Spokane Region Maintains Low Cost of Living in Q1 2009 National Report

The cost of livng in Spokane, Wash. remains below the national average and one of the lowest among major western cities for the first quarter of 2009.
By: Greater Spokane Incorporated
 
May 14, 2009 - PRLog -- (Spokane, Wash.) - The data for the first quarter of 2009 from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) shows the Spokane region's cost of living remains below the national average and is among the lowest of major western cities.  Of the 309 urban areas participating across the United States, Spokane MSA ranked lower than participating cities in California, Oregon and Idaho; and lower than participating peer communities:  Albuquerque, NM; Boise, ID; Raleigh-Cary, NC; Tucson, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno-Sparks, NV; Seattle and Tacoma, WA; Portland, OR; Colorado Springs, CO.

Peer cities have been identified as comparable based on similarities to our region in population, employment, and key industry clusters.  The cities were first selected for Greater Spokane Incorporated's Spokane Vitals project, available here and on the Greater Spokane Incorporated website, www.greaterspokane.org.
The ACCRA Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile.  The index is based on more than 50,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Eastern Washington University's Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis and Greater Spokane Incorporated partner to collect the data representing Spokane County.

The composite index is based on six components:  housing; utilities; grocery items; transportation; health care; and miscellaneous goods and services.  Weights assigned to relative costs are based on government survey data on expenditure patterns for midmanagement households.  Items are priced in all locations at a specified time and according to standardized specifications.  In a new format that began in the fourth quarter of 2007, C2ER publishes an annual unweighted average of data accumulated from three first quarter pricing periods throughout the year.

Spokane Metropolitan Statistical Area's composite index for Q1 2009 is 91.2, 8.8% lower than the national average. This number represents a decrease from the Q1 2008 composite index of 92.5.

While Spokane's health care costs were 8.3% higher than the national average, housing and utility costs were substantially below average.  Housing costs were 20.4% below the national average, and utilities 12.3% less.  Grocery items, transportation and miscellaneous goods and services all ranked 3-4% less than the national average.

For more on how Spokane compared to other cities in the analysis, view this chart and use the online calculator which compares cost of living in Spokane to 308 other urban areas. Read more on the regional economy in the Business Barometer.

About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated is committed to accelerating regional economic prosperity throughout the Spokane region.  Your Regional Chamber and EDC, GSI is funded by more than 1500 private-sector member investors; Washington State; Spokane County; and the cities of Spokane; Spokane Valley; Liberty Lake; Cheney; Airway Heights; Medical Lake; Newport and Millwood.  For more information, visit www.greaterspokane.org or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1-800-SPOKANE.

About the EWU Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis
The Eastern Washington University Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis was established in 2002 to provide interdisciplinary research in social, economic and public policy questions for the region EWU serves.  In addition to its work on the Spokane International Airport economic impact analysis, the Institute also regularly publishes research monographs which are distributed to elected officials, community groups, opinion makers, economic development groups and others who might find the data useful for planning, providing services and for other purposes. For more information, visit http://www.ewu.edu/x4901.xml.

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Greater Spokane Inc is committed to accelerating regional economic prosperity throughout region.
We concentrate on the five key areas of economic & workforce development, public policy, business resources, & marketing and communications.
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