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Fascinating map reveals the true value of $100 in each state

Your purchasing power can swing by as much as 30% from state to state.

Fascinating map reveals the true value of $100 in each state
Map showing the value of $100 in each state. | Image by TAX FOUNDATION.

With the cost of living in large cities on the rise, the value of a dollar in the United States increasingly depends on where you spend it. For decades, cost of living indices have attempted to benchmark how far money goes, but their specificity often fails to offer a comprehensive view or easy browsing by location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is “worth" in each state. Although this state-by-state approach simplifies some differences—for example, $100 stretches further in Los Angeles than in Fresno—it still highlights where your money goes further.

While the map might confirm some assumptions, it brilliantly simplifies the geographic cost of living. For a beach lifestyle without California's high costs, consider Florida, where purchasing power is about average for the US. In a "Brewster's Millions"-type scenario, spending quickly in Hawaii, D.C., or New York is easy, you'll burn through your money in no time. If stretching your dollar matters, Mississippi offers a 16.1% higher purchasing power than the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.

Map showing the value of $100 in each state.
Image by Tax Foundation. | Map showing the value of $100 in each state.



This article originally appeared on 08.17.17

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