North Louisiana ranks as the most affordable place to live in Louisiana

The Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2018 ranks Monroe and Shreveport as the most affordable places to live in the state. The Monroe Metro cost of living is 88.1 percent of the national average. The Shreveport-Bossier City Metro cost of living is 89.1 percent of the national average, according to the report published by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

“Our region’s low cost of living means families and employers get more value for their dollar,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP). “Families can afford a better standard of living, and companies can better recruit the talent they need.”

The Cost of Living Index estimates the amount of money needed to sustain a certain level of living, including basic expenses such as housing, food, health care, etc. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items collected from 259 participating communities during the second quarter of 2018. The Cost of Living Index measures regional cost differences in consumer goods and services. It’s often used when comparing how expensive it is to live in one city versus another.

NLEP, an Accredited Economic Development Organization for 14 parishes in North Louisiana, gathers the pricing information for the Shreveport-Bossier City MSA. The University of Louisiana at Monroe Center for Business and Economic Research gathers the data for the Monroe MSA.  The information is compiled into a composite index, which is based on six weighted categories – grocery items (13.47%), housing (28.15%), utilities (9.90%), transportation (8.99%), health care (4.57%) and miscellaneous goods and services (34.92%).

The Monroe MSA includes all of Ouachita and Union Parishes. For Monroe, the two most affordable cost categories are health care at 80.7 percent and transportation at 81.9 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are utilities (84.9%); housing (87.3%); miscellaneous goods and services (89.2%); and grocery items (96.2%).

The Shreveport-Bossier City MSA includes all of Caddo, Bossier, De Soto and Webster Parishes. For the Shreveport-Bossier City MSA, the two lowest cost categories are utilities at 74.0 percent and housing at 75.5 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are transportation (88.9%); health care (93.2%); miscellaneous goods and services (98.6%); and grocery items (102.4%).

To see how North Louisiana’s cost of living compares with other communities around the nation, NLEP offers a Cost of Living calculator on our website, nlep.org/COLIcalculator.  Go to the Regional Data Center and click Cost of Living.  The calculator allows you to determine the level of income you would need to move to Shreveport or Monroe from another community and maintain your current standard of living based on the Cost of Living Index.  The following chart shows how North Louisiana compares with other Louisiana communities.