Muskogee ranks 6th least expensive city

Muskogee’s cost-of-living fell to 14.5 percent below the national average during the 1st Quarter 2011, according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index.  For the 1st Quarter 2010, Muskogee ranked 13.6 percent below the national average.

The index is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating area.

Every quarter, Muskogee Port Authority staff price everything from a gallon of milk to a t-bone steak to rent on a 4-bedroom home.  This information is passed onto C2ER, a community and economic research council, which receives pricing information from communities throughout the nation.  

The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is the most reliable source of city-to-city comparisons of key consumer costs available anywhere. ACCRA COLI data is recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Our data and methodology are described in detail and completely transparent to users. Both data and methodology are reviewed by an Advisory Board composed of academic researchers and government officials. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is referenced in the US Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the US. Click here to visit online.

The average of the index measuring prices of goods and services for the 312 participating communities nationwide equals 100.  Each city’s index is read as a percentage of the average for all participating cities.

For the first quarter 2010, Muskogee’s index was 86.4.  Muskogee’s index rose slightly to 86.9 for the second recorded quarter of 2010, fell to 85.6 for the third quarter 2010, and ended the year with an index of 86.0.

With the nation’s least expensive housing costs, resident dollars stretch much further in Muskogee. A typical 2,400 square-foot home costing $130,000 in Muskogee would have a price tag of:

$140,010 in St. Louis (7.7%);
$140,530 in Fort Smith (8.1%);
$152,750 in Houston (17.5%);
$153,790 in Oklahoma City (18.3%); and
$189,540 in Denver (45.8%)

In Muskogee, low costs mean residents can enjoy a much higher standard of living. To enjoy the same spending power as an “Okie” counterpart, individuals must earn:

10 percent more in Dallas;
12 percent more in Orlando;
30 percent more in Chicago;
48 percent more in Los Angeles; and
52 percent more in Boston

The cost of transportation continues to help Muskogee remain competitive nationally. For the 1st Quarter 2011, Muskogee offers the 7th lowest transportation cost in the nation; 13.2% below the national average.  Muskogee boasted the lowest transportation cost in the U.S. for both 1st and 2nd quarters 2010.

“Given Muskogee’s central location and access to air, rail, port and highway, it’s easy to recognize why Muskogee remains a viable location for businesses in the manufacturing and distribution industries.  Now, with this latest report detailing Muskogee’s transportation cost are roughly 15 percent below the national average – this gives businesses more validity as to why they should choose to locate here” said Marie Seabolt, Deputy Director of Business Development for the Port of Muskogee.

Consumer spending categories include grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous goods and services. Muskogee’s ranking in three out of the four remaining index categories was at or less than the national average for grocery items, 95.3 percent; utilities, 91.1 percent; and miscellaneous goods, 93.6 percent.  Muskogee’s ranking in the final remaining category was above the national average for health care, 104.3 percent.  

Among the communities participating in the first quarter 2011 ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the cost-of-living ranged from more than twice the national average in Manhattan, New York to almost 20 percent below the national average in Harlingen, TX.