Cost of living: 125.4% above U.S. average New York City's most-desirable borough is so popular that the cost of living there is more than twice the U.S. average. Manhattan costs so much primarily because its housing is by far America's most expensive -- 354.5% above U.S. average. Zillow calculates that a median residence there costs $1.03 million, up 3.8% in a year. Manhattanites also face 49.7% above-average prices for groceries -- second only to what Honolulu residents pay. Additionally, people who live in Manhattan have big bills for health care (29.6% above average), utilities (28.9% higher than typical) and transportation (23.6% beyond what the average U.S. household pays). "Everyone and his brother who likes urban environments wants to live in Manhattan," Frutiger says. "They love to live there no matter what it costs." If you're one of Manhattan's fans, Zillow lists about 8,700 properties for sale there.