Missouri’s cost of living index for the first quarter of 2020 was 88.3, making it the sixth-lowest in the nation, according to a report from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. The report says Missouri has ranked among the country’s 10 least-expensive states for the past 13 quarters.
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 were Hawaii (197.6), the District of Columbia (160.7) and New York (155.9). The least expensive were Mississippi (84.7), Kansas (86.5) and Oklahoma (86.7).
All six of the Missouri metro areas measured had a composite index below the national average. Their scores range from a low of 80.4 (Joplin) to a high of 95.4 (Kansas City).
Despite Missouri’s overall low cost of living, some metro areas had measures higher than the national average for some categories. For instance, the health care index was higher than the national average in Columbia (100.7) and Kansas City (106.3).
Another category in which Missouri metro areas were higher than the 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 104.5.
Housing was the only category in which all of Missouri’s metro areas are lower than the national average index.