Columbia cost of living lower than national average

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COLUMBIA – It's cheaper to live in Columbia than many other places.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce said its new study shows the cost of living in town was 7.1 percent below the national average.

The chamber got the numbers from the the ACCRA Cost of Living Index provided by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Chamber President Matt McCormick said the data proves Columbia is continuously a great place to live.

"It's an affordable place to live and the amities that we have here from top level health care, the arts, sporting events and shopping," he said. "As we always say, it's a great place to live, learn, work and play."

Carter Gerling who owns a home in Columbia and rents out some of the rooms said the lower costs benefit both students and businesses.

"I know what I can charge and still retain tenants, which are normally students," he said. "And those students don't have to bare the burden of paying super expensive housing while taking classes."

Columbia got a composite figure 92.9 in average cost of living last year. That means what would cost $100 in the average U.S. city only costs $92.90 in Columbia.

The Composite Index is based on six categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous good and services, such as auto maintenance, fast food and clothing.

Columbia figures for these areas are:

  • Grocery: 96.6
  • Housing 81.5
  • Utilities: 99.6
  • Transportation: 91.4
  • Health care: 101.5
  • Miscellaneous goods and services: 98.7

The index does not measure inflation or price change over time. Items were priced at a specified time and according to standardized specifications.

McCormick said Columbia's data helps make the city more attractive.

"We're seeing some good growth and expansion," he said.

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