Places to live in America

So you want to live in America? Check out our guide on where you should head for the best lifestyle and chance of employment.

Living in New York

New York’s overall cost of living is 20% more than the national average, and housing costs are 40% above it as well.   Finding affordable apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn is very difficult, although they are the safer ones—the average rentals for one-bedroom apartments go for $1,600 per month (utilities costing $190 per month).  Some of the other boroughs like Queens and Staten Island may be cheaper or easier to find availability.

Reasons for living in New York

  • Ranked by MasterCard as the second top business centre in the world after London
  • Largest percentage of state jobs are in the service sector
  • Ranks seventh in the nation for manufacturing
  • With the failing finance sector, jobs as lawyers have become sought after
  • Nurses are also welcome due to a nursing shortage

Other largest industries:

  • Printing and publishing
  • Mass communications
  • Advertising
  • Entertainment


Chicago’s overall cost of living is 66% over the national average, but if you look in many of the surrounding neighbourhoods and suburbs you can find many options for apartments. Though the options are overwhelming, the rent is not cheap–the average monthly rent for one-bedroom apartments is about $1,000 (utilities costing $90).  Although this rent is typical of the surrounding areas of Chicago, you can check out areas to the northwest of the city. Just be careful not to venture much into southern Chicago, as the area is a bit rougher.

Ranked the fourth top business centre by MasterCard in 2007, Chicago has the largest high-technology and information-technology industry employment in the U.S.

  • 20% of Chicago employees work in manufacturing.

The largest industries are:

  • Food products
  • Printing
  • Publishing
  • Metal
  • ElectronicsChemicals


Known for its high cost of living, the apartments rank 48% above the national average. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in an older building is $1,000.  If looking for a cheaper place, try Jamaica Plain, Allston, or Brookline.

Boston’s relatively low unemployment rate makes it easier to find good-paying jobs there.

  • The service sector employs more than one third of the state’s workers.

Largest industries:

  • Electronics and communications equipment
  • High-tech research and development
  • Finance
  • Trade

Los Angeles

The cost of living is 33% above the national average, and housing is near the most expensive in the country. In the city, the median cost of one-bedroom apartments is $735 per month. If you are looking for more affordable places, look in Long Beach and Glendale, while Santa Monica and Malibu have more of the pricy places.

Many people who move to Los Angeles are looking to further their career in entertainment, but Hollywood is not the only attraction.

  • It is the world’s centre for the motion picture, television and radio industries.

Largest industries:

  • High-technology
  • Aeronautics
  • Shipping
  • Manufacturing
  • Communications
  • Finance

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.’s cost of living is 81% above the national average, but there are countless options for renting—31% of D.C.’s housing is apartments for rent. Most prices start at $600 for more modest one-bedroom apartments, and at $1,000 for luxury apartments.  The average price of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,100 per month.

As the nation’s capital, the main focus for employment is government.

  • Other large employers are unions, nonprofits and service sector industries

Current Economy

It’s no news that the economy has taken a turn for the worse, and this means jobs may not be as available as they were in the big employment hubs. In fact, employment may be easier to find outside the cities and in the Midwestern and suburban areas of the states where there is less competition. The economy is decentralized, so it really depends on where you would like to live, and which areas boast the needs for specific occupations. You may be luckier finding a job somewhere like Indianapolis than in New York, and cost of living would certainly be an easier load to manage, but it is helpful to look into the historically booming employment hubs in the states regardless.