Fact Check: San Diego, the U.S.'s Second Priciest City?

City Council

Fact Check: San Diego, the U.S.'s Second Priciest City?

City Councilwoman Marti Emerald claimed San Diego is the second most expensive city in the nation.

Statement: “Again, (San Diego is) the second most expensive city to live in the United States,” City Councilwoman Marti Emerald said at a June 11 City Council committee meeting.False

Determination: False

Analysis: San Diego’s steep cost of living has gotten lots of play in the debate over a proposed minimum wage increase.

City Councilwoman Marti Emerald seized on this reality at a City Council committee hearing last week in an effort to urge support for the proposed wage hike. Then she boldly dubbed San Diego the second priciest city in the nation.

“Again, (San Diego is) the second most expensive city to live in the United States,” Emerald said to help explain why she backs a minimum wage boost.

A couple studies have compared San Diego’s cost of living with others across the nation in the past year. We reviewed them to assess Emerald’s claim.

Neither says that San Diego is the second most expensive city. Emerald was wrong.

Last month, Kiplinger reviewed reams of cost of living data collected by the Virginia-based Council for Community and Economic Research. It found San Diego is the 10th most expensive city in the nation among those with more than 50,000 residents.

The analysis revealed the cost of living here is 30 percent over the U.S. average and that housing costs are more than double the national average. New York City and Honolulu topped the list of the most expensive cities.

Emerald’s office said she relied on a different study.

Ralph Dimarucut, an Emerald spokesman, said the councilwoman looked at numbers pulled by Expatistan, a cost-of-living calculator that pulls data from users on everything from entertainment to public transportation costs.

But that report actually named San Diego the 13th most expensive city in the U.S., not the second as Emerald claimed.

Dimarucut said Emerald simply misstated the results of the survey.

“She was just trying to emphasize that the cost of living in San Diego is still pretty high,” he said.

But there’s no evidence it’s the second highest in the country. Emerald’s claim is false.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

What do you think?
Loading