M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I…Instead of Hawaii.

I’m always slightly interested in knowing the most expensive places to live versus the states with the lowest cost of living. I guess knowing this helps me to put the cost of living in our little Central Oregon towns into perspective.

Just how widely can the cost of living vary from state to state? Financial website GoBankingRates.com culled 2016 data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, examining six categories of living expenses: housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous items. The site used the data to calculate each state’s overall cost of living index.

Hawaii is the priciest state to live in, where cost-of-living expenses are 67.4 percent higher than the national average, according to the analysis. Housing costs in the state top the national average by 130 percent, the study shows. I guess this makes Hawaii a great place to visit – but wouldn’t particularly want to live there. If you think housing costs have gone up here – just take a look at what you get for the same money on Maui!

On the other end of the spectrum, the cost of living in Mississippi is the lowest in the U.S.—14 percent below the national average, according to GoBankingRates.com’s study. Housing costs there are 31.6 percent cheaper than the national average, and groceries are nearly 6 percent less.

Now…I must be honest and tell you that when I think of Hawaii I envision palm trees and fruity drinks festooned with little umbrellas. When I think of Mississippi I think of….well…sweaty Sheriffs wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses. I realize both visions are stereotypical and neither one a true representation of what each state has to offer. And I’ve never been to Mississippi.

According to GoBankingRates.com, the states with the highest cost of living in the U.S. are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. New York
  4. California
  5. Massachusetts

Meanwhile, the states with the lowest cost of living in the U.S. are:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Indiana
  3. Michigan
  4. Arkansas
  5. Oklahoma

Interestingly, I’ve worked with buyers from all of the states mentioned with the highest cost-of-living. I have never worked with a buyer from the states listed with the lowest cost of living. Once again I’m reminded about the fact that people come here because, relative to lots of other cities, Central Oregon is still very affordable.  And as long as that is the case we will continue to see an influx of people from out-of-state who come here for the lower cost-of-living and amazing lifestyle that we enjoy. We must all get used to the fact that Bend, Redmond and Sisters, along with Prineville and LaPine, will continue to grow.  Back soon…

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