The 17 Worst Cities in America if You Want to Avoid Inflation

Inflation is surging throughout the U.S., but some major metro areas are faring far worse than others.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Americans across the country have been fighting inflation by trying to find ways to save at gas pumps, grocery stores, and everywhere else. But in some places, it has been especially tough to stay ahead of the wave of higher costs.

To see which U.S. cities have been hit the hardest by inflation, WalletHub looked at nearly two dozen major metro areas. The researchers examined Consumer Price Index readings to find out which cities are seeing prices rise the fastest month over month and year over year.

Following are the 17 worst cities to live in if you want to avoid inflation.

Anchorage, Alaska

KBDESIGNPHOTO/Adobe Anchorage Alaska with Chugach mountains

Anchorage was hit particularly hard this summer, with WalletHub’s study finding the CPI was up 12.4% from a year earlier, the biggest rise in the survey.

Local media reports that Anchorage is just one of many places in the state where prices are spiking. Food prices in Alaska jumped 11.3% from April 2021 to April 2022.

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Phoenix Arizona USA Downtown Skyline Aerial

The CPI reading for Phoenix and surrounding areas jumped 12.3% year over year.

The rising cost of gasoline, homes, and rental units has made life more expensive here.

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Atlanta Georgia USA

The Atlanta metro area has seen an 11.5% rise in the CPI over the last year.

Residents of Georgia’s largest city are dealing with higher costs in gas, housing, groceries, eating out, and more.

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

Oleksandr Dibrova/Adobe Seattle skyline at sunset WA USA

The Seattle metro area saw a 10.1% increase in the CPI over the last year.

The area saw the prices rise especially high for gas (which was up more than 48% year over year in June 2021), transportation (up 22.3%), and dairy and related products (up 21.3%).

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Baltimore Maryland USA Skyline

The Baltimore area, including Columbia and Towson, saw the CPI climb 10.6% over the year.

Like other cities struggling with inflation, people living in the Baltimore metro area are seeing big price hikes on day-to-day items, including food. Locals report getting significantly less for their money when grocery shopping and dining out.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida

rodphotography/Adobe aerial view panorama of Fort Lauderdale

The Miami area is also dealing with record-breaking inflation, with the CPI up 10.6%.

This part of Florida also made news earlier this year, when rents in May were up 45.8% compared to the same time in 2021. That’s compared to a 15.5% increase nationwide.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas

Kovcs/Adobe Houston Texas USA Skyline

The Houston area saw the CPI rise 10.2% in the past year. Houston also saw the largest drop in home sales in the country over the course of the year, 45% according to a RE/MAX report.

While that means more people are renting, a survey by housing lender Freddie Mac also indicated that nearly 60% of people saw their rent increase.

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe detroit downtown skyline at dusk

The area around Detroit is also dealing with rising costs across the board. The metro area saw a 9.7% increase in the CPI over the past year.

Local media reports say Michigan’s largest city has been hit particularly hard when it comes to housing costs. The shelter index in the area, which measures costs associated with housing, rose at the fastest rate since 1991.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Tampa Florida Skyline

Over in Florida, the Tampa area saw an 11.2% CPI increase over the past year.

Tampa faced steep cost jumps in every area of the economy by July, with some of the largest spikes being rent, food, and household costs, such as energy, furnishings, and operations costs.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Christopher Boswell/Adobe Night Falls Dusk Downtown Philadelphia Pennsylvania

In the general Philadelphia area — which also includes Camden, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware — inflation has also struck the economy hard.

The CPI increase over the past year was 8.8% — and the area isn’t seeing the same relief in gas prices as other parts of the country. AAA reported the national average for a gallon of gas dropped below $4 in early August, but the Philly region had yet to fall below that mark at the time.

St. Louis, Missouri

Gowtham/Adobe St. Louis Missouri USA Skyline

St. Louis saw an 8.4% CPI increase over the past year. Gas prices in the area were up 52% from July 2021 to July 2022.

St. Louis also saw big spikes in the cost of groceries (14% increase) and dining out (10% increase).

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

f11photo/Adobe Dallas Texas cityscape with blue sky at sunset

The Dallas metro area also saw steep inflation rates from 2021 to 2022, with a 9.4% increase in the CPI.

The area finished lower on this list than St. Louis – despite having a higher year-over-year increase – because price growth has slowed a bit compared to two months ago.

Local media reports that the Dallas area is dealing with higher prices than the national average in several areas, including electricity, rent, grocery items, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

Jacob/Adobe aerial view of the Los Angeles Suburb of Riverside California

The Riverside, California, area saw a 9.2% CPI increase over the past year.

According to recent reports, major California metro areas — including Riverside — are seeing sharp decreases in home sales in the past 12 months, with sales falling 32%.

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Chicago Illinois USA Cityscape

The greater Chicago area — including Naperville and Elgin — was on the lower end of the list, but still struggling with inflation. The area is dealing with an 8.8% CPI increase over the past year.

A recent survey found that 57% of Chicagoans said they had cut back on restaurant spending because of inflation.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

Phillip Rubino/Adobe Major League Baseball stadium

The greater Denver area saw an 8.2% CPI increase over the past year.

While Denver is faring better than many large metro areas on this list, research indicates that the average Colorado household still spent $1,642 more in June and July of this year than it did in the same period last year.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

f11photo/Adobe Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota USA

The Twin Cities area — including St. Paul and Bloomington — saw its CPI rate increase by 8.2% over the past year.

Overall, the state of Minnesota is dealing with increases in the price of food staples — like meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (up 12% from 2021) — and household energy prices (up 58.9% from the same time in 2021).

Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, California

chones/Adobe cityscape downtown Los Angeles at sunset

Los Angeles, the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, is dealing with a 7.7% CPI increase over the past year.

Spikes in rent and housing costs have been so high in the Los Angeles area that some cities are making moves to impose stricter rent control laws that limit how much landlords can raise rents each year.

Bottom line

gopixa/Adobe stack of coins next to an upward curve symbolizing rising costs due to inflation

Inflation is affecting cities across the U.S., and while new laws and regulations are being implemented to try and address the problem, it might be best to avoid these high-inflation cities for the time being until the economy evens out. Doing so can eliminate some money stress from your life.

If you live in one of these places and have no intention of moving, you are going to need more cash just to get by day to day. So, it might be time to explore some great ways to make extra money on the side.

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.