Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cost of Living Index shows West Virginia residents pay less for goods and services
Three times a year, the Charleston Area Alliance takes part in the ACCRA Cost of Living survey. This survey is designed to provide a measurement of relative difference among urban areas in the cost of consumer goods and services appropriate for professional and managerial households.

The most recent report showed that it is 9 percent less to live in West Virginia than the national average.

The Index rests on the premise that prices collected at a specified time, in strict conformance with standard specifications, provide a sound basis for constructing a reasonably accurate gauge of relative differences in the cost of consumer goods and services.

The standard approach used by the ACCRA Index, is to divide consumer expenditures into categories, and then select items that represent those categories. The items used in the ACCRA Index thus are surrogates for entire categories of consumer spending. For this approach to work, price differences among urban areas for the items in the Index must accurately reflect differences for the categories they represent.

The ACCRA Index consists of six major categories: grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. These major categories in turn are composed of subcategories, each of which is represented by one or more items in the Index

The 57 items in these categories are used solely to show price differences in the categories they represent. For example, a pound of whole frying chicken is used to represent poultry products, it is assumed that if an area’s price for this item is 10% above the nationwide average, its prices for poultry products as a whole also are about 10% above the nationwide average.

This is the most reliable source of city-to-city comparisons of a key consumer costs available anywhere.

The Charleston Area Alliance is the only organization in the state to participate in this survey
To learn more, visit


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