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The 8 Least Expensive Places to Live in the United States

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Author Topic: The 8 Least Expensive Places to Live in the United States  (Read 143 times)
Mandy Esser
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« on: March 26, 2014, 09:55:53 pm »

The 8 Least Expensive Places to Live in the United States
Dan Ritter | + More
October 12, 2013
Page 2 of 9


1. Dalton, Georgia

Dalton, in northwest Georgia, received the short end of the stick during the financial crisis. The city sits at the heart of its namesake Metropolitan Statistical Area, and headline unemployment in the region peaked at 15.6 percent in November 2010, one of the highest rates recorded in the wake of the crisis. And unemployment is still high, declining to just 10.3 percent in August.

In addition to high unemployment, real per capita income in the region was just 65 percent of the national average in 2011. Reduced income means reduced spending, a self-reinforcing cycle that slows down overall economic activity.

It’s no consolation, but this reduced activity has helped drive down prices in the region. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that average prices paid by consumers for a standard mix of goods and services consumed in the area are about 15.3 percent below the national average. Sperling’s, a regional data analysis service, places the overall cost of living in Dalton at 92.8 percent of the national average. Median home cost is just 46 percent of the national average, although home value is depreciating in the region. Property tax is well below the national average.

The Living Wage Calculator — a tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — calculates that the living wage in Dalton is $8.44 per hour for one adult and $16.11 for two adults and one child. This compares against a required living wage of $9.23 per hour for one adult and $17.16 per hour for two adults and one child for Georgia as a whole. Required after-tax income to meet cost-of-living expenses in Dalton is $1,276 per month.

It’s worth pointing out that the living wage for one adult is still higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
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