Finding the right place to live where your dollar goes furthest can mean the difference between scraping by or being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The length of a commute, how much fuel costs, and the price of groceries are just some of the ways to judge how far that dollar will stretch. And the cost of buying or renting a home is paramount. Job opportunities matter, as well: Many of the most economical places to live are those that have successfully lured and nurtured vibrant young startups and tech businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly every aspect of our lives, including where we choose to live. The option of remote work has expanded job horizons, putting into play many places that once were out of the question entirely. Some cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, are even offering lucrative cash incentives to draw remote workers.
To find the cities where your dollar goes the furthest, Assemble analyzed the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s 2019 Regional Price Parity (RPP) index, released in December 2020. The Regional Price Parity index measures the differences in price levels across metropolitan areas for a given year, expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level. For this ranking, Assemble ranked metropolitan areas by the “all items RPP,” which covers all consumption goods and services, including housing rents.
Income data was also found via another 2019 Bureau of Economic Analysis dataset. The RPP adjusted per capita income is calculated by finding the per capita income if the metropolitan area’s prices were at the national price level. Ties in RPP were broken by the metropolitan area with the higher RPP adjusted per capita income. Metropolitan areas with fewer than 500,000 residents were filtered out of this analysis.