Next time you get the feeling that it costs a lot to live in Colorado Springs, comfort yourself with this fact: It could be worse.

Last year, the cost of living in the Colorado Springs area was 3.9 percent below the national average, according to a survey from the Council for Community and Economic Research. That's slightly better than 2012, when the figure for the was 3.7 percent below the national average - the highest since 2004.

Tom Binnings, a senior partner in Summit Economics LLC, a local economic research and consulting firm, said the small decline in the index from 2012 to 2013 comes as local wages are also decreasing slightly, though the two trends likely are not related.

The index for 2013 didn't change much because half of the six components were lower and the other three were higher from a year earlier, when compared with the national average. Components measuring grocery items, transportation and miscellaneous goods and services were lower, while components measuring housing, utilities and health care were higher.

The index doesn't measure inflation. Instead, it compares prices in more than 300 metropolitan areas for 57 goods and services used or purchased by households where middle managers live. It's designed to help managers compare living costs when moving to another city.

Elsewhere in Colorado, living costs were 4.2 percent above the national average in the Denver area, but 3.2 percent below the average in the Grand Junction area and 16.6 percent below the average in the Pueblo area, the nation's second-lowest after Harlingen, Texas.


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