Cost of Living Index & Consumer Price Index:

Cost of Living Index(COL) and Consumer Price Index(CPI) are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor that determines the changes in the price of a good or service over time in a particular location. These indices are very useful for comparing price changes from one place to another or with the same place. For more information on these indices and other related statistical data, please refer to the official website www.bls.gov.

How Cost of Living Index is calculated?

Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data from several sources related with housing, food, utilities, health, transportation, miscellaneous etc., and determines the cost of living index.

  • Housing: Includes purchasing, renting or maintaining a house or an apartment.
  • Food: Standard basket of food purchased in the place.
  • Utilities: Includes electricity, gas for heating, telephone etc.
  • Health: Expenses related with health.
  • Transportation: Includes expenses like auto insurance, gas for vehicles, maintenance and repair, transportation etc.
  • Miscellaneous: Other costs associated with daily living.

Cities with High COL Index:

Considering the national average of cost of living index to be 100, big cities like San Francisco(CA), San Jose(CA), San Diego(CA), Los Angeles(CA), Orange County(CA), Boston(MA), New York(NY), Jersey City(NJ), Newark(NJ), Stamford-Norwalk(CT) will stand 50%-100% higher than the national average of COL and these are considered to be the expensive cities to live in.

Cities with Low COL Index:

Cities located in the southern central part of USA like Texarkana(TX), Shreveport(LA), Anniston(AL), Jackson(MS), Decatur(IL), Florence(SC) are 20%-25% lower than the national average of COL and these are considered to be the cheapest cities to live in.


Most and Least Expensive Cities: First Quarter 2005