When it comes to personal income in the U.S. a new study revealed just how much of a gap exists, as experts analyzed the true value of $100. While some people believe that it is a flat number, others believe that it is a figure that varies by region. The logic that a livable wage depends on where you are in the U.S. is by far the most sustainable thought process. Naturally, there are going to be places where the cost of living is higher, and as result, an individual’s personal income will then not go as far as it will in places where the cost of living is less.
Researchers put this theory to the test by looking at the value of $100 in each state throughout the U.S. While some of the findings were not that exciting, others were pretty interesting. For example, the research found that some of the least expensive places to live, or the places where $100 would go the furthest were Mississippi, Arkansas, or Alabama all measuring with values of at least $114.03.
The study measured what the actual value of $100 would be by comparing it to economic statistics from 2013, as well as a host of other financial factors – like cost of living or cost of goods. The states at the top of the list didn’t surprise many people, though. Typically, these were the states which had a high density of rural communities and featured some of the lowest cost of living statistics in the entire country.
Depending on the outlook though the list of states, which the dollar, or in this case $100 went the shortest distance – were predictably states with higher, or even the highest cost of living. For example, the list was led by Hawaii, but New York and California also made the top end of the list – for all having $100 values of $89.05 or less. In the District of Columbia, the value of $100 was a measly $84.96.
Illinois came the closest to having the perfectly valued $100, which may or may not be a good thing. In this case, the further you can distance yourself from $100 on the high end – the better your state is doing. In fact, the outlook is pretty grim, according to the Tax Foundation. They pointed out that with this information in hand, an individual’s income goes significantly further in some places – rather than other places where the cost of living has inflated.
They pointed out that, “In other words: by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after tax income in Mississippi, you would have to have after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.” This study reveals the overall income gap that exists in the U.S. right now, and shows just how much work still has to be done, and how creative any solution that comes along will have to be – if it is really going to attack the problem and create positive, long-term change.