How Much Food, Healthcare, Housing Cost in the Most Expensive Cities

Ella Castle

San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston are three expensive cities for families. EPI analyzed the monthly costs of a household with two adults and two kids based on food, childcare, and other costs. Housing for this household type in San Francisco — the most expensive metro — is $3,188 a month. […]

  • San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston are three expensive cities for families.
  • EPI analyzed the monthly costs of a household with two adults and two kids based on food, childcare, and other costs.
  • Housing for this household type in San Francisco — the most expensive metro — is $3,188 a month.

Six of the 10 most expensive US metros for families are in California.

Business Insider looked at the monthly costs for households with two adults and two children from the Economic Policy Institute’s “Family Budget Calculator.” EPI assembled data from multiple sources and looked at several kinds of expenses a household may have.

“The Family Budget Calculator is constructed to determine the resources needed to generate a decent standard of living, one in which a family can afford the basic necessities,” a post from EPI said.

BI looked at families where the parents are “employed, live together with their children, and jointly file federal income taxes.” There are assumptions about children’s ages too: “Families with two children are assumed to have a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old,” a EPI post said.

There are also some assumptions for the various expense categories, such as for healthcare. The budget calculator notes that these “expenses include insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and assume families purchase the lowest cost bronze plans on the health insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act.”

The EPI post about the calculator noted that data is for 2023 or when needed “inflated to 2023 dollars with the budget-item-appropriate inflator.”

San Francisco ranked No. 1 — or the most expensive among the metros analyzed by EPI — based on its monthly total cost of around $15,000. With a monthly cost of over $3,000 for housing, based on the cost of a two-bedroom apartment, this was the largest monthly expense among the seven categories for this area.

San Francisco wasn’t the only one with a large monthly housing expense compared to other expenses. Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, had a housing expense of $2,563 for a two-adult, two-child family, making it its largest monthly expense among the seven categories EPI focused on.

Other metros saw childcare as the highest expense. Childcare was the largest monthly expense among the seven categories for Nassau-Suffolk, New York, for instance.

People may be finding it difficult to afford certain items. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “if you think about the basic necessities” like bread and milk, “prices are substantially higher than they were before the pandemic.”

“We think that’s a big reason why people are, have been relatively dissatisfied with what is otherwise a pretty good economy,” Powell said.

Parents and guardians also have to think about the cost and type of childcare they need. For some people, childcare is a massive expense and could be larger than their other costs.

“It’s almost like $2,000 more than our mortgage,” Paige Connell, who has four children, previously told Business Insider. “I mean, that is a pretty significant dollar amount for us. It is the thing that we pay the most money for, for sure.”

Below are the most expensive metros ranked based on the monthly total for two adults and two children according to EPI. The dollar amount next to the metro is the monthly total of the costs for this household.

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