Spokane Still Has a Low Cost of Living Print E-mail

(Spokane, Wash.)— The Spokane region continues to sustain a cost of living below the national average as shown by the 2010 Annual Average Data report by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).

Spokane Metropolitan Statistical Area’s composite index for 2010 is 93.8, 6.2% lower than the national average. Spokane’s health care costs were 9.8% higher than the national average, but housing and utility costs were considerably below average. Housing costs were 14.5% below the national average, and utilities 10.3% less. Transportation ranked 9.1% over the national average, however, grocery items and miscellaneous goods and services were 7.6% and 3.5% below the national average, respectively.

The survey consisted of 318 urban areas across the United States and Spokane once again ranked below the national average index of 100. Spokane is also among the lowest of major western cities and is ranked lower than its participating peer communities:  Albuquerque, NM; Boise, ID; Raleigh-Cary, NC; Tucson, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno-Sparks, NV; Tacoma, WA, and Portland, OR.

The previous peer cities were selected for comparison by Greater Spokane Incorporated for its Spokane Vitals project. The cities have been identified as similar to the Spokane region in population, employment and primary industry sectors. More information on the Spokane Vitals project is available on the GSI Web site at http://www.greaterspokane.org/spokane-vitals.html.

The ACCRA 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. The index is based on more than 50,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis and Greater Spokane Incorporated partnered to collect the data representing Spokane County.

The composite index is based on six components:  housing; utilities; grocery items; transportation; health care; and miscellaneous goods and services. Weights assigned to relative costs are based on government survey data on expenditure patterns for mid-management households.  Items are priced in all locations at a specified time and according to standardized specifications.

About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is committed to growing jobs and business investment throughout the Spokane region - an area that serves as the business and cultural hub of the Inland Northwest and supports a population of 1.4 million. GSI is the area's only Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, providing leadership to build a stronger economy since 1881. GSI is funded by more than 1,400 private-sector member investors; Washington State; Spokane County; and the cities of Spokane; Spokane Valley; Liberty Lake; Cheney; Airway Heights; Medical Lake; Newport and Millwood.  For more information, visit www.greaterspokane.org or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1-800-SPOKANE.

About the EWU Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis
The Eastern Washington University Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis was established in 2002 to provide interdisciplinary research in social, economic and public policy questions for the region EWU serves.  In addition to its work on the Spokane International Airport economic impact analysis, the Institute also regularly publishes research monographs which are distributed to elected officials, community groups, opinion makers, economic development groups and others who might find the data useful for planning, providing services and for other purposes. For more information, visit http://www.ewu.edu/cbpa/centers-and-institutes/ippea.xml

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