The cost of living in Morgantown, W.Va. was 2.7 percent higher than the national average in January. This new data comes from a survey conducted by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).
According to the BBER, which operates in the WVU College of Business and Economics, most of the elevated cost of living is attributed to above-average housing prices. In Morgantown, housing prices were 13.8 percent higher than the rest of the U.S., while other cost of living categories such as health care were below the national average.
“The cost of living is actually higher in Morgantown than many other university cities, such as Cincinnati, Columbus, Knoxville, Tenn., Lexington, Ky., Pittsburgh and Tampa,” said Eric Bowen, BBER economist. “While housing prices were considerably higher in Morgantown, the city was between four and five percentage points below the national average in categories such as groceries, utilities and health care prices.”
Statistical data gathered by BBER and C2ER indicate that Morgantown housing costs have been rising relative to the national average since 2006. In the first quarter of that year, the cost of housing in Morgantown was one percentage point higher than the national average. By the first quarter of 2013, housing costs in Morgantown were 13.8 percent higher than the national average.
The survey data is used to calculate a cost of living index that measures a city’s relative cost of living in comparison to the national average. The survey included six categories, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous purchases. These categories are then combined and plugged into a formula that creates a composite score for each city.
Of the three metropolitan areas surveyed that include West Virginia, Morgantown was considerably higher than one and slightly below the other.
“Morgantown’s cost of living was 8.8 points higher than Martinsburg,” said Bowen, “but was 0.9 percent lower than the Winchester, Va., metropolitan area, which includes Hampshire County in West Virginia.”
To read the full cost of living survey, go to be.wvu.edu/bber .
CONTACT: Eric Bowen, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research
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