This measurement is obtained by calculating a price index for the cost of living in different cities. These scores are called Cost of Living Index Score, a "relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities," excluding the cost of rent or mortgages. These indices are relative to New York City (NYC), which means that for New York City each index is 100 percent. If another city has, for example, a cost of living score of 115, that means that the cost of living in that city is 15 percent more expensive than in NYC. If a city has a cost of living score of 75, that means that the cost of living in that city rents is 25 percent less expensive than in NYC.
The cities are ranked in the Cost of Living Index Ranking (Numbeo) from 1 to 65, from high to low, based on their overall cost of living score. This means that cities with higher cost of living scores have lower numbers on the ranking scale. For example, New York City is ranked number one for having the highest total score; Indianapolis has a cost of living score 25 percent lower than New York City and has a ranking of 31.
Note: Cost of living data is not available for all 75 cities that TIA uses in its reports and on this website. Some cities do not have their scores listed every year.