Here’s How Much $100 Is Worth in Philly

Spoiler: You don't get much bang for your buck in this city.

Map by the Tax Foundation

Map by the Tax Foundation

A hundred bucks doesn’t go very far in Philadelphia.

The Tax Foundation examined the cost of living in metropolitan areas across the nation, and found that $100 in the Philly region only buys you about $92.68 worth of things. 

That’s more bang for your buck than you get in the metro areas of New York City (where $100 is worth $81.77) or Baltimore (where it’s worth $91.91). But it’s less than you’ll get in Dallas ($99.21), Houston ($99.40), the whole state of Mississippi ($115), and the nonmetropolitan parts of Pennsylvania ($109.65), to name a few examples.

Alan Cole and Tom VanAntwerp of the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation point out that one’s purchasing power varies greatly across states, even in rural areas. “This suggests that policy — not just geography and urbanization — may play a role in these price differences,” they write.

CityLab also reports that the differences in cost of living and average incomes throughout the country have led some to argue for local minimum wages, as opposed to a national minimum wage:

Overall, just because a city boasts high average incomes, “it may not translate to a higher standard of living,” Cole says. That’s actually one reason for caution on instituting a national minimum wage. For example, despite the fact the the average income in Mississippi is roughly $10,000 less than that in San Francisco, purchasing power in Mississippi communities is nearly 45 percent greater. This is why some economists have argued for local minimum wages rather than a single national rate.

Bottom line: This Tax Foundation report shows why everything is crazy expensive in New York City, as well as why it feels like you’ve time-traveled to the 1950s when you’re buying stuff in rural Pennsylvania.