703.522.4982 info@coli.org
  Total:   $

Call for Data Collectors

The Cost of Living Index relies on volunteers like you.

Become a Contributor

2020 Annual Average Cost of Living Index Release


Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2007, C2ER has annually published an unweighted average of prices accumulated from the previous three quarters. This analysis uses average prices submitted for the first three quarters of 2020.

Among the 269 urban areas that participated in the 2020 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), NY, to almost 25 percent below the national average in Harlingen, TX.

The Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research. 

The Ten Most and Least Expensive Urban Areas
in the Cost of Living Index (COLI)

Year-End Review of Three Quarters in 2020

National Average for 269 Urban Areas = 100

 Most Expensive  Least Expensive
Ranking Urban Areas COL Index Ranking Urban Areas COL Index
1 New York (Manhattan) NY 244.7 1 Harlingen TX 75.0
2 Honolulu HI 198.6 2 Kalamazoo MI 77.8
3 San Francisco CA 194.0 3 McAllen TX 78.1
4 New York (Brooklyn) NY 178.8 4 Pittsburg KS 80.6
5 Washington DC 159.0 5 Amarillo TX 80.7
6 Seattle WA 156.8 6 Muskogee OK 80.8
7 Oakland CA 154.7 7 Richmond IN 80.9
8 Orange County CA 150.3 8 Tupelo MS 81.0
9 Boston MA 150.0 9 Joplin MO 81.2
10 Arlington VA 149.8 10 Conway AR 82.5

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences in the index numbers should not be interpreted as significant.

The composite index is based on six components: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

Full media release is available here.