A new study by the Tax Foundation looked at how far $100 will go in every state and Washington, D.C. and found that your dollar goes farther in South Carolina than most other states. On average, $100 will buy you $110.50 worth of goods in South Carolina.
“I do think that we’re really lucky here,” says Mary Parnell of Columbia. “The cost of living is good. I mean, I have friends that live in California and friends that live in New York and when I see where they live compared to what I have here in Columbia, it just doesn’t even come close.”
The study looks at everything from housing to food and clothing.
Mississippi came out with the best buying power at $115.21, while Washington, D.C. came out worst, where $100 will buy only $84.96 worth.
University of South Carolina economist John McDermott says there are three reasons for the difference between states.
1. Taxes. Taxes differ a great deal between states, and taxes like the one on gasoline play a part in how far your dollar will go.
2. Regulations. Those also vary between states, and McDermott says regulation levels also affect business costs. For example, because of its smog regulations, gasoline is more expensive to blend in California.
3. Urbanization. Urban areas with dense populations have much higher housing costs. South Carolina’s cities are small compared to places like New York City and Chicago, while South Carolina has lots of rural and suburban areas, where housing is less expensive. That’s one reason Washington, D.C. scored lowest—it’s all urban.
You can see the entire report here.