Wednesday, February 21, 2024

North Louisiana’s Low Cost of Living Attributed to Affordable Housing, Utilities and Health Care

by BIZ. Staff

The latest Cost of Living Index for the third quarter of 2017 continues to rank Shreveport and Monroe among the most affordable places to live in Louisiana.

The Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a cost of living of 90.9 percent of the national average, primarily because of its low-cost housing and utilities. The Monroe MSA has a cost of living of 92.2 percent of the national average  ̶  due in large part to the area’s low cost housing and health care.  

“Cost of living is a major factor why people move into a community,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP). “Our low cost of living attracts families, which in turn enhance our workforce.”

The Cost of Living Index, published by the Council for Community and Economic Research, 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 collected from 267 participating communities in the third quarter of 2017. 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 serving 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 (13.61%), housing (27.59%), utilities (10.06%), transportation (9.59%), health care (4.00%) and miscellaneous goods and services (35.15%).

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 71.9 percent of the national average and housing at 82.7 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are heath care (95.2%); transportation (95.7%); miscellaneous goods and services (97.4%); and  grocery items (100.3%).

The Monroe MSA includes Ouachita and Union Parishes.  The lowest cost categories for the Monroe MSA include housing at 82.8 percent of the national average and health care at 85 percent.  The next lowest cost categories are transportation (92.1%); miscellaneous goods and services (94.4%); grocery items (100.3); and utilities (102.3%).

To see how Shreveport’s and Monroe’s cost of living compare with other communities around the nation, NLEP offers a Cost of Living calculator on our website,  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 and Monroe while maintaining your current standard of living, based on the Cost of Living Index.  For example, if you earned $50,000 in Denver, Colorado, you would only need to earn $40,577 in Shreveport and $43,462 in Monroe to enjoy a comparable standard of living.  See how Shreveport and Monroe compare to other major cities in the graph below.

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