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North Louisiana’s low cost of living attracts families and businesses


February 14, 2019
By Sean Green
Originally Posted on Biz. Magazine

North Louisiana has one of the lowest costs of living in the state, making the region one of the most affordable places to live, according to the latest Cost of Living Index, the Annual Average for 2018.

The Shreveport-Bossier City MSA has a cost of living of 89.8 percent of the national average, primarily because of its low cost utilities and housing. The Monroe MSA has a cost of living of 89.2 percent of the national average  ̶  due in large part to the area’s affordable health care and transportation costs. 

"Our low cost of living makes North Louisiana more appealing to families who can afford a better standard of living here,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP). “The low cost of living also allows employers to better recruit the skilled workforce they need.”

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 50,000 prices 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 all of Caddo, Bossier, De Soto and Webster Parishes. For the Shreveport-Bossier City MSA, the lowest cost category is utilities at 74.4 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are housing (78.8%); transportation (90.7%); heath care (95.2%); miscellaneous goods and services (97.7%); and grocery items (101.1%).

The Monroe MSA includes Ouachita and Union Parishes. Monroe’s lowest cost category is health care which is 82.2 percent of the national average. The next lowest cost categories are transportation (83.4%); utilities (85.7%); housing (88.2%); miscellaneous goods and services (90.1%); and grocery items (97.7%).