How Much is $100 Worth in Your State?

The following map provided by the Tax Foundation (based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis) “shows the real value of $100 in each state. Prices for the same goods are often much cheaper in states like Missouri or Ohio than they are in states like New York or California. As a result, the same amount of cash can buy you comparatively more in a low-price state than in a high-price state…Using [BEA] data, we have adjusted the value of $100 to show how much it buys you in each state.”

Economist Alan Cole summarizes,

The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi ($115.34), Arkansas ($114.29), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.64), and West Virginia ($112.49). In contrast, $100 is effectively worth the least in the District of Columbia ($84.67), Hawaii ($85.62), New York ($86.43), New Jersey ($87.34), and California ($88.97)…Regional price differences are strikingly large; real purchasing power is 36 percent greater in Mississippi than it is in the District of Columbia. In other words, by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after-tax income in Mississippi, you would have to have after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.

Case in point, when adjusted for purchasing power, Nebraskan real income exceeds that of Californians:

Cole concludes,

Many policies – like minimum wage, public benefits, and tax brackets – are denominated in dollars. But with different price levels in each state, the amounts aren’t equivalent in purchasing power. This has some unexpected consequences; people in high price-level states like New Jersey will often pay more in federal taxes without feeling particularly rich.