By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog
Your $100 goes further in Ohio than in 42 states, according to a new map from the Tax Foundation.
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Foundation, a nonpartisan research think tank based in Washington, D.C., evaluated the cost of living and came up with a map that compares the real purchasing power of $100.
In Ohio, that amount is actually worth $112.11, which puts it eighth in the nation for purchasing power. The top seven states and their equivalents are:
7. Kentucky at $112.61
6. W. Virginia at $112.87
5. South Dakota at $113.38
4. Missouri at $113.51
3. Alabama at $113.51
2. Arkansas at $114.16
1. Mississippi at $117.54
The worst-value areas, according to the report, are the District of Columbia ($84.60), Hawaii ($85.32), New York ($86.66), New Jersey ($87.64) and California ($88.57).
But it gets better for Ohioans.
In non-metropolitan areas, that $100 has a purchasing power equal to $118.91, indicating the cost of living is less in the more rural areas.
There is a significant difference in the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, with the least bang for your buck around Columbus:
- Wheeling W.Va.-Ohio MSA $115.87
- Weirton-Steubenville W.Va.-Ohio MSA $115.21
- Akron MSA $113.12
- Mansfield MSA $112.61
- Youngstown-Warren-Boardman Ohio-Pa. $112.49
- Lima MSA $112.36
- Cleveland-Elyria MSA $112.11
- Canton-Massillon MSA $111.86
- Toledo MSA $111.36
- Dayton MSA $109.89
- Cincinnati-Ky.-Ind. MSA $109.29
- Columbus MSA $106.61
“Cities are expensive. Your dollar doesn’t go as far,” said Lyman Stone, an economist and one of the authors of the report. “That’s something mayors and city councils need to be aware of. As prices rise in urban areas it can price people into the suburbs, and that information has value for city planning.”
Rob Nichols, press secretary for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, sees another way to tout the state.
“It’s yet another attribute that makes Ohio so attractive to job creators, alongside our tax cuts, balanced budget, improved credit outlook and replenished rainy day fund,” he said. “Ohio has a great story to tell and we plan to stick to these same policies that allowed Ohioans to create nearly a quarter million private sector jobs after losing 350,000 jobs during the previous administration.”
While the state can use the lower cost of living to attract new business, Lyman said, Ohio’s $112.11 figure has little to do with tax policy, since the map is based on 2012 data — before the Kasich tax cuts took effect. He’s not sure what effect the tax cuts will have on future estimates of purchasing power.
“It’s more indicative of low demand, people leaving the state and not a lot of robust economic activity,” he said. “There’s a downward adjustment in prices due to the lagging economy in the state.”
Officials can use the data to promote Ohio.
“Ohio can point out that the situation is somewhat better than it looks on the outside because costs are lower. That’s how areas rebound,” he said. “They become competitive in costs and that can be an attractive thing for companies that are looking to relocate.”