How far does a dollar — or a hundred dollars — go in Illinois? Not as far as it does in surrounding states according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis reprinted by the Tax Foundation.
Their analysis found that $100 would buy an average Illinois resident $99.30 worth of goods and services. That compares to $107.07 in Wisconsin, $110.74 in Iowa, and $111.86 in Missouri. You can see a Tax Foundation map of how each state ranked here.
The results mean that an Illinois resident needs to make more money just to maintain the same standard of living as those living in neighboring states.
One significant factor could be the costs of living in the Chicagoland area, which are far higher than in the rest of the state. Four of the five worst performing areas — the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey and California — are all part of one or more major metropolitan areas. The fifth is Hawaii, which has higher costs due to being an island in the Pacific.
The Tax Foundation notes that places with higher costs typically also have higher pay levels, but in some states like North Carolina, residents have both higher pay levels and a low cost-of-living, meaning as a whole they are truly richer because their higher pay goes farther.
Census data shows that in Illinois, on the other hand, declining incomes pared with higher costs are making residents feel poorer, and could be one reason for an out-migration of residents to lower cost states.