Not all Benjamins are created equal.
For the first time ever, the federal government this year introduced a data series that compares price differences among states and metropolitan areas. Those estimates — regional price parities and real personal income — offer something simple and immensely useful for anyone considering making a move: They allow you to compare how far your money goes in each state.
We covered the implications — how you might use the data to compare income or rent in one state with another — when the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the data in April, and today the Tax Foundation publishedthe following map based on the same data to show how far $100 would go in each state.
You’d squeeze the most out of $100 in Mississippi, where you could use it to buy $115.74 worth of goods and services, relative to the national average. Arkansas comes next, followed by Missouri, Alabama and South Dakota. The state where $100 falls flattest is Hawaii, where that same $100 gets you only $85.32. (D.C., though not a state, is even worse: It would buy you just $84.60 in goods.)
As the Tax Foundation post’s authors note, those differences have real implications on how people choose where to live, how states or cities choose to tax and even who has access to government assistance programs.