The cost of living in Idaho in 2011 was 92.8 percent of the national average cost of living, ranking Idaho 32nd among the states, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
But compared to other states rural Idaho was more expensive than the metropolitan areas.
The estimates were from the government's personal consumption expenditure calculations and differ somewhat from the more commonly cited consumer price index, but they offer a comparison of living costs among the states.
The relative cost of living in Idaho statewide had been slowly declining since the initial estimate of 92.9 percent of the national average in 2007, which ranked 31st among the states. While the index rose to 93.7 percent in 2008, increases were greater in other states and Idaho's ranking fell to 32nd, where it remained in 2009 before dropping to 33rd in 2010 at 92.6 percent.
Idaho's average wage of $36,452 ranked 48th among the states and the District of Columbia in 2011.
The index for the rural part of Idaho was 92 percent in 2011, ranking 19th among the states. The District of Columbia, New Jersey and Rhode Island have no rural areas in the Bureau of Economic Analysis calculations.
The index for the five metro areas - Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston and Pocatello - was 92.7 percent of the national average in 2011 to rank 41st among the states and the district of Columbia. Coeur d'Alene had the highest index at 93.5 percent followed by Boise at 93.2 percent. Idaho Falls was at 91.5 percent, Lewiston at 90.8 percent and Pocatello at 90.7 percent.