Is It Really More Expensive to Live in Baltimore Than LA?

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photo courtesy Baltimore Heritage.
photo courtesy Baltimore Heritage.

Business Insider wrote one of those lists that shows which metro areas are the most expensive to live in. If you took it at face value, you’d believe that Baltimore was one of the most expensive cities to live in in the entire U.S., with annual cost of living higher than in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other metro areas.

BI relies on data from the Economic Policy Institute, which estimates that a family of four living in Baltimore will spend $74,427 each year, or $6,202 each month, on necessities (everything from health care premiums to rent/mortgage payments to food to child care costs). You can see the full breakdown here.Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 7.40.56 AM

One interesting thing about all these lists and rankings is that they rely on what’s known in the stats biz as Metropolitan Statistical Areas — in other words, when they say “Baltimore,” they mean “the Baltimore-Towson-ish area.” That’s how you can have lists and rankings that show Baltimore as, on the one hand, affluent and expensive–and on the other, poverty-stricken and poor. The unmentioned subtext of these lists is always the city’s battles with income inequality, concentrated poverty, and racial segregation.



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