Nov 20, 2023 - Business

How much it costs to live in Cleveland

Cost-of-living index in Cleveland, Q3 2023
Data: The Council for Community and Economic Research; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Cleveland may have its faults, but part of its appeal remains just how inexpensive it is to live here.

Why it matters: Cleveland's low cost of living makes it an attractive place for residents and companies who want big market amenities — like three major sports teams and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — without the price tag.

Driving the news: Each quarter, the Council for Community and Economic Research assembles a cost-of-living index designed to measure "regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services."

  • That includes housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, and is based on spending by "professional and managerial households in the top income quintile."

How it works: An index value of 100 represents the national average cost of living across 269 cities.

  • If a city has a value over 100, its cost is higher than average. Under 100 is lower than average.
  • The index only applies to city limits, not entire metro areas.

By the numbers: Cleveland's value, as of 2023's third quarter, is 89.8.

  • Our most expensive category was utilities (104.2), and our least expensive was housing (76.3).
Cost-of-living index, Q3 2023
Data: The Council for Community and Economic Research; Note: Map only shows urban areas with more than 100,000 people; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The big picture: Goods and services tend to be more pricey in cities along the coasts, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • Among cities with more than 100,000 residents, Honolulu (179.2), San Jose (171.3) and San Francisco (169.5) had the country's highest relative cost of living.
  • McAllen, Texas (80.2); Augusta, Georgia (82.8); and Amarillo, Texas (84.4) had the lowest.

Of note: Because the list of participating cities changes each quarter, the cost-of-living index can't be used to measure inflation — but other indicators suggest that higher prices are certainly sticking around.

💭 Troy's thought bubble: I moved to Cleveland from Rochester, New York, 10 years ago.

  • The main appeal was the ability to earn more money in a bigger market with the same low cost of living.

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