May 20, 2014

Dare County’s cost of living 8.7%  above the national average

Among the 288 urban areas that participated in the First Quarter 2014 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan) NY to almost 19 percent below the national average in Norman, OK.   Dare County was reported at 108.7.

The Cost of Living Index is a national report and published quarterly by the  C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research.  Local data is collected locally by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area.

The composite index is based on six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

Dare County’s Data for the First Quarter 2014 Showed:

Grocery Items (13.48%)  105.0
Housing (26.05%)  112.2
Utilities (9.95%)   99.6
Transportation (12.63%)  105.9
Health Care (4.89%) 102.3
Misc. Goods and Services (33.01%)  112.1
Composite Index (100%) 108.7

In comparison, other areas in NC were Asheville at 105.7, Greenville at 99.2, Raleigh at 94.6, Wilmington at 99.4, and Winston Salem at 88.8.  Charleston, SC came in at 110.3, Hilton Head Island, SC at 105.3, Pittsburgh, PA at 118.8, Richmond, VA at 100.8, Virginia Beach, VA at 100.5, and Newark, NJ at 128.1

The most expensive places to live in the U.S. were:

New York (Manhattan) NY   220.3
Honolulu HI    175.1
San Francisco CA   163.9
New York (Brooklyn) NY    163.4
Hilo HI  150.6
San Jose CA  148.3
Orange County CA   143.9
Washington DC  139.6
Oakland CA   137.6
Fairbanks AK   136.4

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) produces the Cost of Living Index to provide a useful and accurate measure of living cost differences among urban areas. Items on which the Index is based have been carefully chosen to reflect the different categories of consumer expenditures. Weights assigned to relative costs are based on government survey data on expenditure patterns for professional and executive households in the top income quintile. All items are priced in each place at a specified time and according to standardized specifications.

Because the number of items priced is limited, it is not valid to treat percentage differences between areas as exact measures. Since judgment sampling is used in this survey, no confidence interval can be determined. Small differences, however, should not be construed as significant, or even as indicating correctly which area is the more expensive.

Areas included in the survey are those where organizations have volunteered to participate.  Data for the Outer Banks is collected by the staff of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and submitted to the Council for Community and Economic Research for analysis. 

For more information about the report, contact visit C2ER online at or call 703-522-4980. For other economic data reports on the Outer Banks, visit or call (252)441-8144, ext. 225.

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