The Value of a Dollar in Every State

May 13, 2016 by Steven M. Peters

One Dollar
Source: Thinkstock
While a dollar bill looks and feels the same all over the United States, its value is often very different depending on where it is used.

The prices of housing, food, and services, vary considerably across the country. To highlight these differences, which reflect the relative purchasing power of Americans, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the value of a dollar in each state based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Compared to the national average cost of goods and services, a single dollar goes the furthest in Mississippi, where the cost of living is the lowest of any state. A dollar in Mississippi is effectively worth $1.15. By contrast, in Hawaii, the most expensive state, a dollar is worth the least — only $0.86.

Income levels differ far more than costs of living between states. In states with high incomes, a single dollar tends to be worth less because of the often higher costs of living in those states. In the 15 states where the dollar is worth the least — that is, with the highest costs of living — the median annual household income exceeds the national median of $53,657. In low-income states, by contrast, a single dollar tends to go relatively far. Mississippi, the state where a dollar goes the furthest, has the highest poverty rate and lowest household median income in the nation.

Click here to see the value of a dollar in every state.

In the five years through 2013, the value of a dollar increased in every state — and nationwide. While this may sound positive, the reasons for the higher dollar value were mostly related to the housing crash. The states with the largest increases in the value of a dollar also had among the largest median home price drops between 2008 and 2013. California for example, where one dollar is worth just $0.89, the median home value dropped by more than 20% over that period. Because Americans spend far more on housing than on goods and services, the housing market collapse meant that component declined considerably, leaving room for more purchases. While one dollar could therefore buy more than it did before the housing collapse, a number of Americans lost significant amounts of money through the depreciation of their homes.

North Dakota is the only state that had a major increase in the cost of housing, with median home prices rising by 38.1% between 2008 and 2013, likely caused by the state’s oil industry-related economic boom. The housing cost increase in North Dakota bucked the broader trend, and the value of one dollar in North Dakota increased less than in any other state as a result.

To identify the states where a dollar is worth the most, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the relative price of a single dollar using regional price parities (RPPs) in each state in both 2008 and 2013 — the latest year for which data are available — from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. RPPs are expressed as an index of the national average price level (100) for goods and services. We also reviewed socioeconomic data, including median household income, and poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey.

These are the states with the highest value of one dollar.

Honolulu Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

50. Hawaii
> Value of a dollar:
$0.86
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +9.3% (8th largest)
> Median household income: $69,592 (5th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (7th lowest)

New York City, New York 2

49. New York
> Value of a dollar:
$0.87
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (25th smallest)
> Median household income: $58,878 (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.9% (19th highest)

Atlantic City, New Jersey 2

48. New Jersey
> Value of a dollar:
$0.87
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.0% (7th smallest)
> Median household income: $71,919 (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (4th lowest)

Los Angeles, California 2

47. California
> Value of a dollar:
$0.89
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.3% (14th largest)
> Median household income: $61,933 (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (17th highest)

Annapolis, Maryland

46. Maryland
> Value of a dollar:
$0.90
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.9% (15th smallest)
> Median household income: $73,971 (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (2nd lowest)

Hartford, Connecticut

45. Connecticut
> Value of a dollar:
$0.92
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +9.7% (5th largest)
> Median household income: $70,048 (4th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (3rd lowest)

George Washington Statue, Boston, Massachusetts

44. Massachusetts
> Value of a dollar:
$0.93
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.5% (12th largest)
> Median household income: $69,160 (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (10th lowest)

Juneau, Alaska

43. Alaska
> Value of a dollar:
$0.94
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.4% (13th largest)
> Median household income: $71,583 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

New Hampshire (bridge)

42. New Hampshire
> Value of a dollar:
$0.94
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.8% (10th largest)
> Median household income: $66,532 (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (the lowest)

Seattle (King County), Washington

41. Washington
> Value of a dollar:
$0.97
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.5% (23rd largest)
> Median household income: $61,366 (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Richmond, Virginia 2

40. Virginia
> Value of a dollar:
$0.97
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (24th smallest)
> Median household income: $64,902 (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (12th lowest)

Denver, Colorado 3

39. Colorado
> Value of a dollar:
$0.98
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +5.6% (3rd smallest)
> Median household income: $61,303 (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.0% (13th lowest)

Wilmington, Delaware

38. Delaware
> Value of a dollar:
$0.99
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.1% (16th largest)
> Median household income: $59,716 (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (17th lowest)

Chicago, Illinois 4

37. Illinois
> Value of a dollar:
$0.99
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.7% (11th smallest)
> Median household income: $57,444 (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.4% (25th lowest)

Montpelier, Vermont

36. Vermont
> Value of a dollar:
$1.00
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.7% (21st largest)
> Median household income: $54,166 (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Miami, Florida

35. Florida
> Value of a dollar:
$1.01
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +9.7% (6th largest)
> Median household income: $47,463 (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (16th highest)

Portland, Oregon 2

34. Oregon
> Value of a dollar:
$1.01
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.1% (19th smallest)
> Median household income: $51,075 (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

Pennsylvania

33. Pennsylvania
> Value of a dollar:
$1.01
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.1% (18th smallest)
> Median household income: $53,234 (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

