Nov 13, 2023 - News

San Francisco ranks near the top for cost of living

Cost-of-living index in San Francisco, Q3 2023
Data: The Council for Community and Economic Research; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The cost of living in San Francisco is among the highest in the country, according to a new analysis.

Driving the news: Each quarter, the Council for Community and Economic Research assembles a cost-of-living index designed to measure "regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services."

  • The group's proverbial bucket includes housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, and it's based on spending by "professional and managerial households in the top income quintile."
  • Goods and services tend to be more expensive in San Francisco than the national average.

How it works: An index value of 100 represents the national average cost of living across 269 cities.

  • If a city has a value over 100, its cost of living is higher than average. Under 100, lower than average.

The big picture: Among places with more than 100,000 residents, Manhattan (227), Honolulu (179) and San Jose (171) ranked higher than San Francisco (169.5) between July and September.

By the numbers: San Francisco's most expensive category was, unsurprisingly, housing (283.1).

  • Meanwhile, San Francisco held the top spot for relative grocery prices (122.4) among all cities.

Of note: Because the list of participating cities changes each quarter, the cost-of-living index can't be used to measure inflation — but other indicators suggest that higher prices are certainly sticking around.

The bottom line: Looking to cut costs? Consider a move — especially if you're still working remotely and can carry a San Francisco salary to, say, McAllen, Texas.


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