How Much Does $100 Really Buy in Your State?
Mississippi residents are about 15 percent richer than their incomes suggest, at least for the purposes of day-to-day living expenses.
That's one way to look at a state-by-state analysis released last week by the nonprofit Tax Foundation. The results map out how much $100 buys in each state and the District of Columbia.
The same goods are often cheaper in some states and more expensive in others. Mississippi is where $100 buys you the most stuff. Washington, D.C., is where $100 gives you the least bang for your buck.
The states where $100 is worth the most are:
- Mississippi ($115.21)
- Arkansas ($114.29)
- South Dakota ($114.16)
- Alabama ($114.03)
- West Virginia ($113.12)
- District of Columbia ($84.96)
- Hawaii ($86.06)
- New York ($86.73)
- New Jersey ($87.34)
- California ($89.05)
The foundation offers a summary of the results:
Income also impacts the results, because states with higher income generally have higher prices, the foundation notes. However, those higher incomes effectively make up for those states' lower purchasing power. The Tax Foundation doesn't specify whether state or local sales taxes were taken into consideration in its rankings. (According to the foundation's 2015 data, combined state and average local sales taxes range from a high of 9.45 percent in Tennessee down to zero in about a half-dozen states that don't tax sales.)
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.
To view the Tax Foundation's map of the real value of $100, click here. To view its map of sales taxes, click here.
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