Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire August 10, 2016.
A dollar isn’t always a dollar. In fact, it can equal a lot less depending on where you’re spending it, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The Bureau recently revealed what $100 can buy, state by state because prices–even for a cup of coffee — can fluctuate vastly between and within state borders. For example, buying a gallon of regular gas will cost you $2.74 in Hawaii, versus $1.82 in South Carolina. And if you’re living in Connecticut, you are probably paying twice more for electricity than a person living in Tennessee. According to the report, “a dollar can swing by more than 30 percent in terms of what it can buy,” reported The New York Times. Looking at rent, the “real value” of $100 for housing ranges from about $63 in Hawaii to $160 in Arkansas.
So what’s your money worth? When you break it down, $100 in Hawaii is actually just only $85.60, compared to the national average. But in Mississippi, that same $100 will buy you $115.30 worth of goods and services based on the national average. Here are more $100 values per state: Arkansas ($114.30), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.60), and Kentucky ($112.70).
So where does your dollar equal the least? Well $100 in DC buys you just $84.70 worth of stuff, followed by Hawaii, New York ($86.40), New Jersey ($87.30), California ($89), and Maryland ($90.70).
In general, experts say incomes correlate to prices, but of course, that’s not always true. “Some states are home to high incomes and low prices, a valuable combination for working residents,” reported the Times, and vice versa. The Bureau also released a list of places where incomes are most valuable. At the top of the list is North Dakota where, per capita, incomes have the most purchasing power–roughly $56,000. That state is followed by D.C., at $54,000; Wyoming, $52,000; Massachusetts, $50,000; and Nebraska at $48,000. According to the Times, “The states where incomes fall shortest are Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, and Hawaii, all of them home to real per capita personal incomes of $36,000, give or take a few hundred dollars.”