking it's time for a change of pace — and place? If you're considering moving to the state you've always loved, you should know that radically different incomes are required to maintain the same standard of living in different parts of the country.

This cost-of-living comparison measures each state against the average cost of living in the United States as a whole. Based on 2016 data provided by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, GOBankingRates examined six critical living expenses: housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenses. Together, they form each state's overall cost of living index.

The best states to live in aren't always the cheapest ones. Read on to find out which states are far pricier than others.

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Alabama

Although citizens of Alabama can expect to pay over 6 percent more than the national average for their utilities, the overall cost of living in the state is 8.8 percent lower than average. The biggest savings by far come from housing, which costs 26 percent less than the country as a whole. Healthcare costs are 12.5 percent lower than average.

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Alaska

The largest state in America comes with a cost of living that is almost equally enormous — 31.6 percent above the national average, to be exact. Housing, utilities and healthcare all bring costs that are more than 40 percent above those paid by the average American.

Although the cost of living may be high, here's an interesting tidbit about Alaska: It's one of the best states to start a business, found a GOBankingRates study.

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Arizona

Finishing out the first half of the list is Arizona, whose citizens spend 1.9 percent less than the average of the greater American population. Healthcare costs are exactly even, and the price of groceries is just under 1 percent more. The biggest dip is in housing costs, which are 2.8 percent under the national average.

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Arkansas

In Arkansas, you can expect to pay 11.5 percent less to maintain your lifestyle than the average American. The biggest savings are in housing, where the state's average is 22.3 percent lower than the rest of the country. Healthcare is 12.2 percent less and transportation is just shy of 11 percent less.

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California

Many people dream of moving to California, but the dreamers should know that they'll pay 34.8 percent more than the country's average. Housing costs are 92.7 percent higher than they are on average in the rest of the country, transportation costs 30.1 percent more and groceries cost 15.8 percent more.

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Colorado

In Colorado, the cost of living is 2.1 percent above the national average, but there are some wild swings in the state between the various categories. Housing costs are 12.6 percent above average, but residents pay 15.2 percent less for utilities. Healthcare costs are 5.6 percent higher than average.

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Connecticut

If you plan on moving to Connecticut, expect to pay 30.7 percent more than the national average. The state's three main bank breakers are housing, groceries and miscellaneous expenses, which cost 57 percent, 28.3 percent and 21.5 percent more than average, respectively.

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Delaware

Delaware residents can expect to pay 2.6 percent more than average to live in the First State. Groceries are 6.6 percent more expensive and miscellaneous expenses are 7.4 percent pricier. Housing, however, costs 5.3 percent less.

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District of Columbia

The second-most expensive state in the country isn't a state at all. The nation's capital, Washington, D.C., has a cost of living that's 49.2 percent more than average. The main reason is housing, which costs a whopping 134.6 percent more than what the ordinary American pays. Although miscellaneous expenses are 21.3 percent more expensive and utilities cost 18.7 percent more, healthcare actually costs 1.5 percent less than it does in the rest of the country. To save money, residents should use these survival tips for living in an expensive area.

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Florida

Considering that Florida is one of the best states to retire rich, you might be surprised to learn that the cost of living in the Sunshine State is only 1 percent lower than it is in the rest of the country. Most categories are about even with the national average, with utilities and groceries costing 4.1 percent and 2 percent more, respectively. Housing, however, costs 5.2 percent less than the national average.

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Georgia

Georgians enjoy a cost of living that is 8.6 percent lower than the rest of the country. Although healthcare and miscellaneous costs are both only 2 percent cheaper, the cost of housing — at 24.2 percent less — drags the index average down.

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Hawaii

Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in America by a long shot. Residents of the islands pay an astronomical 67.4 percent more than the national average. There are very few saving graces, with housing costs topping the national average by 130.3 percent. Utilities cost 106.5 percent more than average, and groceries cost 55 percent more. With high grocery prices, residents should explore creative ways to save on groceries.

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Idaho

With utilities priced 11 percent lower than the national average and housing coming in at 22.2 percent less, the cost of living in Idaho is 10.4 percent cheaper overall than the national average. Both healthcare and transportation, however, cost more than the national average.

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Illinois

Illinois sets the average when it comes to healthcare costs, but residents pay 3.3 percent more on transportation than the rest of the nation. The state's overall cost of living, however, manages to stay 4.5 percent under the national average. That can mostly be credited to the cost of housing, which is 9.8 percent lower than the rest of America.

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Indiana

Indiana is also one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. It costs just about 12 percent less than the national average to live in Indiana. Transportation costs are 8.4 percent lower than the national average, healthcare is a little more than 5 percent lower and housing is 24.2 percent lower.

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Iowa

The cost of living in Iowa is cheaper in every category covered, but not by much. The only exception is housing, which is a full 18.6 percent lower than the national average. Every other category comes within 5 percentage points of the average, for a total cost-of-living index that is 8.3 percent lower than the rest of the nation.

