"[Urban] Honolulu takes the prize as the most expensive metro area in the nation," according to analysis by Danielle Kurtzleben of figures recently released by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The recent figures measure "regional price parity," which provides a holistic picture of the costs associated with living in any given place in the country.
Kurtzleben's analysis, complete with maps and graphs, includes analysis of states and metro areas.
As for states: "DC had the highest prices in the nation as of 2012, with a regional price parity score of 118.2. That means its prices were 18.2 percent higher than the national price level in 2012. It is followed by Hawaii (117.2) and New York (115.4)."
And for metro areas, here's some of why Honolulu rates as the most expensive in the country: "Hawaii tends to have higher food prices than other states, for example, because so much of the food Hawaiians consume has to be shipped across the ocean. In addition, some have called the amount of money people are willing to pay to live in Hawaii "the price of paradise" — a book of that title penned 20 years ago discussed this problem, and the state has remained expensive since then."