Cost of Living: Report Reveals Most Expensive and Most Affordable Largest U.S. Cities

While the Average American Spends $2,046 per Month on Household Bills, San Jose, CA is the Most Expensive City at $3,504 per Month, and Detroit, MI is the Most Affordable at $1,571 per Month

SEATTLE--()--A new report released today by doxo uncovers Americans’ cost of living based on the amount spent on household bills for the 50 largest cities in the nation (based on number of households). doxoINSIGHTS’ 50 Largest U.S. Cities Household Spend Report 2023, which reflects actual bill payment activity across more than 97% U.S. zip codes, reveals the most and least expensive big cities for Americans to reside based on average spend per month on bill payments. While the average U.S. household spends $24,557 annually on bills, 35% of the U.S. household median income ($70,784) and roughly $2,046 per month, plenty of cities rank well above or below this figure. San Jose, Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington top the list as the most expensive, while Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Dayton, Cleveland and Detroit are the most affordable.

With the economic uncertainty seen throughout 2023, Americans across the nation are feeling less confident in the U.S. economy. As such, it’s never been more critical for consumers to have insight into the average cost of living across the top U.S. cities. Not only does this information help when making major decisions about moving to a new city, but also provides perspective into how much Americans are spending on the top 10 most common household bills.

“Through doxoINSIGHTS, we are able to provide consumers, businesses, and financial institutions alike with access to the broadest and most transparent data available on actual household spending for the most common bills,” said Liz Powell, Senior Director of INSIGHTS at doxo. Uncovering household bill spend on a city-specific level provides consumers with the information and tools they need to improve their financial health. Additionally, this data allows the service providers and financial institutions that serve them to better align with their needs, which is more crucial now than ever amid dampened consumer confidence in the economy.”

The findings outlined in the 50 Largest U.S. Cities Household Spend Report 2023 include the total monthly spend for bills each month, as well as a breakout of each of the ten most common household bills, including: 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. The 10 most expensive and least expensive cities among the top 50 biggest U.S. cities are outlined below.

10 Most Expensive Largest U.S. Cities for Household Bills:


Monthly Bill Expense Per Household*

Percent of Household Income

Percent +/- National Average

San Jose








New York




San Francisco




Washington, DC




San Diego








Los Angeles












10 Least Expensive Largest U.S. Cities for Household Bills:


Monthly Bill Expense Per Household*

Percent of Metro Household Income

Percent +/- National Average

Saint Louis








El Paso












Oklahoma City




















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

From this list of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., doxo’s report reveals the most and least expensive places for Americans to live based on average spend per month on actual household bill payments. Residents of San Jose pay the highest monthly bills out of these 50 cities, at an average of $3,504 in monthly expenses, or 71.2% higher than the national average of $2,046. California is well represented among the most expensive metro areas ranked, with San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles also on the list. Boston, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami, and Portland also made the list of the top ten most expensive cities.

Findings also show that cities in the Midwest are some of the least expensive in doxo’s Top 50 rankings. Detroit residents pay the least in average monthly expenses, at $1,571, which is 23.2% lower than the national average. Other Midwest-based cities make up the majority of the least expensive cities with Saint Louis, Cleveland, and Dayton all making the list.

To view more from doxoINSIGHTS and its 50 Largest U.S. Cities Household Spend Report 2023, including a full breakdown of the amount paid in household bills across all of the 50 states, as well as previous doxo reports, visit the doxoINSIGHTS website.

Bill Payment Data for 4000+ Cities:

doxoINSIGHTS data covers more than the 50 largest cities in the United States. Use doxoINSIGHTS Explorer for household bill information for more than 4,000 cities and towns across the country. The infographics compare average bill expenses in the 10 major household bill categories. Look up your city’s infographic via doxoINSIGHTS Explorer.

About doxoINSIGHTS

doxoINSIGHTS provides direct insight into household financial health and spending activity by leveraging consumer surveys and doxo’s unique aggregate bill pay data set, comprising actual bill payment activity to confirmed household service providers across the country. doxo data brings together the broadest available data set for analyzing actual household bill payment activity, pulling from over seven million paying consumers across over 97% of U.S. zip codes. doxo’s payment network covers over 120,000 billers in 45 different service categories and enables payments using bank accounts, credit cards or debit cards. This uniquely broad statistical foundation powers doxoINSIGHTS reports – uncovering key trends for household financial health and bill payment behavior.

About doxo

doxo delivers innovation that transforms the bill pay experience for consumers, billers and financial technology providers. For over 8M consumers, doxo’s all-in-one bill pay makes it simple to organize and pay any bill on any device through a secure checkout. For billers, doxo’s network-driven platform enables online and mobile payments with a ridiculously simple integration, radically lower costs, and game-changing features that are unavailable with legacy bill pay vendors. For fintech partners, doxo delivers financial innovations to consumers across 97% of US Zip Codes, paying from more than 5,000 financial institutions to over 120,000 billers in 45+ service categories. For employees, doxo is a creative, ever-learning team that is passionate about building fintech tools that dramatically improve the bill pay experience. For investors, doxo provides an extraordinary opportunity to invest alongside Jackson Square Ventures, MDV, and Bezos Expeditions to disrupt a market that accounts for over $4T of US Household spend. To learn more about America’s leading bill pay network, visit


Dotted Line Communications for doxo
Jenny Davis

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Dotted Line Communications for doxo
Jenny Davis