The most reliable cost of living statistics are those associated with various consumer goods that are components of the Consumer Price Index. These statistics are reliable indicators of the actual costs associated with a basic standard of living and the rate of inflation over a given period of time.
The Consumer Price Index categories that have weighted or averaged statistics are also among the most reliable. These methods improve their reliability by compensating for distortions caused by regional price differences or consumer reactions to temporary price increases of certain items.
Statistics that focus on items such as food and housing are also more reliable because their accuracy is improved due to the large amount of data available. These items are also far less volatile than other categories, such as fuel and transportation.