That's what we can gather from the latest Cost Of Living Index. It's researched every year by a non-profit organization, the ACCRA, which studies communities and economic development. They look at 314 cities in America of all sizes and rate them on 6 primary expenses: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. So here's how things stack up. The most expensive city in America is:

  • New York City, of course. The cost of living there is 217% higher than the average city in America. The housing costs are 5 times the national average.
  • The second most expensive city is Jersey City, New Jersey. It's only a mile across the bridge from Manhattan and has the best views of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Number 3 is San Francisco--It has the second highest housing costs in America. The average one bedroom apartment is $1,500 dollars a month. Why? There's a lack of space. And some landlords there even ask for a "renting resume" to see if you're up to snuff.

If you're looking for somewhere cheap to hang your hat, go to Texas. The bottom three, least expensive places to live, can be found in the Lone Star State: Laredo, Seguin, and McAllen, Texas.

But where are the people the happiest and most satisfied? In a world wide poll, done by Mercer Human Resources Consulting, Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland were ranked one and two. With Vancouver, Canada rounding out the top 3. Those are the places where the residents ranked their quality of life very high. And if you're a germ-a-phobe, go to Calgary, Canada. It ranked highest in health and sanitation.