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2021 Cost of Living Calculator

Cost of Living scores and indexes are a way to compare the overall price of goods and services between different areas of the United States. The national average is 100, so when you look at a place’s COL Index you can instantly see how much more or less you’ll have to pay to live there.

If a place has a cost of living index of 135, then it is 35% more expensive to live there than the national average. If a place has a cost of living index of 85, then it is 15% cheaper than the average for the entire country.

The biggest factor in Cost of Living is housing costs – buying a house or apartment, or renting one.

You get a custom cost of living comparison that includes housing, food, utilities, transportation, healthcare costs (including premiums and common surgeries), taxes, and child care prices.

1. Where do you live now?

    2. Where are you considering?

      3. What is your annual income? (optional)

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      Includes Cost of Living compares for child care, utilities, transportation, health, taxes, housing for home owners vs renters, weather, insurance premiums and so much more.

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      A cost of living index allows you to compare what it costs to live in one place against another, revealing how far your money will go in different areas. Scores are presented in relation to the national average of 100. If a place’s COL index is below 100, it’s cheaper than the national average. If it’s over 100, it’s more expensive than the national average.

      For example, a cost of living index of 130 means it costs 30% more to live there as compared to the national average (130-100=30). If you perform the same calculation with a cost of index below the national average of 100, you’ll get a negative number showing how much money you’ll save. So, in a place with a COL of 85, that means it costs 15% less to live there than the national average (85-100=-15).


      The BestPlaces cost of living index is the most accurate and complete available because we add many new categories to the current and historical systems. We start with ACCRA’s 100-as-national-average model adopted by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) in 1968, then update and expand it to include 21st-century consumer spending preferences and expenditure types.

      Using sophisticated modeling techniques, our BestPlaces analysis expands the geographic scope of our Cost of Living Indexes down to the zip code level, covering every county, city, and metro area in the United States.

      The BestPlaces cost of living score includes housing prices for renters or homeowners, utilities (electric, natural gas, oil), healthcare costs (premiums and common surgeries), entertainment costs, transportation expenses (vehicle insurance and registration fees, gas prices and commuting costs, vehicle depreciation), food prices (meat, dairy, ready-to-eat, and more), child care (for both infants and toddlers, at home and away from home), and taxes (income, property, sales, motor vehicle).

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