Nov 15, 2023 - Business

Living in Richmond is cheaper than the national average

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

The cost of living in Richmond is cheaper than the national average, per a new analysis.

Why it matters: Richmond's comparatively low cost of living can translate into real savings — more than $115,000 a year — compared to the national average, according to the Greater Richmond Partnership, the metro area's economic development agency.

Driving the news: Each quarter, the national nonprofit 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."

  • The result: a snapshot in time useful for comparing relative costs across cities.

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 of living is higher than average. Under 100 means lower than average.

By the numbers: Richmond's cost-of-living index value, as of the third quarter of 2023 is 94.9.

  • Relatively speaking, Richmond's most expensive category was groceries (100.4), and its least expensive was housing (84.1).
  • (It's a shocker, we know.)

Worth noting: The Council's index covers the city of Richmond only, not the metro area.

The big picture: Stuff tends to be more expensive in U.S. cities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as compared to inland areas.

  • There are some exceptions, however — mostly in the mid- and south Atlantic.

Among cities with more than 100,000 residents, Honolulu (179.2), San Jose (171.3) and San Francisco (169.5) have the country's highest relative cost of living as of Q3 2023.

  • Residents of McAllen, Texas (80.2); Augusta, Georgia (82.8); and Amarillo, Texas (84.4) are enjoying the lowest cost of living.

The bottom line: Looking to cut costs? Consider a move — especially if you're still working remotely and can carry a New York salary to, say, Amarillo.

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