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12 Least Affordable U.S. States: 2022

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As inflation soars to nosebleed heights and the cost of living spirals upward, many Americans are looking beyond their home states for job opportunities and a more affordable life.

Lensa, a careers board, has conducted research to identify the most expensive states in the U.S. Researchers looked to the World Population Review to identify the percentage difference in each state between the overall cost of living and the average salary. 

In addition, they used the review’s index data for grocery, housing, utilities and transportation costs to assess each state’s affordability.

The differences in affordability across the country are stark. In the three most affordable states — Virginia, Illinois and Texas — Lensa found that the average wage is between 41% and 50% higher than the cost of living.

In the least affordable states, the percentage difference is in low single digits, and in several states, the cost of living exceeds the average wage.

See the gallery for the 12 least affordable states, ranked by the difference between the cost of living and the average wage.