America’s biggest cities are among its most expensive.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data on personal income and the cost of living in 2015 for metropolitan areas and the non-metropolitan parts of states. One of the main indicators the BEA released shows the relative cost-of-living in different parts of the country.
The Regional Price Parity is an index that sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100, with a particular region’s RPP showing how the cost of living in that region compares to that average. For example, the New York City metropolitan area had a 2015 RPP of 121.9, which means that NYC and its suburbs are about 21.9% more expensive than the national average. Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia, had an RPP of 79.7, meaning that goods and services cost just about four-fifths as much as the national average.
Here’s a map illustrating the RPPs for the country’s metropolitan areas and for the parts of states that fall outside those areas. Regions in blue are less expensive than the national average, with darker blue regions indicating the lowest relative cost of living. Regions in red are more expensive than average, with darker red showing a higher cost of living:
And here’s a chart showing the ten most expensive and ten least expensive metro areas in the country: