Columbia's living costs rank below national average

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce's study on living costs revealed that Columbia ranks 6.4 percent below the national average.

The chamber gathers prices for the Council of Community and Economic Research (C2ER) three times a year. C2ER uses the data to produce cost of living indexes in urban areas.

The chamber reported that for the first quarter of 2015 Columbia finished with a 93.6 index figure. The figure refers to $100 worth of goods purchased in the city.

Chamber President Matt McCormick said Columbia has always ranged below average and the new numbers are good for residents and tourists.

"We have a good solid cost of living, it's not too low and it's not too high and it's staying below that average," McCormick said. "The cost of our health care, the cost of living, things like that is a real draw for people whenever they're taking a look at where do they want to live and where do they want to do business."

The index is weighted through six categories: grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

The report explains that inflation and price change over time are not taken into consideration when calculating the cost of living index.

The lowest cost of living index was reported in McAllen, TX with a 77.2 index and the highest index was Manhattan, NY with an index of 223.7.