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Analyzing Essential Items in Different Cities Using COLI Historical Data

Analyzing Essential Items in Different Cities Using COLI Historical Data

COLI has been collecting prices for over 60 goods and services since 1968 and providing historical data since the 1990s. Historical data allows COLI users to compare quarterly price changes. We selected three essential items – eggs, gasoline, and apartment rent – in Los Angeles, CA, Manhattan, NY, and Cincinnati, OH, and compared their price differences between Quarter 2 of 2023 and Quarter 2 of 1998. Eggs are great sources of protein – nutrient-dense and low in both cost and calories; gasoline propels vehicles that get us almost everywhere; and renting an apartment is a common way of living for Americans, in which 52% of Americans live in rental apartment. (Just a reminder, COLI is not an indicator for inflation comparison).

Eggs: The average price for a dozen grade A large eggs has increased significantly over the past 25 years. In Cincinnati, OH, the price has increased 303%, followed by 173.5% for Los Angeles, and 161.8% for Manhattan, NY. The price for a dozen eggs has more than doubled in all three cities, with Cincinnati experiencing the largest increase! Remember how crazy the prices for eggs were back in early 2023?!

Gasoline: For gas, C2ER collects prices for one-gallon regular unleaded, national brand, with all taxes included. Los Angeles has seen the largest average price increase at 326%, followed by Manhattan NY at 209%, and a 208% increase for Cincinnati. The skyrocketing increase in gas prices across all cities reflects broader trends in oil markets, energy policies, and geopolitical shifts.

Apartment rent: COLI collects prices for unfurnished two-bedroom apartments, excluding all utilities except water. Los Angeles has the largest average increase at 305%, followed by Cincinnati at 113% and Manhattan NY at 71%. Interestingly, Manhattan has the most stable apartment price increase among our three city selections (though its rent is still absurdly high!) Los Angeles, on the other hand, has seen the largest increase, which could possibly be due to higher demand and increasing city development.

If you are interested in comparing more items that COLI collects, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to our historical data index!