Capital District Cost of Living Index
The Capital District Regional Planning Commission, in partnership with the Center for Economic Growth and the Capital Region Chamber, is pleased to provide the Cost of Living Index created by C2ER, the Council for Community and Economic Research. The Cost of Living Index is the most reliable source of region to region quarterly comparisons of key consumer costs and is referenced in the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States. The data for the Capital Region is collected quarterly by graduate students enrolled in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University at Albany. The methodology, data requirements and parameters of the data collected are consistent nationwide in order to assure comparability among the participating regions.
CDRPC publishes quarterly updates to the Cost of Living Index in its DataNews and the database of indicies over time is published here.
The Index measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for all participating places, both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan equals 100 and each participant’s index is read as a percentage of the average for all places.
The Index reflects cost differentials for professional and executive households in the top income quintile influencing the weighting structure. Homeownership costs, for example, are based on the average cost of housing that is greater than it would be if it reflected a clerical worker standard of living or average cost for shelter. Also, since state and local tax burdens vary widely among states and metropolitan areas and within metropolitan areas, it is not feasible to calculate state and local tax burdens reliably and accurately. Therefore, the Index does not incorporate taxes levied on real and intangible property, retail purchases, and income.
Using $100,000 as the baseline for after-tax income in the city/region you are comparing to the Capital Region (Albany), the calculator will tell you the comparable after-tax income in the Capital Region (Albany) based on the Composite Index of the costs of goods and services. If less than $100,000, then the cost of living is less in the Capital Region; if more, then the overall cost of living is greater. In addition to the Composite Index, there are six component indexes – Grocery Items, Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Health Care, and Miscellaneous Goods. There is an even further detailed comparative average price listing for each of the selected categories.