|Cost of Living Remains Below National Average|
Spokane's cost of living remains below the national average and among the lowest of major western cities.
Quarter 1 2011 data from the ACCRA Cost of Living Index shows Spokane's Composite Index is 92.7, 7.3 percent below the national average. Spokane's utilities are 25.9 percent below the national average, and housing costs are 14.5 percent lower than the national average. Only transportation (101.6) and health care (106.6) were above the national average. The index is put together by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).
322 urban areas participate across the United States. Spokane's cost of living is lower than the following participating peer communities: Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Tucson, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno-Sparks, Nev.; Tacoma, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and every participating city in California.
Only Colorado Springs, Colo. and Mobile, Ala. had a lower cost of living than Spokane, by .7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
The data is used to determine how moving from one city to another affects personal costs. A Cost of Living Index Calculator is available here.
Peer communities have been identified as comparable based on similarities to our region in population, employment and key industry clusters. The communities were first selected for Greater Spokane Incorporated's Spokane Vitals project, available here.
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 90,000 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 partner 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.
For more on how Spokane compared to other communities in the analysis, visit our website.