It's Official: It Is Cheaper to Live Here

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Faculty and staff being recruited to Michigan Tech commonly ask about the area's cost of living. To find a good answer, Michigan Tech has begun gathering information from Houghton businesses and analyzing it using data and formulae supplied by the Council for Community and Economic Research (founded as the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association, or ACCRA).

The council developed the ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI), which compares prices in about 300 cities all over the U.S.

The average for all participating places equals 100, and each participant's index is read as a percentage of the average. For July 2006, Houghton’s composite index was 93.1, indicating that the cost of living in Houghton was about 7 percent lower than average.

The following types of expenses are included in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index. Michigan Tech's scores are listed below.

Grocery items--93.6
Health care--87.4
Miscellaneous goods and services--97.8
Composite Index for Houghton--93.1

Houghton is not an official participant in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index survey because the community too small; the minimum population is 35,000. However, ACCRA is allowing us to use their information to calculate a Cost of Living Index for Houghton.

The COLI survey is geared toward upper-income families. It assumes that (1) a household is made up of two adults and one child; (2) both adults hold college degrees; (3) at least one adult is salaried and holds a professional or managerial position; (4) household income is in the top 20 percent for the area; (5) housing is priced only in areas where these families would live; and (6) stores surveyed are those where these households would normally shop.

Because the Cost of Living Index is copyrighted, reproduction of its data is prohibited. However, data are available in Human Resources for departments looking for information on other cities.

For more information, contact Becky Christianson at 487-2416 or , or visit the ACCRA web site at .

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.