If you’ve traveled to New York or San Francisco recently, you’ve likely noticed the price of your Starbucks order change from terminal to terminal. The difference is due to price level variation throughout the United States.The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released data detailing the disparities in spending power across metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of each state for calendar year 2021. Using the data, we can compare how much $100 buys across the country.
The differences can be large and they have significant implications for the relative impact of economic and tax policies across the United States. $100 tends to buy the least in large cities in the Northeast, California, and the Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, $100 goes the furthest in rural areas in the Southeast and Midwest. Prices can vary significantly within states too—$100 in California tends to buy $89.45 worth of goods on average, but in the Los Angeles area, $100 can purchase about $87.86 worth of goods and services, while rural Californians can purchase $99.15 worth.