Is your state high-priced to live in or on the lower end of the scale? New data reveals some surprising facts about our nation.
If you’ve got $100 in your pocket, exactly how much can you buy with it? As it turns out, the answer varies greatly depending on what state you’re in.
The Tax Foundation, a “leading independent tax policy research organization” according to its own description, has used 2013 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and created a map that shows how far $100 goes in each state as compared to the national average, according to a Patch.com report.
The states where you can get the biggest bang for your buck include southern states like Mississippi, where $100 will buy you $115.21 worth of stuff based on the average — the highest in the nation. That state is followed closely by its neighbors Arkansas at $114.29 and Alabama at $114.03. West Virginia is $113.12. And then there’s South Dakota way up north at $114.16.
Where is $100 worth the least? It’s actually in the District of Columbia, where it will only buy you $84.96 worth of goods. Hawaii is the lowest state at $86.06, followed by New York at $86.73, New Jersey at $87.34, and California at $89.05.
The differences can be massive: If you make $50,000 in after tax income in Mississippi, you would have to make $68,000 in after-tax earnings in the District of Columbia to have the same standard of living, according to the report.
Looking at the map you can see some general trends. The low cost of living states tend to stretch through the “Bible Belt” of the South and up through the midwest as well as into the “rust belt,” not surprising considering their economic histories. Meanwhile, the high cost of living states tend to be concentrated in the northeast and on the west coast, although Colorado and Illinois are somewhat isolated as high-cost states surrounded by low-cost states.