The Real Value of $100 in Each State

How far does your dollar really stretch? To an extent, it depends on where you live.

That's because the price of goods and services vary from state to state. Your purchasing power is going to be higher in states where expenses such as rent and groceries are relatively lower. The Tax Foundation analyzed the latest data on these costs in each state and released a report on how much $100 will get you around the U.S.

Here's the real value of $100 in each state.


Generally, your dollar stretches furthest in the Midwest and South. Compared to the national average ($100), you get the most bang for your buck in Mississippi ($115.34), Arkansas ($114.29), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.64), and West Virginia ($112.49).

The cost of living is a lot higher in the West and Northeast. So the relative value of $100 dollars is $84.67 in Washington, $85.62 in Hawaii, $86.43 in New York, $87.34 in New Jersey, and $88.97 in California.

It's true that states where the cost of goods is higher tend to have higher paying jobs. But that's not always the case. Take North Dakota, for example, where consumers benefit from relatively high incomes and low prices.

"People thinking about this from a personal finance level might want to consider price levels somewhat in determining where to live," Alan Cole, an economist at the Tax Foundation who authored the report, told ATTN:. "But, remember, price levels only tell you about your welfare as a consumer. You also need to care about which places give you the best opportunities as a worker. And, often, the most expensive areas are expensive precisely because they have a lot of good jobs."

From a public policy perspective, Cole said: "It's important to remember that some states are kind of 'overrated,' and some are 'underrated' if you just look at their income levels without adjusting."

"Sure, Californians make slightly more, per capita, than Nebraskans," Cole said. "But Nebraska is much cheaper to live in, which we show in our blog post. So is our country in need of a large redistributive program that takes away money from Californians and gives it to Nebraskans? Maybe not."


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