C2ER released the Cost of Living Index (COLI) third quarter report for 2015 in late October. Among the 265 urban areas that participated in the 2015 third quarter 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 almost 20 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX.
The quarterly data is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items. Each item is part of one of six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. The composite category is made up of a specific percentage of each category. These items are collected by a dedicated group of volunteers that include chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and university applied economic centers from each participating area.
Each quarter, C2ER sends out lists of the top ten most and least expensive communities in the U.S. These findings are based on the data submitted to C2ER and are not meant to imply anything in the way of absolute values.
COLI data was collected by the federal government until 1960, at which time it was known as the Inter-City Index Report. After the government gave up the project, it was taken over by ACCRA, the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association, C2ER’s predecessor. Today, the Cost of Living Index remains the most reliable source of city-to-city comparisons of key consumer costs available anywhere, recognized by key organizations in statistics, government, and the media.
If you are interested in participating or would like additional information on the Cost of Living Index or other COLI-related products such as the COLI Web Calculator and the COLI Historical Index, please contact Jennie Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org.