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Colorado Springs' cost of living highest in 2 years compared with national average

December 4, 2017 Updated: December 5, 2017 at 9:00 am
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A rainbow hangs in the evening sky above downtown Colorado Springs Saturday, July 6, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Higher costs for transportation and miscellaneous goods and services pushed the cost of living in the Colorado Springs area to its highest level in two years, when compared with the national average.

The local cost of living was 95.4 percent of the national average in the July-to-September quarter, slightly higher than 95.1 percent in the second quarter and 94.8 percent in the third quarter of last year, according to a survey from the Virginia-based Council for Community and Economic Research. The third-quarter cost of living was the highest since local costs were 96.1 percent of the national average in the third quarter of 2015.

The index for transportation costs rose from 95.9 percent of the national average during the previous quarter to 99.4 percent in the third quarter, while the index measuring miscellaneous goods and services increased from 94 percent to 97.6 percent during the same period. The two components made up more than 45 percent of the overall index. Other components measuring grocery items, housing, utilities and health care all declined from the previous quarter.

"While costs are higher, at least they are not catapulting up dramatically," said Tatiana Bailey, director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum. "That is a good thing as long as Colorado Springs can stay relatively affordable. We are certainly benefiting from that now."

The council's index compares prices for 57 goods and services used or purchased by households where middle managers live in 267 metropolitan areas nationwide. It's designed to help managers compare living costs when moving.

Costs in the Denver area were up slightly from 110.7 percent of the national average in the second quarter to 112.5 percent in the third quarter. Pueblo's cost of living was unchanged at 89.6 percent of the national average during the same period. Grand Junction's cost of living was 96 percent of the national average in the third quarter, but wasn't measured in the second quarter.

McAllen, Texas, had the lowest cost of living in the third quarter at 76.7 percent of the national average, while New York had the highest at 242.9 percent of the average.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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