The Economic Perspective: “Regional Cost of Living Differences”

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at regional cost of living differences.  Mike, if you drive around North Carolina or the country, one thing you’ll see is how much prices can vary.  Home prices and rents, the price of meals, and even the cost of fuel can be different in one locality compared to another.  Based on the latest information, where are the most expensive and least expensive places to live?

  1. Fortunately the Federal government tracks geographical differences in prices
  2. Also fortunately, the latest data show NC does not have any locations that are among the most expensive
  3. The most expensive places to live in the country are DC, NY, Boston, San Francisco, and LA.
  4. But there is still quite a variation in prices within NC
  5. Most expensive are the big cities of Raleigh and Charlotte
  6. Least expensive are rural areas in the NE, North Central, and South Central
  7. Makes sense big cities are more expensive as more people compete for limited land area; competition is less intense in rural areas
  8. But tradeoff – cities offer more jobs and amenities
  9. People have to choose
  10. I’m MW

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.