Harlingen tops nation in affordable living

HARLINGEN — Harlingen again tops the nation as the least expensive place to live, a study released this past week shows.

The results of the study by the Council for Community and Economic Research puts the city right at the top of 286 urban areas when it comes to affordable places to live.

McAllen was ranked second. Both Harlingen and McAllen were one-two in the quarterly report for the first three months of the year issued by the economic research agency in June, too.

The most expensive places to live in the country will be no surprise to anybody, with Manhattan, New York, topping that list, followed by San Francisco, Honolulu, Brooklyn, New York, and Washington, D.C.

“We’ve worked hard to provide our residents the best quality of life possible,” said City Manager Dan Serna. “Harlingen is a great place to raise a family or start a business.

“We have excellent medical care, entertainment venues, family activities, retail sector, recognized schools and the premier airport in the RGV,” he added. “We take great pride in being recognized as the number one least expensive urban area in the country.”

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences quarterly on the cost of consumer goods and services, including taxes and non-consumer expenditures. It is based on six component categories — housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

And when it comes to grocery items? Harlingen ranked No. 3 among least expensive areas in that category, behind Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Temple, Texas. The Texas cities of San Marcos and McAllen round out the top five.

The cities with the most expensive groceries are Honolulu, Juneau, Alaska, Manhattan in New York City, Anchorage, Alaska, and Oakland, California.

The groceries list is based on comparisons of 26 items from a variety of categories.

rkelley@valleyster.com

MORE INFO

Least Expensive Urban Areas

City Index

1. Harlingen 76.5

2. McAllen 76.9

3. Richmond IN 79.0

4. Kalamazoo MI 79.4

5. Muskogee OK 79.7

6. Memphis TN 81.3

7. Pryor Creek OK 81.6

8. Joplin MO 82.1

9. Martinsville VA 82.4

10. Conway AR 82.6

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research. Based on regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures. Six component categories are housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

Least expensive groceries

City Index

1. Kalamazoo MI 75.5

2. Temple TX 76.9

3. Harlingen 81.7

4. San Marcos TX 82.5

5. McAllen 82.7

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research. Based on prices of 26 items from a variety of categories.