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Cost of Living

How does Mason City stack up when it comes to cost of living? The Chamber participates in research to assist the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) in producing the quarterly Cost of Living Index. Raw data from metropolitan and micropolitan areas across the United States is analyzed to compare the cost of living in various geographic locations.

According to 2016 data, Mason City has an index of 88.4. By comparison, New York City – the most expensive place to live – has an index of 227. The least expensive locale in the study is McAllen, Texas, with an index of 76.9.

Here’s an example of how to use this information: Assume that City A has a composite index of 98.3 and City B has a composite index of 128.5. If you live in City A and are contemplating a job offer in City B, you can calculate how much of an increase in your after-tax income is needed to maintain your present lifestyle. In this case, 30.72 percent, or about a 31 percent increase in after-tax salary to maintain the same living standard.

The table below illustrates the most recent data for area Micro-Urban communities. (100.0 represent the mean; the lower the percentage, the lower the cost-of-living.) Mason City compares very favorably to our peer Iowa communities.

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