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How does Greene County stack up statewide for cost of living?

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Greene County has the lowest wages among the major counties in Missouri, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Does its cost of living compensate for the meager pay?

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute’s new family budget calculator sheds light on cost-of-living levels across Missouri and the country.

Using the same counties measured by the BLS in the EPI budget calculator shows Greene County ranks second in Missouri, below the city of St. Louis, which also operates as its own county.

The EPI’s budget calculator estimates a Greene County family of two adults and two children — the default for the app — pays $74,499 annually in cost of living “to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living,” according to EPI.org. The calculator sources data from federal government agencies.

The top counties, by annual cost of living for a family of four, according to EPI, are:
    •    City of St. Louis, $71,894;
    •    Greene, $74,499;
    •    Jackson, $74,553;
    •    Clay, $77,102;
    •    St. Louis County, $79,283;
    •    Boone, $81,753; and
    •    St. Charles, $81,556.

On the BLS’ recently released report of third-quarter 2017 wages, Greene County ranked the worst statewide with $781 in average weekly wages. Assuming an employee works year-round, that comes to $40,612 per year.

Here are the Missouri counties, by third-quarter wages, according to the BLS:
    •    City of St. Louis, $1,066;
    •    St. Louis County, $1,048;
    •    Jackson, $1,019;
    •    Clay, $856;
    •    Boone, $819;
    •    St. Charles; and
    •    Greene, $781.

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