Las Vegas, Nevada

32. Nevada
> Value of a dollar:
$1.02
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +10.3% (2nd largest)
> Median household income: $51,450 (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Providence, Rhode Island

31. Rhode Island
> Value of a dollar:
$1.02
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +9.8% (4th largest)
> Median household income: $54,891 (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.3% (24th lowest)

Portland, Maine 2

30. Maine
> Value of a dollar:
$1.02
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.8% (20th largest)
> Median household income: $49,462 (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (22nd lowest)

Minneapolis, Minnesota

29. Minnesota
> Value of a dollar:
$1.02
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (23rd smallest)
> Median household income: $61,481 (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

Salt Lake City, Utah

28. Utah
> Value of a dollar:
$1.03
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.1% (17th smallest)
> Median household income: $60,922 (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (11th lowest)

Phoenix, Arizona 3

27. Arizona
> Value of a dollar:
$1.03
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +11.4% (the largest)
> Median household income: $50,068 (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.2% (10th highest)

Austin Capital of Texas

26. Texas
> Value of a dollar:
$1.03
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (22nd smallest)
> Median household income: $53,035 (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)

Cheyenne, Wyoming

25. Wyoming
> Value of a dollar:
$1.04
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.8% (19th largest)
> Median household income: $57,055 (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

24. New Mexico
> Value of a dollar:
$1.05
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.8% (13th smallest)
> Median household income: $44,803 (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)

Billings, Montana

23. Montana
> Value of a dollar:
$1.06
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.5% (11th largest)
> Median household income: $46,328 (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.4% (22nd highest)

Detroit, Michigan

22. Michigan
> Value of a dollar:
$1.06
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.9% (9th largest)
> Median household income: $49,847 (20th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (18th highest)

Milwaukee Houses, Wisconsin

21. Wisconsin
> Value of a dollar:
$1.08
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.6% (22nd largest)
> Median household income: $52,622 (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Boise, Idaho capital building

20. Idaho
> Value of a dollar:
$1.08
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +10.3% (3rd largest)
> Median household income: $47,861 (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.8% (25th highest)

Augusta, Georgia

19. Georgia
> Value of a dollar:
$1.09
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +9.4% (7th largest)
> Median household income: $49,321 (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Raleigh, North Carolina

18. North Carolina
> Value of a dollar:
$1.09
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.9% (18th largest)
> Median household income: $46,556 (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)

Fargo, North Dakota

17. North Dakota
> Value of a dollar:
$1.09
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +4.1% (the smallest)
> Median household income: $59,029 (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

Indianapolis, Indiana

16. Indiana
> Value of a dollar:
$1.09
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (21st smallest)
> Median household income: $49,446 (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

15. Louisiana
> Value of a dollar:
$1.10
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.9% (14th smallest)
> Median household income: $44,555 (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)

Wichita, Kansas

14. Kansas
> Value of a dollar:
$1.10
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +5.7% (4th smallest)
> Median household income: $52,504 (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

Knoxville, Tennessee

13. Tennessee
> Value of a dollar:
$1.10
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.4% (24th largest)
> Median household income: $44,361 (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

12. South Carolina
> Value of a dollar:
$1.11
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.2% (15th largest)
> Median household income: $45,238 (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.0% (11th highest)

Omaha, Nebraska

11. Nebraska
> Value of a dollar:
$1.11
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.6% (9th smallest)
> Median household income: $52,686 (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.4% (16th lowest)

Des Moines, Iowa

10. Iowa
> Value of a dollar:
$1.11
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +5.5% (2nd smallest)
> Median household income: $53,712 (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

9. Oklahoma
> Value of a dollar:
$1.11
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.3% (8th smallest)
> Median household income: $47,529 (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

Columbus, Ohio

8. Ohio
> Value of a dollar:
$1.12
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +8.0% (17th largest)
> Median household income: $49,308 (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (20th highest)

Missouri

7. Missouri
> Value of a dollar:
$1.12
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +5.8% (6th smallest)
> Median household income: $48,363 (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5% (21st highest)

Kentucky Farm

6. Kentucky
> Value of a dollar:
$1.12
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.3% (20th smallest)
> Median household income: $42,958 (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 19.1% (5th highest)

Wheeling, West Virginia

5. West Virginia
> Value of a dollar:
$1.13
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +5.8% (5th smallest)
> Median household income: $41,059 (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Birmingham, Alabama 2

4. Alabama
> Value of a dollar:
$1.14
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.4% (25th largest)
> Median household income: $42,830 (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 19.3% (4th highest)

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

3. South Dakota
> Value of a dollar:
$1.14
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.6% (10th smallest)
> Median household income: $50,979 (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (23rd lowest)

Hot Springs, Arkansas 3

2. Arkansas
> Value of a dollar:
$1.14
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +6.8% (12th smallest)
> Median household income: $41,262 (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.9% (6th highest)

Mississippi, ditch boat pushing barge

1. Mississippi
> Value of a dollar:
$1.15
> Chg. in value of dollar 2008-2013: +7.0% (16th smallest)
> Median household income: $39,680 (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 21.5% (the highest)