Many items that Americans buy regularly have become more expensive recently. The consumer price index issued by the U.S. Department of Labor rose 7% in December. That was the fastest pace since 1982. The figure is expected to stay high through at least this year, driven largely by supply change slowdowns. Among the items Americans have paid for the most recently are cars and gasoline, the prices of which have risen as much as 40%.
Inflation is not the only challenge some Americans face as they try to earn enough money for key items like food, fuel, housing and health care. A total of 11.4% of people in the United States live in poverty. In many places, these people have trouble affording their most basic financial needs.
The U.S. median household income was $67,521 in 2020, according to the Census Bureau. This figure varies considerably by state. The median household income in Mississippi is $45,792. Topping the list, the figure in Maryland is $86,738.
While these figures indicate the incomes people have to cover their basic needs, another factor is the cost of living. This number comes close to matching median household income by state. That makes sense. Expensive goods and services would not sell well in Mississippi.
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center looked at the cost of living by state in the third quarter of 2021. It set up an index based on grocery, housing, utility, transportation and health care costs.
The state with the highest cost of living index was Hawaii at 185.6. The cost of housing there was unusually high. The figure for the next state, California, was much lower, and the state with the closest figure to 100, the U.S. average, was Pennsylvania at 100.5.
These are the 10 states with the highest costs of living:
- Hawaii (185.6)
- California (146.9)
- New York (143.7)
- Massachusetts (132.5)
- Oregon (127.5)
- Alaska (125.7)
- Maryland (121.4)
- Connecticut (119.5)
- New Jersey (118.3)
- Rhode Island (115.8)
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