Q:

How do you compare the cost of living for multiple cities in the USA?

A:

Quick Answer

To compare the cost-of-living index between multiple cities at once, use Wolfram/Alpha. Type "cost of living" plus the name of the cities you wish to compare, with "vs" in between the names. For instance, typing "cost of living Boulder vs Sacramento vs Manhattan" compares Boulder, Colorado; Sacramento, California; and Manhattan, New York. Other websites, such as Bankrate and CNN Money, also provide cost-of-living calculators for two cities at a time, displaying the difference in terms of comparative income.

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Full Answer

Each website uses various metrics to compare the cost of living between different cities, including food, housing, utilities and transportation costs. CNN Money provides a slick, but limited, calculator that only displays basic results, such as grocery and housing costs. Bankrate provides a detailed listing of everything from veterinarian services to the price of Parmesan cheese. Wolfram/Alpha displays each city's cost-of-living index, in which 100 is the U.S. national average.

Additionally, each website provides a number of other tools that may be useful for comparing cities, including retirement calculators, net-worth calculators, mortgage rate listings and crime rates. To find other results on Wolfram/Alpha, such as crime rates, average rents and food prices, replace "cost of living" in the search with the desired request. For instance, entering "price of food Boulder vs Sacramento vs Manhattan" lists basic food prices in each city, such as prices for ground beef, potatoes and eggs.

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