CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – Everyone is feeling the effects of inflation, coupled with lay-offs and an unforgiving housing market.
Overall, it’s expensive to live.
The latest ConsumerAffairs survey revealed cost of living is so high in some areas, one-third of Americans would consider moving to a different state to escape it.
But what states would provide the most relief for residential costs? The ConsumerAffairs data team evaluated housing and rental costs; utility, food, and gas prices; and tax rates to find the lowest and highest cost of living in the U.S.
West Virginia ranked #2 for the lowest cost of living in the United States
The top 10 states with the lowest cost of living are as follows:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
Low-cost housing, groceries, gas and utilities made North Dakota into the top spot.
- Its status as one of the nation’s leading crude oil producers helps keep gasoline and home utility prices low.
- State and local taxes are also low, ranking ninth-best in the nation.
- Out-of-pocket health care costs may be a sticking point, however — they make up about 20% of per-capita consumption expenses.
In second place, West Virginia is a housing haven.
- It has the lowest median prices for both homebuying and renting; both cost roughly one-fourth as much as in Hawaii, the highest-price state.
- It also ranks in the top five nationally for its low state and local tax burden.
- West Virginia’s grocery prices are steep compared to the other top states.
- Its health care score is second-lowest in the nation, reflecting high premiums for employer insurance.
Michigan has the country’s most affordable health care, judging from its low premiums on job-based insurance.
- General health care-related expenses make up 16.1% of Michiganders’ monthly outlays, slightly less than the national average of 16.25%.
- Housing costs are low (but so is supply now — the market has become competitive).
- Plus a better-than-average state and local tax burden (8.6% versus a national average of 10.58%).
To determine which states have the lowest cost of living, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team looked at six main cost factors: housing, taxes, groceries, out-of-pocket health care expenditures, gas and home utilities. Each factor was indexed against the maximum value among all 50 states and assigned a weight. States with the lowest scores have the lowest cost of living. Here is an in-depth look at the factors split apart.
You can see the full ConsumerAffairs report here.