This Tax Foundation chart indicates that the cost of living is higher in New York state, where I live, than anywhere else in the USA except the District of Columbia and Hawaii. The lowest cost of living is in Mississippi.
It’s measured by the relative value of goods that $100 can buy in each state. The lower the figure, the higher the cost of living, and vice versa.
What I infer from the chart is that cost of living is influenced by high taxes, which makes everything more expensive, and by prosperity and by concentrations of rich people, which bid up prices.
I think these things is true of the District of Columbia and of New York City and its suburbs. The cost of living might not be that high here in Rochester, N.Y., where I live.
What I also infer from this chart is that a low cost of living is correlated with a bad economy. So I wouldn’t want to live in a place where the cost of living was extremely high or extremely low.
I suppose the reason the cost of living is so high in Hawaii is that everything must be shipped in from the mainland. But why isn’t the cost of living proportionately high in Alaska? I suppose the reason is low taxes. Alaskans tax the oil industry and not each other.