Compared with the national standard, dollars stretch a bit further in both Charlotte and across North Carolina.
A team of economists from the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, crunched some recently released numbers from the Commerce Department to show how far $100 goes across U.S. states and metros – a term referred to as purchasing power. They found that it’s worth $107.07 in the Charlotte metropolitan area, which includes Concord and Gastonia.
North Carolina is a bit cheaper, and $100 has the same sort of purchasing power as $109.05, and in South Carolina it has the same purchasing power as $110.50.
Generally, the researchers found, areas with higher incomes also have higher prices.
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Purchasing power is also lower in big cities that have expensive real estate (in San Francisco, $100 is worth $83.13, for example) and higher in less dense areas (in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area, $100 buys you $112.23.)
Purchasing power has implications for state and federal policies, many of which are based on income, the researchers wrote.
Because it’s cheaper to live some places compared with others, for example, many policymakers argue in favor of local minimum wages rather than a single national rate. (North Carolina’s minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the national rate.)
Here’s how far $100 goes across several North Carolina metro areas:
▪ Greensboro: $110.86
▪ Fayetteville: $109.53
▪ Raleigh: $104.60
▪ Durham-Chapel Hill: $104.93
▪ Winston-Salem: $110.74
▪ Wilmington: $105.60