As discussions around the world center around the global cost of living crisis, you may have heard people mention the phrase VHCOL – but what does it mean? 

As explained by Aljazeera, countries worldwide have faced significant increases in the pricing of housing, food, and fuel. Amid discussions, you may have come across the acronym VHCOL and have since wondered what it means.

This week VHCOL also appears to have sparked interest on Reddit after a post shared on the Am I The A*****e sub-Reddit. In the thread, a user asked fellow Redditors on the forum site their opinion on him telling his wife that his job had to come before hers.

In the post, the user stated he and his family live in a VHCOL city, prompting some to wonder about the acronym’s meaning. We take a look at what the acronym stands for and explore the cities and areas to which it relates.

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VHCOL’s meaning explained

VHCOL is an acronym that stands for a very high cost of living. Essentially the phrase relates to areas or cities which have a considerably high cost of living. 

As per the Cambridge Dictionary, cost of living is defined as the amount of money an individual requires for basic needs, including food and housing.

Therefore if you live in a VHCOL area, the price of basic necessities, including that of food as well as housing, would be considered to be much higher when compared to other locations.

Pump at a petrol station with cars in the background
Selective focus in a pump at a petrol station with cars in the background

You’ll probably come across HCOL and LCOL too

Following discussions of the cost of living crisis as well as VHCOL, you will probably hear other acronyms, including HCOL and LCOL, mentioned too.

As you may have already gathered, similar to the meaning of VHCOL, the ending in both HCOL and LCOL also means the cost of living. 

HCOL stands for the high cost of living, meaning basic necessities are expensive, whereas, the later LCOL represents the phrase low cost of living, meaning housing, and food prices are less. 

Woman holding shopping list with smartphone in supermarket

VHCOL cities across the US explored

As per Money Bliss, some VHCOL cities/ areas in the US include New York City borough Manhattan and San Francisco.

In June, Forbes also listed the top 100 cities with the highest cost of living worldwide as per a new survey conducted by human resources firm Mercer.

Within the global city ranking, a fair few US cities made the top 50, the highest of course being New York City which placed seventh on the list.

Other cities which placed in the top 50 included Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Miami and Chicago.

Digital financial composite illustration
Digital financial composite illustration with shopping basket and graphs

US inflation rate hit record highs

The cost of living crisis has been felt across countries across the world as the costs of food, fuel, and housing have risen.

According to The Independent, in May, inflation in the US rose 8.6% from over a year ago. The figure was the highest rate in four decades.

PBS has since reported the inflation rate in June spiked to 9.1%, which continued the record of the highest rate since 1981. 

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