Tuesday, December 21, 2004

You get more for less in the valley

Published: Wed, Dec 15, 2004

The survey measured 324 urban areas in the United States and Canada.

YOUNGSTOWN — The cost of living in the Mahoning Valley is among the lowest in the nation, according to the results of a national survey.

According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the Youngstown-Warren area was 8.5 percent below the national average during the third quarter of this year.

"The Valley's cost of living is consistently below the national average and lower than many of the communities we compete with for new jobs," according to Reid Dulberger, executive vice president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. "That difference does not go unnoticed by the companies we work with.

"The figures are widely reported and are dispersed to a wide variety of consultants and corporations."

Urban areas

The index, which is compiled and published by the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association, a national association of community and economic development research professionals, surveys 324 urban areas in the United States and Canada.

The study measures differences in the cost of consumer goods and services and is based on more than 60 items grouped into six categories, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

Prices are collected quarterly by local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or similar groups in each urban area. In the Mahoning Valley, the regional chamber collects data.

The Valley's overall composite index score was 91.5, based on a national average of 100. Transportation costs were 4.8 percent below the national average.

Health and housing

Meanwhile, health-care costs, which include factors such as a hospital room rates, visiting a doctor or a dentist, and housing costs that take into account apartment rent, the price of a new home, mortgage rates and payments, were 24.2 percent and 15.1 percent lower, respectively.

Miscellaneous goods and services were 8.8 percent below the national average. Food costs, based on 27 specific items, were 1.3 percent below the national average. Utility costs were 7.1 percent higher than the national average.

The index reported that the cost of living in the Mahoning Valley is 13 percent lower than Cleveland, 53 percent lower than Washington, D.C., and 136 percent lower than New York City-Manhattan, which had the highest cost of living among metro areas participating in the survey.

The cost of living numbers mean that a person earning $25,000 per year in Youngstown-Warren area would have to earn $28,251 living in Cleveland, $38,251 living in Washington, D.C., or $59,016 to live in New York City to achieve the same purchasing power.

Dulberger said the results mean that a high quality of living can be achieved at a low cost in the Mahoning Valley.


© 2004 Vindy.com. A service of The Vindicator.

Blogger's Note: As a resident of the Washington, DC-area who lived in Youngstown until June 2004, I completly agree with the 53 percent difference in the cost of living. Gotta love Youngstown; at least it's affordable!

No comments: