Kalamazoo Retains Top Spot on Cost of Living Index


Among the 258 urban areas that participated in the second quarter 2021 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), NY to more than 20 percent below the national average in Kalamazoo, MI. The Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by C2ER–The Council for Community and Economic Research.

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing a measurable difference.

The composite index is based on six component categories–housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

What Do Groceries Cost?

Each quarter, C2ER collects more than 90,000 prices from communities across the US for the Cost of Living Index. With food prices still being a big part of the national conversation, C2ER decided to once again feature those communities with the most and least expensive food costs as measured by the grocery item index number. C2ER collects data on twenty-six items from a variety of surrogate categories to represent the grocery item component of the index.

The Most Expensive and Least Expensive Cities to Buy Ribeye

COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain of many industries, including the meat industry where plant shutdowns, labor shortages, and surging demand sent prices for meat-based products soaring. The pandemic particularly affected the prices of beef. For example, ribeye has consistently experienced an increase in the average price across metro areas each quarter since the start of the pandemic. It is important to highlight how the price of ribeye and similar products have shifted to track trends in the cost of living. Check out the price of other meat products in the full data set.

For additional information on the Cost of Living Index or other COLI-related products such as the COLI Web Calculator and the COLI Historical Index, go to www.coli.org.

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