Grocery prices help Missouri maintain rankings in cost-of-living index

(The Center Square) – The price of groceries in Missouri has helped maintain the state’s favorable ranking when it comes to cost-of-living.

According to the cost-of-living index compiled by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri’s index rating of 88.5 means the state had the sixth-lowest cost-of-living among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2023. The state also was rated sixth in 2022 and seventh in 2021.

Ranking ahead of Missouri in the 2023 research was Oklahoma (86.2), Mississippi (86.3), Kansas (87.1), West Virginia (87.7) and Alabama (88.3). The five states with the highest cost-of-living indices were Hawaii (180.3), the District of Columbia (146.8), Massachusetts (146.5), California (138.5) and New York (125.9).

The index for each state is determined by averaging the indices of participating metropolitan areas. Each state’s rating was an average of an indexed rating in groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health and a miscellaneous area. Here are Missouri’s rankings in the indices:

  • Groceries: Fourth (95.3 and tied with Arkansas)
  • Housing: 10th (77)
  • Utilities: 26th (98.6)
  • Transportation: Seventh (90.9)
  • Health: Fifth (89.9)
  • Miscellaneous: Second (91.5)

All of Missouri’s participating cities had a composite index below the national average in 2023. Joplin’s index of 84.1 placed it atop the list of Missouri’s five largest cities. Joplin was tied with Tupelo, Miss., for the sixth spot in the 2022 rankings of least-expensive urban areas to live.

Rankings for the other four Missouri cities were:

  • Springfield: 84.8
  • St. Louis: 88.9
  • Columbia: 90.0
  • Kansas City: 93.7

The Council for Community and Economic Research excludes taxes and non-consumer expenditures in its measurement of the cost of consumer goods and services. Prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development groups and universities.

“Among the 276 urban areas that participated in the 2023 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan) to more than 20% below the national average in Decatur, Ill.,” the report stated.

The research found three cities in Alaska to be the most expensive for groceries: Fairbanks (124.1), Anchorage (123.8), and Juneau (122.7). Two California cities – San Francisco (122.5) and Oakland (117.2) – rounded out the top five. The most inexpensive urban area for groceries was Thibodaux-Lafourche Parish, La., followed by four Texas cities: Temple and Cedar Park (91.3), McAllen (91.4), and Harlingen (91.8).

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