Columbia cost of living 7.5% lower than national average

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COLUMBIA – The cost of living in Columbia remains lower than the national average this year.

Numbers released Thursday show that living costs in Columbia are 7.5% less than the national average. That’s according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s ACCRA Cost of Living Index.

The index shows Columbia received a composite index figure of 92.5 for the second quarter of 2016, meaning that $100 worth of goods in an average U.S. city only cost $92.50 in Columbia during that time.

President of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Matt McCormick said Columbia has consistently remained under that $100 average.

“What we constantly have is a lower than national average cost of living,” McCormick said. “What that shows for the community is that it’s a great place, it’s an affordable place to live, it’s an affordable place to be.”

A composite index figure is determined quarterly and is measured using six different components. These components include grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

McCormick explained that it is hard to compare cost of living from quarter to quarter because different things are measured each time.

For example, he said during one quarter an oil change price may be used to measure the costs of goods and services, and the next quarter may use the price of a transmission fluid change instead.

McCormick said a lower cost of living is important to businesses looking to move to Columbia.

“That means a lot to businesses whenever they’re looking at moving here or looking at expanding, because not only do they move here, not only does the business come here, but they also bring people with them,” McCormick said.

Columbia’s index figure in 2015 was 97.5, and in 2014 it was 94.9.