The Council for Community and Economic Research Ranks Harlingen as Least Expensive in Cost of Living

HARLINGEN, TEXAS (Jan. 27, 2020) – Beginning with quarter four of 2007, C2ER has annually published an unweighted average of prices accumulated from the previous three quarters. This analysis uses average prices submitted for the first three quarters of 2019.  For further details on the annual average methodology, please visit our website at

Among the 266 urban areas that participated in the 2019 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), NY, to almost 25 percent below the national average in Harlingen, TX.

The Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research.


The Ten Most and Least Expensive Urban Areas

in the Cost of Living Index (COLI)

Year-End Review of Three Quarters in 2019

National Average for 266 Urban Areas = 100

Most Expensive   Least Expensive  
    COL     COL
Ranking Urban Areas Index Ranking Urban Areas Index
1 New York (Manhattan) NY 237.4 1 Harlingen TX 75.4
2 San Francisco CA 196.6 2 McAllen TX 76.2
3 Honolulu HI 191.8 3 Kalamazoo MI 77.7
4 New York (Brooklyn) NY 180.4 4 Muskogee OK 79.4
5 Washington DC 159.0 5 Memphis TN 80.4
6 Oakland CA 156.8 6 Conway AR 80.7
7 Seattle WA 156.7 7 Richmond IN 80.8
8 Boston MA 150.1 8 Joplin MO 81.6
9 Arlington VA 149.5 9 Pittsburg KS 81.8
10 New York (Queens) NY 148.2 10 Tupelo MS 81.8


The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 50,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences in the index numbers should not be interpreted as significant.

The composite index is based on six components – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.