North Louisiana’s Low Cost of Living Reached Three Year Low

North Louisiana’s cost of living reached a three-year low. The recently released Cost of Living Index for the third quarter of 2019 shows that the Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a cost of living that’s 88.9 percent of the national average. The Monroe MSA has a cost of living that’s 87.4 percent of the national average. North Louisiana’s low cost of living gives families in our 14-parish region more bang for their buck, because they can afford a better standard of living.

“The low cost of living for our region is a major selling point for North Louisiana and an advantage for employers looking to recruit talent,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP). “Families moving to North Louisiana can afford to buy more house for their money as well other goods and services.”

The Cost of Living Index, published quarterly 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 covering 60 different items, collected from communities across the United States. 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 (13.40%), housing (29.34%), utilities (8.94%), transportation (9.22%), health care (4.26%) and miscellaneous goods and services (34.84%).

The Shreveport-Bossier City MSA includes Caddo, Bossier, and De Soto Parishes. For the Shreveport- Bossier City MSA, the lowest cost category is housing at 78.9 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are utilities (87.0%); miscellaneous goods and services (91.0%); transportation (96.9%); grocery items (97.3%) and heath care (101.2%).

The Monroe MSA includes Ouachita and Union Parishes. Monroe’s lowest cost category is housing which is 80.0 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are utilities (81.4%); miscellaneous goods and services (89.8%); transportation (93.8%); health care (94.2); and grocery items (94.5%).

To see how the cost of living in Shreveport and Monroe 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 competitor cities, while maintaining your current standard of living based on the Cost of Living Index. For example, if you earned $50,000 in Dallas, TX you would only need to earn $42,931 in Shreveport. If you earned $50,000 in Denver, CO you only need to earn $39,716 in Monroe to enjoy a comparable standard of living.