It’s no secret that the cost of living in the United States varies widely from state to state. Many people make the mistake of focusing only on dollar figures when it comes to determining their financial health, without considering how far their dollar is really going. If you’re trying to determine where you want to settle down and possibly look for employment, the overall cost of living in a particular area should at least be a factor in your decision.
To determine cost of living, an organization called the Council for Community and Economic Research factors in the costs of goods and services in six categories: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous necessities. The Council also considers what is referred to as purchasing power. In other words, how many items and services can a person buy with the average income in a particular state? If you move to a state with a lower cost of living, you’ll be able to live comfortably on a more modest income.
You should keep in mind that the cost of living can fluctuate, and even states with lower costs of living now may see increases due to a variety of factors. The affordable states on this list have consistently been cited as having low costs of living in at least a few of the categories considered by the Council.