The Council for Community and Economic Research, a nonprofit group that provides information on local economic trends, has named McAllen the least expensive U.S. cities to live in, followed closely by Harlingen, which was ranked two.
Among the 265 urban areas that participated the third quarter 2015 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), NY to more than 20 percent below the national average in McAllen.
The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences in the index numbers should not be interpreted as significant.
The composite index is based on six components: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.
“Cost of living is an important aspect to quality of life. Other things being equal people would prefer to reside where living cost are lower. It’s also an important aspect of the cost of doing business so this ranking is helpful to our business development efforts,” said Ivan Gonzalez, vice president of Business Development and Governmental Affairs of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.
Rounding out the list of least expensive, in order, are Richmond, Ind.; Norman, Okla.; Ashland, Ohio; Sherman-Denison, Texas; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Idaho Falls, Ind.; Memphis, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; and Cookeville, Tenn.
The most expensive places to live, according to the list, are, in order, New York (Manhattan), N.Y.; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Francisco, Calif.; New York (Brooklyn), N.Y.; Orange County, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-Va.; San Diego, Calif.; Hilo, Hawaii; and Stamford, Conn.
The Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by The Council for Community and Economic Research.