Friday, August 22, 2014

How Far $100 Goes In Each State

The Tax Foundation has created the map below which shows the purchasing power of the dollar across the states, relative to the national average. Almost smack in the middle is Illinois. Purchasing power is greatest in Mississippi, where $100 will buy you a quantity of goods that on average would cost $115.734.

On the other extreme, $100 in purchases in Hawaii gets you only a quantity of goods that would cost on average $85.32.

Some of the other states where  $100 buys  much more in goods compared to the national average are : Arkansas ($114.16), Alabama ($113.51), Missouri ($113.51) and South Dakota ($113.38).

The states where $100 has low purchasing power are: Washington, D.C. ($84.60), New York ($86.66), New Jersey ($87.64), and California ($88.57).


  1. We moved from California to South Carolina six months ago and haven't found our dollars buying any more here generally; some things seem much higher, especially food, some of which may be explained by the labels: "Grown in California".

  2. One CRUCIAL factor is not included in this $100 comparison by state -- personal income tax. BLS and the Tax Foundation have no way to calculate that in the formula, because the tax differs dramatically depending on what level of income you have.

    For instance, while 7 states have zero income tax, uber-progressive (well progressive EXCEPT about Uber) California has a personal income tax that's, well, uber progressive -- varying from NEGATIVE (cash credits) to 13.3% -- by FAR the highest in the nation -- impossible to calculate in the formula.

    Also ignored as impossible to calculate are fees, fines, and other state and local "non-purchase" levies by government. Fee-crazy California again "excels" in this area.

    Hence the hypothetical $100 is AFTER-tax dollars. Other taxes included in a purchase (sales, excise, etc) ARE included in the comparison, but income tax is not. The REAL total difference between the states is often significantly higher as a result, but not included in this study.