This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The State With the Best Cost of Living




By Jennifer Leigh Parker, Special to CNBC.com

NEW YORK (CNBC) -- Everyday expenses have a direct effect on the price of doing business, which is why we rank the Cost of Living for each state in CNBC's Top States for Business.

So where would a business find a state with a reasonable cost of living? Our survey results show states with the best bang for your buck are in the South.

Kentucky tops our list with 50 out of the 50-point total for this category.

Moving up from 3rd place last year, the state boasts the lowest costs in the nation for groceries and healthcare, with extremely competitive costs for housing, transportation and utilities -- all three part of the basic criteria used for this ranking.

More from CNBC
States With the Highest Cost of Living
Homes of Governors
America's Top States for Business 2011

Runners-up, however, are hot on the heels of the Bluegrass state. Tennessee (2/1) and Oklahoma (3/1), finished only two points behind, having tied for first place last year.

They are followed very closely by Arkansas (4/3) and Texas (5/8). The Lone Star state gained ground this year, jumping up three spots, thanks to low-cost groceries and gasoline.

Comparative Costs
As for the most expensive states, we've got some repeat offenders: Hawaii (50/49), Alaska(49/47), and California (48/49) each ranked as the bottom three last year.

Compare the cost of the American Dream: to drive the kids to school from your single-family home in, say, San Jose, Calif., the median price will set you back $545,000 as of the first quarter of 2011, and $4.09 a gallon for gas, according to a recent spot check on gasbuddy.com.

In contrast, residents of Louisville, Ky., pay a median $125,000 for their home, while the trip to school costs only $3.85 per gallon.

However, that old rule still applies: you get what you pay for. The top states in this category also happen to be the lowest ranking in the Quality of Life category, and vice versa.

The state coping with the biggest increase in costs is South Dakota (26/5). There, costs are relatively high for health care, but those for housing and utilities have risen as well. But higher costs parallel higher quality, as South Dakota broke into the top five rankings for Quality of Life.

Purchasing Power
Regardless of the rankings, the impact of inflation can be felt across all states. For example, the price of gasoline has jumped with the volatile price of crude oil. Consumers in

Nashville, Tenn., have seen gas prices jump 42% since this time last year, while Honolulu residents are paying only 15.3% more for gas than a year ago.

-- Written by Jennifer Leigh Parker of CNBC

CNBC is a world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs