We started with America’s 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Metropolitan Divisions (MDs), all with populations of 600,000 or more. Then we factored in housing affordability, using the Housing Opportunity Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. We also considered the cost-of-living index developed by Sperling’s Best Places, and factored in the cost of food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses, and miscellaneous expenses. Cities with a cost-of-living rank above 100 on the Sperling index have higher prices for these day-to-day goods than the national average. Finally, we weighted these factors, in line with the methodology the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses for the weightings of its Consumer Price Index (where housing is weighted just under 32%). Because housing is such an important expense to most people, we tipped the scales a bit higher.
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