In tough times, it may be worth shopping around for the lowest prices. Real personal income gains have remained low during the recovery period, millions of Americans are still out of work, and the cost of living is edging ever upward.
Inflation, as measured by the consumer price or personal consumption expenditures index, is typically the primary gauge that people use to determine if prices are increasing. However, a national average masks region price differences within the U.S. that can be staggering. We already showed the most expensive places to live in the U.S. based on research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and now, here are the least expensive:
1) Dalton, Georgia
To put it lightly, Dalton received the short end of the stick during the financial crisis. Headline unemployment in the metropolitan area peaked at 13.6 percent in January of 2011, and has only fallen to 10.2 percent as of April 2013. This compares against the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent. In addition to high unemployment, as of 2011, real per capita personal income in the region was just 65 percent of the national average.
It’s minor consolation, but data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that average prices paid by consumers for the mix of goods and services consumed in the area are about 15.3 percent below the national average. Sperling’s places the overall cost of living in Dalton at 92.8 percent of the national average. Median home cost is just 46 percent the national average, although homes are depreciating in the region. Property tax is well below the national average.