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Cost of living by state in the USA
Old 08-14-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
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Cost of living by state in the USA

Ran across this remarkable chart in The Economist showing the actual value of $100 in each state. Put together by The Tax Foundation, using the cost of goods relative to the national average.
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:54 PM   #2
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Why is AR so cheap? Nothing there to spend money on?
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Old 08-14-2016, 06:02 PM   #3
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Why is AR so cheap? Nothing there to spend money on?
Ditto for MS.
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Old 08-14-2016, 06:55 PM   #4
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Ya averaging by states can pretty misleading. For example, San Francisco v. Redding, CA. A few hours apart but a world away in terms of cost of living.
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:08 PM   #5
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I imagine they all are. NY, upstate vs Manhattan.
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:56 PM   #6
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Pretty much all of Connecticut is expensive.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:15 PM   #7
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Glad to be in AZ vs our neighbor CA...
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:32 PM   #8
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Glad to be in CA, not the most expensive state in the union.

Close, but no cigar.

I gotta get me some more cigars too. Hopefully they get this Cuba thing straightened out soon -
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:26 AM   #9
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Although the chart says "goods", as far as I can tell this includes services (including housing/rent) and the number come from the BLS.

What surprises me is how close all the states are when housing is included. Everything is pretty much within +/- 10%.

The chart makes CA look like an incredible bargain -- you get the beach and great weather for just 10% more!!!
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:36 AM   #10
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Can't be right. If you are near the beach in CA, you are paying $700,000+ for a 2 bdrm house, where in Arkansas you are paying $70,000.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:41 AM   #11
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I agree it does seem off to me (even though CA is a big place and there are lots of cheaper locations within the state).

I think they drew the numbers from here: BEA: News Release: Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2014
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:12 AM   #12
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Ya averaging by states can pretty misleading. For example, San Francisco v. Redding, CA. A few hours apart but a world away in terms of cost of living.
+1

Absolutely. Makes the information almost useless.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:47 AM   #13
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Why is AR so cheap? Nothing there to spend money on?
Ha, that's not very nice, I am an AR resident, by choice, having moved from Dallas area. Real estate is super affordable and real estate taxes much lower, yes we have tax on income, but I am not working anymore, cha ching.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that I can afford to buy whatever I want, but I don't want so much anymore. I see less 'keeping up with the Jonses' here but it does still exist to a smaller degree.

Lots of focus on the outdoors and activities in the area I am in, much of it free, thanks to the generosity of (and often hated by outsiders) the WalMart and Walton families. Look up Crystal Bridges sometime if you doubt our appreciation for the finer things.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #14
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Incomes are generally higher in the more expensive states however.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:11 PM   #15
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Ha, that's not very nice, I am an AR resident, by choice, having moved from Dallas area. Real estate is super affordable and real estate taxes much lower, yes we have tax on income, but I am not working anymore, cha ching.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that I can afford to buy whatever I want, but I don't want so much anymore. I see less 'keeping up with the Jonses' here but it does still exist to a smaller degree.

Lots of focus on the outdoors and activities in the area I am in, much of it free, thanks to the generosity of (and often hated by outsiders) the WalMart and Walton families. Look up Crystal Bridges sometime if you doubt our appreciation for the finer things.
And the high is 110 tomorrow in Phoenix! Don't get me wrong I like some heat, but we recognize what we are paying for here in San Diego. I've tried to convince my wife we could enjoy a higher quality of living elsewhere in retirement but she is adamant we are staying here.

I sure do dig Sedona, though.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:31 AM   #16
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I don't think it includes housing. Look at Oregon vs. Washington No sales tax in Oregon, I think it a basket of goods and services.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:26 AM   #17
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The Great State of NJ demands a recount. We are not a penny over 85.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:38 AM   #18
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I don't think it includes housing. Look at Oregon vs. Washington No sales tax in Oregon, I think it a basket of goods and services.
That's what I initially thought, but the data comes from the BEA link I posted above and they explicitly mention rent.

What this implies to me is that once you back out housing/rent, then COL differences will probably vanish or at least become much smaller.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:48 AM   #19
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.

What this implies to me is that once you back out housing/rent, then COL differences will probably vanish or at least become much smaller.
This. Just look at the states in red...then check out what a house costs there, versus a state colored green!

Also, the COL is impacted by how much money people expect to make. Where my brother lives in NC, the better housing actually costs about as much as here in MD; but that's largely driven by money from retirees and Florida "half-backs." Other than that, there isn't much money in the area because there aren't many well-paid jobs.

As a result, when he hires someone to work on his house, he pays much less than we do for the same work. Contractors in our area assume everybody has a good job, and charge accordingly.
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