When my last radio job ended, I contemplated moving to a metropolitan area to restart my career. After crunching the numbers, it turns out I would be financially better off living in Kentucky with no job at all than trying to start over in a big city. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released statistics on personal income and living costs among cities and states, and the results are in this “price parity” chart.
The results show the District of Columbia, in 2012, had the highest “regional price parity” of any state. Granted, D.C.’s really a city, not a state, and set against their more natural comparisons, it ranks fifth, behind the Urban Honolulu area, New York-Newark-Jersey City, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward. Beaches, hedge funds and technology are the key to prices, evidently.
The cheapest metro areas, by this methodology, were Danville, Ill.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Jackson, Tenn.; Jonesboro, Ark.; and Rome, Ga.
Put another way,it costs 54% more to live in Honolulu than in Danville.