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Kansas

Kansas residents spend about 9.6 percent less than the average American to get by. Housing costs are a full 22.6 percent lower in the state, transportation is 7.5 percent lower and Kansas spend 6.4 percent less on groceries.

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Kentucky

Rounding out the top 10 cheapest states to live is Kentucky, whose residents enjoy a cost of living that's 9.2 percent lower than the national average. In fact, average expenses are lower across the board, including housing at 19.5 percent less, healthcare at 11.3 percent less and groceries at 11.1 percent less.

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Louisiana

Coming in as the 20th least expensive state, Louisiana's residents pay roughly 5.6 percent less than the larger U.S. population. Costs are lower across the board, and the biggest savings are found in housing, which costs 11.7 percent less than average. Transportation costs 5.4 percent less and utilities cost 8.8 percent less. Everything else is within 5 percentage points of the national average.

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Maine

In Maine, the cost of living jumps all the way up to 12 percent higher than average. People there are weighed down by steep housing costs, which are 21.9 percent more than the national average. At 10.4 percent higher than average, miscellaneous expenses aren't cheap, either. Transportation and healthcare cost 9.4 percent and 8.1 percent more, respectively.

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Maryland

The cost of housing in Maryland is 76.9 percent higher than the national average, which is why the overall cost of living in the state is 25 percent higher than it is for the average American. Although groceries cost 13.3 percent more in Maryland, the cost of healthcare is relatively benign at 7.7 percent less than the rest of the country

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts clocks in as the fifth most expensive state in the country. The cost of housing is 75 percent higher than in the rest of the nation, which is the single biggest reason that the state's cost of living is 34.7 percent higher than average. Utilities cost 27.2 percent more, and groceries cost 11.6 percent more.

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Michigan

Michiganders pay an average of 11.8 percent less than the average American for common living expenses. The biggest savings come from housing, which is 22.9 percent less in Michigan than the greater U.S. Groceries cost 10.4 percent less, and miscellaneous living expenses cost 9 percent less.

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Minnesota

Minnesotans pay 1.1 percent more than the national average to live in the land of 10,000 lakes. Although their utilities are 7.6 percent cheaper than the national average, they pay 8.8 percent more for healthcare and 7.7 percent more for miscellaneous expenses.

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Mississippi

With a cost of living that is 14 percent lower than the national average, Mississippi is the cheapest place to live in the U.S. Healthcare is a little over 10 percent less than the national average, groceries are nearly 6 percent less and housing is a full 31.6 percent cheaper.

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Missouri

Like their neighbors in Kentucky, Missourians also pay roughly 9.2 percent less in their day-to-day lives compared to the national average. Housing in Missouri is 24.6 percent lower, transportation is 6.6 percent less and miscellaneous spending falls 4.5 percent below the national average.

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Montana

Montana is the 22nd most expensive place in the country with a cost of living that is 0.8 percent higher than the national average. In fact, all but two categories in the Big Sky State cost more on average than they do in the rest of the country, with housing leading the way at 8.1 percent more. Utilities cost 8.6 percent less and miscellaneous expenditures cost 2.4 percent less.

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Nebraska

In Nebraska, the cost of living is 8.7 percent lower than the national average. Although every category is cheaper across the board, the biggest drop is in housing, which is 14.7 percent cheaper than the national average. Utilities cost 13 percent less, and miscellaneous costs are 6.3 percent lower.

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Nevada

If you want to live in Nevada, it will cost you 4.5 percent more than the average American. The biggest expense is transportation, which costs 16.4 percent more than the national average. Miscellaneous expenses cost 6.4 percent more. The good news is that residents of Nevada enjoy utility costs that are 8.7 percent below average.

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New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the cost of utilities is 28 percent higher than the national average. Miscellaneous expenses are 22.4 percent higher and groceries cost 17.2 percent more than average. Yet, even though the cost of living in the state is 19.2 percent higher than in the rest of the country, it still ranks as the No. 1 place where families can live a richer life.

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New Jersey

The biggest reason why the cost of living in the Garden State is 21 percent higher than the national average is housing, which costs nearly 50 percent more than the national mean. Miscellaneous expenses are also 14.2 percent higher. A small silver lining is healthcare, which costs 0.3 percent less than the national average.

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New Mexico

People in New Mexico spend the same as the national average on healthcare, but 5.2 percent more on groceries and just half a percent less on transportation. Utilities, however, cost 9.8 percent less, which leads the other categories in bringing the state's overall cost-of-living index down to 4.3 percent under the national average.

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New York

With a cost of living that's 35.2 percent higher than average, it costs more to live in New York than any other state in the contiguous U.S. Most of the reason is due to housing, which costs 98.3 percent more than the national average. New Yorkers pay 14.2 percent more than the average American for both transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

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North Carolina

Healthcare costs in the Tar Heel State are 4.8 percent above the national average, and groceries and miscellaneous spending are about equal with it. The cost of housing, however, is 18 percent less, which puts the state's cost-of-living index 5.8 percentage points lower than the national average.

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North Dakota

Healthcare costs 12.1 percent more in North Dakota than it does on average in the U.S. Groceries cost 4.4 percent more and miscellaneous purchases cost 1.3 percent more. The overall cost of living, however, is 1.1 percent less than the national average, thanks mostly to the cost of utilities, which is 15.3 percent below it.

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Ohio

In Ohio, the cost of living is 7 percent cheaper than the country overall. Even so, groceries cost 1 percent more and transportation costs 1.4 percent more. The discrepancy lies in housing, which is 21.1 percent cheaper in Ohio than it is for the average American.

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Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the general cost of living is 11.4 percent lower than the national average. Like Arkansas, Oklahomans benefit the most from cheap housing, which costs 23.3 percent less in the state than in the larger population. Groceries cost 7 percent less and transportation costs are roughly 12 percent lower.

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Oregon

Not too far ahead of Washington, its neighbor Oregon has a cost of living that's 15.4 percent higher than the national average. The biggest burden is housing, which tips the scales at 35.6 percent higher than average, and transportation costs, which are a hefty 14 percent above average. Oregonians do find some relief in utilities, which are 9.2 percent cheaper than average.

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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is tied with South Dakota for a cost-of-living index that measures 2.8 percent more than the national average. In the Keystone State, however, most of the imbalance can be attributed to transportation, which costs 9.2 percent above average. Pennsylvanians have some things working in their favor, however, with miscellaneous expenses and healthcare coming in at 1.4 percent and 9.7 percent below average, respectively.

In fact, residents of Lancaster have the best chance at having a successful year because of the city's healthy economy and cheap housing.

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, but at 22.1 percent above the national average, the cost of living there is one of the biggest. Both housing and utilities are more than 38 percent higher than the rest of the country. At 18.1 percent higher than average, miscellaneous expenses are also unforgiving.

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South Carolina

In South Carolina, the cost of living is 0.5 percent higher than the national average. Although housing costs 8.9 percent less, utilities and miscellaneous expenditures cost 6.7 percent and 6.4 percent more, respectively.

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South Dakota

The cost-of-living index in South Dakota is 2.8 percent higher than the rest of the country. Housing, which is 19.8 percent more costly than the national average, represents the bulk of the expense. Tugging the other way are miscellaneous expenses, which cost 6 percent less, and healthcare costs, which are 4.2 percent lower than average.

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Tennessee

Residents of the Volunteer State enjoy a cost of living that is roughly 10.2 percent lower than average. Everything is cheaper across the board, including healthcare at 10 percent less, transportation at 10.1 percent less and housing at 22.5 percent less than the national average.

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Texas

The overall cost of living in Texas is 9.3 percent lower than the national average — and that's true across all categories. Housing leads the way at 15.5 percent. Groceries cost 10.5 percent less and miscellaneous costs are 6.6 percent lower.

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Utah

Although Utah residents pay nearly 7 percent more for transportation than the country as a whole, the overall cost of living in the state is actually 7.2 percent lower than the national average. That's because utilities cost 14.8 percent less and housing costs 12.6 percent less.

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Vermont

Vermont joins its New England neighbors with a high cost of living — 22.4 percent above average, in this case. The scales are tipped by housing, which costs just under 50 percent more than the national mean price. Transportation costs 16.7 percent more and utilities top the average by 21.4 percent.

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Virginia

Virginians pay just a tad more — 0.2 percent — to live in their state than the rest of the country does. The 6.7 percent jump in housing plays the largest role in bumping it above the average. Utilities are 1 percent higher, but transportation balances things out with a cost that's 7.7 percent below average.

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Washington

Like people living in Nevada, residents of Washington state are burdened with a high cost of transportation, which is 16.9 percent more than the national average. At 18.9 percent higher than average, healthcare costs are even worse. The fact that utilities are 4.4 percent lower than average, however, balances things out a little. In the end, the total cost of living in the state is 7.1 percent higher than average.

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West Virginia

Although groceries cost 1.1 percent more in West Virginia than they do for the larger population, housing costs 9 percent less in the state and utilities cost 12.1 percent less. In total, the cost of living in the Mountain State is 4.3 percent less than the national average.

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Wisconsin

Housing in Wisconsin costs 10.9 percent less than the national average. That's why the state's cost of living is 3.1 percent less than the national average, even though healthcare costs 12.4 percent more and transportation costs 3.2 percent more.

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Wyoming

Like Iowa, the cost of living in Wyoming is also 8.3 percent lower than the country as a whole. Transportation actually costs a little bit more — 1.1 percent, to be exact. But miscellaneous costs are 10.3 percent lower and housing is a full 16 percent less.

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