For anyone who's ever traveled around the United States, it becomes painfully apparent that things cost different everywhere they go. Gas is cheaper in one state, a pack of cigarettes cheaper in another, a cup of coffee cheaper in the next.

Now the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis is tracking those differences, With that data, along with a few other sources, The New York Times put together a report on how the value of a dollar varies across states, and where incomes have the most purchasing power.

The “real value” of a dollar is highest in Mississippi, Arkansas ($114.30), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.60) and Kentucky ($112.70). It buys the least in the District of Columbia ($84.70), Hawaii, New York ($86.40), New Jersey ($87.30), California ($89) and Maryland ($90.70).

Generally, the prices of goods and services in states correlate with the nominal incomes, according to Alan Cole, an economist with Tax Foundation.

“There is a relationship between the two: in places with higher incomes, the prices of finite resources like land get bid up,” he writes. But, he noted, when prices in a region are high, employers often raise pay to attract and retain talent.

Read more >