The cost to live in Carroll County is nearly 10 percent lower than the national average, according to the Carroll Area Development Corporation and The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Carroll County’s Cost of Living Index for the third quarter of 2012 stood at 90.2. An index of 100 is average.
The index is based on six factors – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services. Carroll Area Development Corporation staff collects prices of 60 goods and services each quarter.
The corporation released the figures and an accompanying report Tuesday at a noon meeting at the Carrollton Centre. It will use the data in recruiting more business to the Carroll area and encouraging existing businesses to maintain or expand operations here.
The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non‐consumer expenditures. It is the most reliable source of city-to-city comparisons of key consumer costs available anywhere, local officials said.
Cost-of-living data is recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.
New to the Cost of Living Index is the Small Cities Program, which allows cities smaller than 50,000 population the ability to participate.
“We have been looking for a reliable way to report this data for many years,” said Jim Gossett, executive director for the development corporation.
Carroll County’s Cost of Living Index is fourth-lowest of 14 small communities in the pilot program.
“We are often asked how Carroll County’s cost of living compares to other areas of the country,” Gossett said. “This is a credible way to represent the benefits of living and working in Carroll County.”
Among the 304 urban areas that participated in the 3rd quarter 2012 Cost of Living Index, the most expensive urban area was the Manhattan borough of New York with an index of 220.6. The least expensive urban area was Harlingen, Texas, with an index of 79.5.
Other rates were as follows: Des Moines, 90.8; Omaha, Neb., 89.4; Kansas City, 100.2; Chicago, 118.6; Denver, 105.1; and Minneapolis, 110.8.