Missouri’s cost of living index for 2019 was 88.5, making it the fifth-lowest in the nation, according to a report by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. The report says Missouri has ranked among the country’s 10 least-expensive states for the past 12 years.
The index is calculated using six categories: food, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. The national average index is always 100.
The most expensive states in 2019 were Hawaii (191.8), District of Columbia (159), and California (137.7). The least expensive were Mississippi (84.8), Oklahoma (86.5), and Arkansas (87.1).
All six of the Missouri metro areas measured had a composite index below the national average in 2019. Their scores ranged from a low of 81.6 (Joplin) to a high of 95.5 (Kansas City).
Despite Missouri’s overall low cost of living, some metro areas had measures higher than the national average for some categories in 2019. For instance, the health care index was higher than the national average in Columbia (102.5) and Kansas City (105.9).
Another category in which Missouri metro areas were higher than national average category was utilities. Despite being the city with the lowest cost of living index in the state, Joplin had the highest index for utilities, at 104.8. That was a significant decrease from 2017, when it was 128.9.
Housing was the only category in which all of Missouri’s metro areas were lower than the national average index.
Use to the interactive graphic above to compare the annual average index for each category by cities for the period between 2008 and 2019.