San Juan ranked 9th most expensive city in US
In U.S. News’ “Most Expensive Places to Live in the U.S. in 2023-2024,” San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been listed as the ninth most expensive city. This places the island’s capital ahead of traditionally expensive cities like New York.
The rankings of each city in the 25-long list were based on several indices: Quality of Life Index at 36%, Value Index at 23%, Desirability Index at 22% and Job Market Index at 19%.
New York City holds the 11th spot, followed by Boston as the 12th most expensive city in the U.S. Also home to thousands of Puerto Ricans, Miami was ranked the fourth costliest. Also on an island, Honolulu took a top position, ranking third.
The report ranked San Diego as the most expensive city based on such metrics as inflation rate, cost of gas, housing costs and median gross rent, as well as homeownership fees.
Living in San Diego is described as not particularly affordable, with residents “willing to pay these elevated prices, though, often referring to the cost-of-living differences as the ‘sunshine tax,’ or the price of enjoying a year-round temperate climate,” according to the report.
Los Angeles was ranked second. California dominates the list, with seven out of the top 10 spots and about half of the top 25 positions.
In the case of San Juan, the city’s cost of living is driven by more specific factors. While the median monthly rent is relatively inexpensive, at $551, “the average energy bill here is higher than what Americans pay on the mainland,” according to U.S. News’ page on San Juan.
The transportation aspect also adds to the living costs, with an average commute time of 30.3 minutes, or 3.5 minutes above the national average.
The news outlet points to the pervasiveness of the tourism and hospitality industries in San Juan, with large employers such as the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and the Caribe Hilton.
“San Juan also offers opportunities for software engineers thanks to the presence of companies like Wovenware, a software development company, and Evertec Inc., a transaction processing company,” U.S. News wrote.
However, the publication notes that San Juan’s job market is considered less healthy than that of similar-sized metro areas, with an average annual salary of $31,650, compared to the national average of $58,260. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate is slightly lower than the national average, at 8.3% compared to 8.7%.
“San Juan draws a variety of different demographics. Job opportunities and a buzzing nightlife attract many young professionals from other parts of Puerto Rico, while other households are comprised of families with children. San Juan is also a popular retirement destination for people from all over the world,” U.S. News said.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, the following are the 25 most expensive U.S. cities.
- #1 – San Diego
- #2 – Los Angeles
- #3 – Honolulu
- #4 – Miami
- #5 – Santa Barbara, California
- #6 – San Francisco
- #7 – Salinas, California
- #8 – Santa Rosa, California
- #9 – San Juan, Puerto Rico
- #10 – Vallejo and Fairfield, California
- #11 – New York City
- #12 – Boston
- #13 – Seattle
- #14 – San Jose, California
- #15 – Sacramento, California
- #16 – Denver
- #17 – Stockton, California
- #18 – Washington, D.C.
- #19 – Modesto, California
- #20 – Fresno, California
- #21 – Portland, Oregon
- #22 – New Haven, Connecticut
- #23 – Boulder, Colorado
- #24 – Trenton, New Jersey
- #25 – Eugene, Oregon