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Vancouver ranks 3rd most expensive city in North America

Vancouver beat out Los Angeles and San Diego.
A study ranks North America's most expensive cities in 2022. Vancouver, B.C. and Mississauga beat out Toronto and Hamilton. New York City topped the list.

If you find the cost of living in Vancouver is quite steep, you are not alone. 

But you might be surprised to find how Vancouver compares to other major cities across North America. 

According to a new study, not only does Vancouver have one of the highest costs of living in Canada, but it also ranks ahead of some of the biggest cities in the United States. 

The study, conducted by Canadian insurance provider PolicyAdvisor, analyzed the 10 biggest cities by population in each of Canada and the U.S. based on the average cost of eight items: a movie ticket, a meal out, a bottle of water, a cappuccino, one month of gym membership, a one-way ticket and a monthly ticket on public transport as well as a month’s rent.  

The combined cost of these items was calculated as a percentage of the average monthly salary to find out where to live most affordably (all calculations were done in US dollars). 

Most expensive cities in the world: North America's most costly 

The "city that doesn't sleep" ranked at the top of the list, when considering its high cost of living compared to the average salary. New York City is the highest place to rent, at an average of $3,381.88 per month.

You'll also pay the most for a gym membership ($103.35) in the "big apple," as well as a monthly transportation pass ($129.5) and the cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant ($25). 

New York City also topped the list "despite being the city with the second-highest average monthly salary ($6,359.51) after San Jose," note report authors.

"For people living in New York City, the combined cost of the eight items amounted to 57% of the average salary – the highest proportion of the 20 cities studied."

Only one Canadian city beat out Vancouver for its high cost of living: Mississauga, Ontario. As the second most expensive city, public transportation costs were quite steep: a monthly pass cost $111.30; only New York City ($129.50) and Toronto ($120) were higher. 

"These numbers, compared to an average monthly salary of just $3,202.30 (the fourth lowest after Hamilton, Montreal and Winnipeg), make this city an expensive one in terms of lifestyle, with the eight items measured equating to 56.4% of their monthly income," states PolicyAdvisor.

Vancouver was ranked the third most expensive city based on its "lower salary compared to the other cities, with people earning on average $3,804.53 per month."

Interestingly, Vancouver had the "eight-most expensive cost of monthly rent," placing it behind most of the cities on the list. It also had an average ranking in most of the other metrics.   

"These findings suggest that the eight cost of living indicators combined take up 50% of the average Vancouverite’s monthly salary," remark report authors. 

Two other Canadian cities, Hamilton and Toronto, ranked fourth and fifth most expensive, respectively. 

Most expensive cities in Canada and in the U.S. for the cost of living 

Photo via PolicyAdvisor