Here’s How Much $100 is Really Worth in Your State

2 minute read

A Benjamin in New York is not as sweet as one in Nebraska, according to recent analysis by the Tax Foundation.

That likely comes as little surprise to those of us living in cities like New York or Los Angeles, where the cost of living is traditionally higher than elsewhere. Now you can see, on a state-by-state basis, exactly what those differences look like.

California, New York, and New Jersey will sap your funds, while $100 gets you the most in areas such as Mississippi, South Dakota, and Arkansas.

The analysis comes from data compiled for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which has been measuring the price differences between states for two years now. It recently released price data for 2013, and the Tax Foundation used the numbers to adjust the value on a $100 basis.

There are major disparities between regions. For instance, a person who earns $50,000 in Mississippi would have to get a pay raise of $18,000 if he or she moved to Washington, D.C., and wanted to maintain the same standard of living.

More expensive areas also offer higher salaries, partially to make up for the difference, as employers woo the best talent. However, it doesn’t always work that way. Take a look at residents in California and Nebraska.

They earn almost identical average salaries, but when adjusted for price parity (i.e. how far a dollar goes in each area), Nebraskan real incomes are almost $10,000 higher.

This disparity has wide-reaching effects, according to the Tax Foundation. Many federal policies, such as tax brackets and public benefits, are valued in dollars, meaning that national standards have starkly different regional consequences when it comes to what people can afford.

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