The Cost of Living: How Far Does $100 Go in Your State?
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The Cost of Living: How Far Does $100 Go in Your State?

MC Escher/Wikimedia/The Fiscal Times

You already know that the cost of living varies — sometimes drastically — depending on where you live, but a new Tax Foundation analysis shows exactly how big an impact such variations can have.

The study used data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to determine the value of $100 relative to its national average value.

The report found that $100 has the highest relative value in Mississippi, where it would buy you goods that would cost $116.01 at the national average price level. That means that when it comes to day-to-day living, Mississippians are 16 percent wealthier than the dollar value of their incomes, and 37 percent wealthier than residents of Hawaii, where $100 is worth the least.

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Money goes second-furthest in Alabama, where $100 is worth $115.21. Rounding out the top five states are Arkansas ($114.42), South Dakota ($113.38) and Kentucky ($112.87).

By comparison, a consumer in Hawaii with $100 to spend would only be able to purchase $84.18 with of goods at a national average price. The study found that $100 is worth the second least in the District of Columbia ($85.47), followed by New York ($86.73), New Jersey and California (both $88.18)

Usually (but not always), the report authors note, residents in places with higher price levels also have higher income levels. “This is what labor economists call a compensating differential; the higher pay is offered in order to make up for the low purchasing power.”

Here are the states where $100 is worth the most and least:

10 States Where $100 Is Worth the Most

State  Relative Value of $100  Rank
Mississippi $116.01 1
Alabama $115.21 2
Arkansas $114.42 3
South Dakota $113.38 4
Kentucky $112.87 5
West Virginia $112.49 6
Ohio $112.11 7
Missouri $111.98 8
Tennessee $111.23 9
Oklahoma $111.23 9

10 States Where $100 Is Worth the Least 

State  Relative Value of $100  Rank
Washington $95.42 41
New Hampshire $95.24 42
Alaska $94.70 43
Massachusetts $93.55 44
Connecticut $92.00 45
Maryland $91.24 46
New Jersey $88.18 47
California $88.18 47
New York $86.73 49
District of Columbia $85.47 50
Hawaii $84.18 51

Source: Tax Foundation/U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis