America’s Most Expensive Cities in Harsh Climates

Everyone’s heard the old adage that in real estate, location is king. But what happens when the most sought-after locations are also home to some of the harshest climates in the U.S., not to mention sky-high living costs? The reasons might be murky, but the reality is striking.
Recently, a curious soul online sparked a lively debate by asking, “Which U.S. city has the worst combination of cost of living and weather?” The responses poured in, and the consensus was clear. Here are the top 25 cities that, according to the crowd, will leave your wallet lighter and your body either shivering or sweating.

#1. Barrow, Alaska

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You’ll see many Alaskan cities and towns on this list, but Barrow takes first place as it’s incredibly expensive and constantly freezing or dark. Barrow, also known as Utqiagvik, averages a temperature of 27ºF, and one online commenter said they’ve paid $15 for a gallon of milk there.

#2. Boston, Massachusetts

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When discussing high rent and brutal winters, it’s hard not to think of Boston. I adore my home city, but the insane weather is not for everyone. Winters are relentless with freezing temperatures and plenty of icy snow, but the summers can easily get to 100ºF+ with 90% humidity. Plus, the rent seems like it goes up $100 every month.

#3. Horace, North Dakota

Horace City in North Dakota
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Most of North Dakota experiences awful winters with freezing temperatures and an abundance of snow. However, many North Dakota cities are affordable, but Horace is not one of them. This small suburban city is wildly expensive, with average homes costing almost half a million dollars.

#4. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas City in Nevada
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On the other hand, many people find Vegas to be an unpleasant place because of the consistent heat and dryness. It’s also covered in smog, making it feel apocalyptic at times. Both buying homes and renting them cost an arm and a leg, but the quality of life is not wonderful.

#5. Dallas, Texas

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During an online discussion about places with the worst weather and cost of living, ​​Dallas took a lot of heat. People complain that it’s insanely windy and ridiculously hot, but it also endures tornadoes and hail storms. Along with the harsh weather, the cost of living is very high, but salaries are not.

#6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City in Oklahoma
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Oklahoma City can seem appealing for many reasons, but residents warn outsiders not to be fooled. They say it’s even worse than Dallas when it comes to the wind, hail storms, and tornadoes. The cost of living is slightly lower, but not enough to make up for the horrendous weather.

#7. Orlando, Florida

Orlando City in Florida
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People think of Orlando as a vacation destination, but residents say its only draw is Disney World. The weather is almost always unbearably hot and humid, forcing residents to deal with relentless mold. It’s not the most expensive place to live in the U.S., but it’s one of the priciest locations in Florida.

#8. Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida
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On the flip side, Miami is insanely expensive, and the summers are just as brutal and suffocating. In addition to the crazy heat, the area is also prone to hurricanes and horrible rain storms, so it can also be dangerous. And the weather only seems to be getting worse as the years pass.

#9. Austin, Texas

Austin City in Texas
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Following Dallas, people think Austin is the next worst place in Texas when discussing weather and cost of living. While people complain about the blazing sun and obnoxious rent prices, there are still plenty of upsides to living here. Most residents adore living in Austin when it’s not summer.

#10. Phoenix, Arizona

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Phoenix can be a hard place to live if you don’t enjoy the heat. The average temperature is 79ºF, but plenty of summer days are over 100ºF. Living here without powerful air conditioning is impossible, so aside from the rent prices, the costly utilities make it an expensive place to live.

#11. Portland, Maine

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Portland has many things to love, especially for outdoorsy people. However, the winters are just as bad as Boston, if not worse. They’re slushy, icy, and freezing, so going outside is a test of survival. The cost of living is also substantially higher than the national average.

#12. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth City in New Hampshire
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Along with Portland, Portsmouth is another location in the northeast region that has awful winters and a high cost of living. It’s not quite as expensive as Portland, but it’s pretty close, and the winters are just as bad. New Hampshire can be affordable, but Portsmouth is definitely not.

#13. Duluth, Minnesota

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Duluth is a lovely city, but many residents find the winters here torturous. The summers in Duluth can be fantastic and comfortable, but residents say that if you don’t enjoy winter sports, then the winters are nothing but brutal. And the rent prices here just keep climbing.

#14. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
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Nashville seems like a fabulous place to live, especially if you’re passionate about music. It’s a cute vacation destination, but according to people who live there, you have to deal with nighttime tornadoes, floods, icy winters, and fiery hot summers. It was once affordable, but the cost of living has risen exponentially in recent years.

#15. New Orleans, Louisiana

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Like Nashville, New Orleans used to be affordable but is now one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The summers are crazy hot, homes flood, hurricanes threaten the area, and the insurance rates are unbelievably high. Groceries are also wildly expensive.

#16. Bozeman, Montana

Aerial View of Downtown Bozeman, Montana in Summer
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Not too many people have heard of Bozeman, Montana, but the housing prices are comparable to Los Angeles. However, job wages are much lower than in LA. Unsurprisingly, the area endures rough Montana winters where the temperatures often drop below 0ºF.

#17. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
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I don’t think it’s surprising that Chicago made the list. Known as the windy city, this area gets rough weather almost all year long, and residents only get a short break in the summer. While it’s not the most expensive major U.S. city, the rent prices are still painful to pay.

#18. Fairbanks, Alaska

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Fairbanks isn’t a fancy place or major city, but it’s still wildly expensive. The cost to ship food to the city is astronomical, making groceries insanely costly, even though rent is average. And, of course, the winters are cruel, with one online commenter describing it as a “white death” kind of winter.

#19. Yuma, Arizona

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Like most places in Arizona, people complain about the heat, but Yuma is also an extremely dusty place, which can make breathing outdoors uncomfortable. The cost of living is not atrocious, but for what you get in this city and what you have to deal with, it’s way too high.

#20. Washington, DC

Washington, DC
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DC has an excellent reputation as a culturally rich and vibrant place to live. While the winter weather is mild and very tolerable while still having a wintery feel, the summers can be scorching hot, akin to the southern summers. And the cost of living is one of the highest in the country.

#21. Houston, Texas

Houston City in Texas
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Another location in Texas that makes the list is Houston. Houston is a massive city with a population of over two million, and many residents loathe the humidity. Yes, the temperature is hot, and the sun is strong, but it’s the thickness of the air that people can’t stand, along with the high cost of living.

#22. Anchorage, Alaska

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Anchorage has the same problem as most Alaskan cities: it’s wildly expensive to buy groceries and pay for utilities, and the winter weather will break your spirit. Considering residents have to handle several feet of snow every year and numbing temperatures, the high cost of living feels very unfair.

#23. Greeley, Colorado

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Greeley is not the most well-known city in Colorado, but you may have heard of it from South Park. Anyway, it has one of the worst costs of living compared to the quality of life in the country and subjects residents to 110ºF+ summers and -30ºF winters, making both seasons (because Colorado really only has two seasons) completely awful.

#24. Syracuse, New York

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Syracuse, along With Rochester, New York, is also perfect for this list because of the severely cold winters that deliver plenty of snow. While the rent prices in these areas are pretty average, the wages are relatively low, making it unnecessarily expensive for residents.

#25. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
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Unsurprisingly, Seattle also makes the list! Seattle has a cost of living comparable to places like Boston, Chicago, and LA, but the weather is infamous. Unlike most other places on this list, Seattle doesn’t have scorching hot summers or numbingly cold winters, but it does rain roughly every other day.

The post America’s Most Expensive Cities in Harsh Climates first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.