Denver, CO (PRWEB) September 24, 2006
A nationally recognized policy analysis company has designed a free tool for comparing current cost of living differences in all 50 states. The tool, created by Denver-based Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc. (APA) provides users with an easy-to-use index that can also help compare the purchasing power of salaries across states.
According to APA Vice President Dr. Douglas Rose, such a comparison can help state governments, school districts, employees, and private companies get a better idea of how their salaries truly stack up. "This tool recognizes that equal salaries do not often mean an equal standard of living," Rose said. "If an employee such as a teacher is paid near the national average salary for their experience level but lives in a state with a higher cost of living, that employee might have less overall purchasing power than many of his or her peers across the country," he added.
The APA analysis -- which is composed of two parts, housing and non-housing -- draws from a variety of reliable data sources. These include the 2006 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's annual surveys of rental costs in all U.S. Counties, the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 American Housing Survey, a 2005 study of metropolitan area cost of living by the Council for Community and Economic Research, and wage data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Among other findings, the analysis revealed that non-housing costs vary much less than housing costs. In fact, the highest non-housing cost state (New York) is only 39% above the lowest cost state (Arkansas). The highest housing cost state (California) however, is 124% above the lowest cost state (West Virginia) -- and is 245% above if home ownership is used instead of rent. Because non-housing costs represent the bulk of all costs, however, they tend to determine the overall cost of living.
The cost of living index is available for free through the APA Web site at: http://www.apaconsulting.net
Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc. is a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in education policy and finance. The firm has more than 25 years experience advising state legislatures, state boards of education, school districts, and a variety of other public policy groups.