Nov 21, 2023 - News

Cost of living in Detroit is higher than national average

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

Detroit is a pricier place to live than the national average and several other Midwestern cities, a new analysis shows.

Why it matters: The data is a dose of reality for those who consider Detroit an affordable place to live.

Driving the news: Each quarter, the national 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. It's 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 U.S. cities.

  • The index applies within the city limits.

By the numbers: Detroit's value, as of 2023's third quarter: 102.4.

  • That's higher than Columbus (92.4), Cleveland (89.8) and Indianapolis (91.5), but lower than Chicago (113.4).
  • Our most expensive category was health care (108.7), and the least expensive was utilities (91.4).

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 as of Q3 2023.
  • If Manhattan were its own city, it would hold the top spot at 227.8.

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 higher prices are certainly sticking around.

Cost-of-living index, Q3 2023
Data: Council for Community and Economic Research; Note: Map only shows urban areas with more than 100,000 people; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
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