Tampa area claims lowest annual cost of living among competing major metro areas

February 4, 2019

The MSA scored a cost of living index of 89.1 for 2018, nearly six points lower than the year prior


According to the Cost of Living Index (COLI) report, the Tampa metro area is one of the most affordable metros in the United States with a 2018 average annual index of 89.1. At nearly six points lower than the year prior, and nearly 11 points lower than the national average, the Tampa market continues to be an attractive and affordable place for recruiting businesses and talent alike.


“Everyone always asks what contributes to Tampa’s low index. Well, this year it is our housing and utilities indices,” said Robin DiSalvo, marketing research analyst for the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and author of the report. “Tampa scores lowest in housing and second lowest in utilities. With housing costs making up most of one’s living expenses, this favorable average puts Tampa at a great advantage compared to the other major metros across the country.”


At 71.6, Tampa’s housing index came in 28.4 percent lower than the national average. The area’s utilities index came in at 87.6. Only Atlanta at 87.0 had a lower utilities index than Tampa. Changes in the way data was collected in 2017 explains why Atlanta closely mirrors Tampa. Local wireless tax rates are now included in the utilities index replacing landline phone rates. The local cell phone tax rates are responsible for the utilities index going down in most markets.


Raleigh, N.C. at 91.5 and Jacksonville, Fla. at 91.9 had the second and third lowest overall cost of living in the U.S., respectively.


The composite index score is based upon individual scores for items including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, which are all weighted differently. While the Tampa market’s index for grocery items came in higher than the national average – at 103.7 – most other markets did also, so it didn’t drive up the overall cost of living.



For more information about the area’s Cost of Living scores, please visit the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s Data Center: http://tampabayedc.com/quality-of-life/.