A dollar in your pocket goes much further in the Midwest or South than New England.
That’s according to new federal data showing how prices differ across state lines, visualized in the map below by the non-profit Tax Foundation. A dollar buys the most in Mississippi, where prices are generally about 13 percent below the U.S. average. It buys the least in D.C. and Hawaii, where prices are nearly 18 percent and just over 16 percent above the national average, respectively.
The map is based on a relatively new, but powerful measure called Regional Price Parities, which reflect the differences in price for a number of different goods in each state and has implications for everything from job relocations to public policy.
Take the example below, from the Tax Foundation. Per capita income is almost the same in Nebraska and California, but when you consider purchasing power, Nebraska surges ahead in terms of the value of said income, according to the Tax Foundation.
That also means policies carry different weight, too.
On Jan. 1, the minimum wage will jump to $9.75 in Alaska and just $8 in Arkansas. That seems like a big discrepancy, with Alaska being home to the more-progressive minimum. But if you consider the fact that the value of a dollar in Alaska is about 80 percent the value of that same dollar in Arkansas, then Alaska’s high $9.75 minimum wage translates to… just about $8 in Arkansas.