15 Cities Where Your Dollar Goes the Furthest

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Porch.

Worries about inflation have been the biggest economic story of recent months. Month-over-month and year-over-year price increases have been at historic highs through much of 2021 and in 2022, with categories like energy and vehicles seeing increases of more than 40% since the beginning of 2021.

A number of factors explain the recent nationwide trends in price increases. Strong fiscal stimulus from the federal government during the pandemic and rapid recovery in many sectors have brought more money into the U.S. economy, while a tight labor market has led to wage increases for many workers.

With more money to spend, consumer demand has increased, but ongoing issues with global supply chains have made many physical goods scarce. The result has been price increases in nearly every category, which puts pressure on households’ finances.

One common measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index, calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI measures prices paid for a set of typical consumer expenses, including food, energy, transportation, apparel, shelter, and more. The year-over-year percentage change in the CPI has topped 5% in every month since June 2021 and reached 7.5% in January of 2022.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2020 Regional Price Parities (RPP) dataset, which tracks relative cost-of-living differences across geographies.

To determine the locations where Americans’ incomes go the furthest, researchers at Porch looked at the overall cost of living compared with the national average, taking into account consumer goods, services, and housing. In the event of a tie, the location with the larger per capita personal income was ranked higher.

Here are the metropolitan areas where your dollar goes the furthest.

15. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -4.3%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -4.8%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.3%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +1.1%
  • Per capita personal income: $60,884

14. Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -4.6%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -5.0%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.7%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +1.2%
  • Per capita personal income: $61,148

13. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -5.3%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -11.9%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -6.2%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): -2.3%
  • Per capita personal income: $54,037

12. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

Indianapolis, Indiana
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -5.3%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -13.5%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -5.6%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +7.2%
  • Per capita personal income: $60,431

11. Kansas City, MO-KS

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -5.3%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -15.0%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.5%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +10.3%
  • Per capita personal income: $58,057

10. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Charlotte North Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -5.4%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -11.3%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.3%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +1.7%
  • Per capita personal income: $56,682

9. Columbus, OH

rainy day in columbus, Ohio
CreativEdge / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -5.8%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -14.6%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -5.9%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): -2.7%
  • Per capita personal income: $56,252

8. Tucson, AZ

Tucson, Arizona
Sean-Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -6.2%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -14.6%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -3.4%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +4.7%
  • Per capita personal income: $48,373

7. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skyline
Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -6.2%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -27.1%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -3.9%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +10.9%
  • Per capita personal income: $52,688

6. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

RobDun / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -6.5%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -20.0%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -5.9%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): -1.3%
  • Per capita personal income: $59,607

5. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Cleveland, Ohio
Pedro Gutierrez / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -7.0%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -20.5%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -5.9%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): -2.6%
  • Per capita personal income: $58,846

4. Tulsa, OK

Tulsa Oklahoma
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -7.1%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -30.0%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -3.9%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +11.0%
  • Per capita personal income: $58,071

3. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis Tennessee
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -7.3%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -23.2%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.3%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +5.2%
  • Per capita personal income: $51,155

2. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -7.4%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -28.5%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.5%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +20.3%
  • Per capita personal income: $55,074

1. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Overall cost of living (compared with average): -8.1%
  • Cost of housing (compared with average): -29.2%
  • Cost of goods (compared with average): -4.4%
  • Cost of utilities (compared with average): +4.5%
  • Per capita personal income: $55,676

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
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The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2020 Regional Price Parities (RPP)dataset, which tracks relative cost-of-living differences across geographies.

To determine the locations where Americans’ dollar goes the furthest, researchers looked at the “All Items RPP,” which covers all consumer goods and services including housing.

In the event of a tie, the location with the larger per capita personal income was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only locations with at least 100,000 residents were included.

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