The Shreveport-Bossier and the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) rank as two of the least expensive places to live in Louisiana, according to the Cost of Living Index for the first quarter of 2015.
Shreveport-Bossier tied with Hammond as the most affordable MSA with 90.5 percent of the national average. Monroe has a cost of living of 94.0 percent of the national average.
The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services. It is based on more than 90,000 prices collected during the same period of time by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and universities in 265 participating urban areas. NLEP gathers the pricing information for the Shreveport-Bossier MSA, and the ULM Center for Business and Economic Research gathers the data for the Monroe MSA. The information is compiled into a composite index, which is based on six weighted categories – grocery items (13.96%), housing (27.8%), utilities (10.23%), transportation (12.12%), health care (4.41%) and miscellaneous goods and services (31.48%).
“North Louisiana’s cost of living has historically been lower than the national average, which represents an advantage for both employers and residents in our communities,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, NLEP President. “Residents can afford a better quality of life. Also, our lower cost of living allows companies to retain and recruit qualified workers.”
The cost of utilities represents the lowest cost category at 78.9 percent for the Shreveport-Bossier MSA, which includes all of Caddo, Bossier, De Soto and Webster Parishes. Housing costs is the next most affordable category at 86.3 percent; health care represents 87.4 percent; miscellaneous goods and services at 93.4 percent; grocery costs are 96.4 percent; and transportation costs are 97.0 percent.
In the Monroe MSA, utility costs represent the least expensive category at 81.8 percent of the national average. The Monroe MSA includes all of Ouachita and Union Parishes. The next lowest cost category is transportation at 89.4 percent; followed by health care at 91.4 percent; housing represents 94.0 percent; grocery is 97.5 percent and miscellaneous goods and services total 98.5 percent of the national average. A point of interest for families in Monroe- the area ranks as the fourth least expensive place for a Saturday night movie ticket at $7.25 a ticket, as compared to the most expensive movie ticket in Stamford, CT which costs $14.75.
The Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research. NLEP offers a Cost of Living calculator on our website, nlep.org. Go to the Regional Data Center, and click Cost of Living. The calculator allows you to determine the level of income you would need to move to Shreveport or Monroe and maintain your current standard of living. For example, if you earned $50,000 in New York City, you would only need to earn $20,491 in Shreveport, LA and $21, 460 in Monroe, LA to have a comparable lifestyle.
About North Louisiana Economic Partnership
North Louisiana Economic Partnership, an Accredited Economic Development Organization, provides professional economic development services to the 14 parish region of North Louisiana, including lead generation and prospect management. The organization also represents the interests of North Louisiana with a unified voice and as a single point of contact. It acts as a catalyst, a convener, and a connector in the region to ensure that North Louisiana’s economic development potential is realized. Its vision is for North Louisiana to be a thriving region-a destination for high quality talent, innovative companies, and global investment.