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How low can Tampa go?

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  • | 11:00 a.m. February 17, 2017
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The Tampa region, winning national recognition for jobs growth, scored another victory recently in an important category: cost of living.

The area is a leader both in Florida and nationwide in the latest cost of living index (COLI) report, issued by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. The Tampa region posted a COLI of 91.5 on a national average index of 100, according to the EDC report.

Tampa's score is lower than a host of southeast cities, including Raleigh, N.C. at 94.4; Charlotte at 94.8; Nashville at 95.5; and Atlanta at 98.7. In Florida the only region with a lower cost of living than Tampa is Palm Coast-Flagler County at 90.6, the report shows.

The composite index score weighs multiple expense categories, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services. All the categories are weighed differently. Tampa's lowest score is in housing, with 75.9, the report shows, which was second in the state, 0.4 points behind Palm Coast. In miscellaneous goods and services the region scored a 92.3, lowest in the state.

Other Gulf Coast regions fared worse than Tampa in the index.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers region posted an overall COLI of 96.6, No. 6 statewide, for example. The region scored 109.8 in transportation, the report shows, highest in the state. The Sarasota area, meanwhile, scored a COLI of 104.3, No. 9 out of 11 Florida regions. Sarasota also led the state in highest costs in three categories: groceries at 117; health care at 115.8; and miscellaneous goods and services at 106.5.


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