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What is COLI?


Established in 1968, the Cost of Living Index (COLI) published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) is the foremost resource for consistent place-to-place cost comparisons. Recognized by entities like the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the U.S., the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, Bankrate.com, Brookings Institute and others, COLI data is highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability. Additionally, the data is routinely cited by media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Kiplingers. Our transparent methodology, thoroughly described for user understanding, undergoes regular review by an Advisory Board comprising academic researchers and government officials.

COLI is the only local level cost of living index available for the US. Items on which the Index is based have been carefully chosen to reflect the different categories of consumer expenditures. Weights assigned to relative costs are based on government survey data on expenditure patterns for professional and executive households. All items are priced in each place at a specified time and according to standardized specifications. Specifications apply across all 60 goods and services, which are organized into six categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous. Data is accessible at the metropolitan statistical area (MSA), county, and state levels.

To quickly compare area prices, click here.

If you want to embed COLI into your website, click here.

For a list of our products, click here.

For more information on our methodology, you can find our COLI manual here.