HI has nothing on us as far as cost of living. We wreck the list! Wait till you want to get something done by a mechanic, plumber, electrician, lawyer, etc. That's why they say the poverty income level in this area runs around $45,000. At one point there was a proposal in Montgomery County to raise the min. wage to....wait for it....$12/hr.
Yeah...as soon as you can....get out of this area. I was born and raised here, but had the fortunate ability to travel throughout the states (suspect you've had some flavor outside MD and HI too) and this is not a good area if you are real decent person. If you are a money grubbing, greedy, lying, corrupt, kinda person...you'll fit right in. About the only area I know to be worse is south Florida and LA area.