Which Largest U.S. Cities are Most Expensive for Household Bills in 2022?

For families in the US looking to move from one metro to another, cost of living concerns, especially when it comes to household bills, are often top of mind. 

doxo’s latest research, the United States of Bill Pay: 50 Largest U.S. Cities Household Spend Report 2022, breaks down comparative household bill costs across the 50 largest cities in the country. Additionally, the report compares household bill pay behavior across 50 Largest U.S. cities (the 50 cities with the largest number of households, by Census numbers).

United States of Bill Pay: 50 Largest U.S. Cities Household Spend Report 2022

Download full report.

Americans spend an average of $24,032  on household bills per year

At 60 pages long, with a detailed infographic for all 50 cities on the list, the report provides a detailed look into average spending in 10 key household bill categories, specifically in Mortgage; Rent; Auto Loan; Utilities (electric, gas, water & sewer, and waste & recycling); Auto Insurance; Cable & Internet & Phone, Health Insurance (consumer paid portion); Mobile Phone; Alarm & Security; and Life Insurance. Also, the report breaks down average spending statistics across the country. For instance, the average annual cost per U.S. household on bill expenses is $24,032.

The report also contains rankings of the 50 largest cities (based on # of households) in order of how expensive they are. The rankings also provide insight into relative cost of living based on the area, or the “percent of household income” that residents spend on bills. The rankings also indicate how much more or less expensive the average city is than the national average.

See more details about the rankings below. You’ll also be able to access detailed infographics about each major metro by clicking on the hyperlinks in the “City” column “10 Most Expensive Largest Cities” and “10 Least Expensive Largest Cities” tables. You can also browse doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to see infographics about more than 4000 cities and towns in the country (cities demarcated by the US Census Bureau’s Core Based Statistical Areas).

San Jose is the most expensive city for household bills

Residents of San Jose pay the highest monthly bills out of the 50 largest cities ranked in the report, at an average of $3,248 in monthly expenses, or 62.2% higher than the national average of $2,003. (Note: Rent and Mortgage are included in the 10 major household bills, so the total number will generally be higher than that of a household that only pays one of those types of bills, or a homeowner household).

California is well represented among the most expensive cities ranked, with San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles also on the list. New York, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami, and Austin also made the list of the top ten most expensive cities.

10 Most Expensive Largest Cities

City Monthly Bill Expenses Per Household* Percent of Household Income Percent +/- National Average ($2,003)
1 San Jose $3,248 36.0% +62.2%
2 New York $3,059 39.0% +52.7%
3 Boston $2,963 46.0% +47.9%
4 San Francisco $2,946 33.0% +47.1%
5 San Diego $2,689 40.0% +34.3%
6 Washington DC $2,686 36.0% +34.1%
7 Los Angeles $2,672 57.0% +33.4%
8 Seattle $2,572 37.0% +28.4%
9 Miami $2,482 54.0% +23.9%
10 Austin $2,447 38.0% +22.2%

*Household Bill Pay Expense averages shown above reflect the ten most common bills paid, including housing (rent/mortgage).

See full report for details.

The West and East coasts dominate the list of 10 most expensive major cities for household bills. The national capital of Washington, DC is 5th on the list of most expensive cities, at $2,686 average monthly bill expenses per household, which is 34.1% higher than the national average.

Detroit is the least expensive big city for household bills

doxo’s findings show that cities in the Midwest are the least expensive of the 50 largest US cities. Detroit residents pay the least in average monthly expenses, at $1,634, which is 18.4% lower than the national average. Other Midwest-based cities make up the majority of the least expensive cities with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City (MO), and Dayton all making the list.

10 Least Expensive Major Metros

City Monthly Bill Expense Per Household Percent of Household Income Percent +/- National Average ($2,003)
41 Cincinnati $1,786 37.0% -10.8%
42 Oklahoma City $1,779 41.0% -11.1%
43 Rochester $1,772 42.0% -11.5%
44 Kansas City (MO) $1,754 37.0% -12.4%
45 Dayton $1,700 38.0% -15.1%
46 Memphis $1,689 47.0% -15.7%
47 Albuquerque $1,687 38.0% -15.7%
48 El Paso $1,675 44.0% -16.3%
49 Cleveland $1,655 48.0% -17.4%
50 Detroit $1,634 66.0% -18.4%

Some consumers may have decided to relocate to more affordable cities during the pandenic. Individuals may have decided to move to a city where housing-related bills like Rent and Mortgage would decrease, so they could afford more space for a home office.

Read the full report (60 pages) here. If you have any questions or would like to sign up for updates to doxoINSIGHTS’ research, email liz.powell@doxo.com

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