Home » Books » Currently Reading:

CNNMoney: St. Louis Has Higher Cost of Living Than Seattle & Portland

June 27, 2005 Books 6 Comments

A recent study by Mercer Human Resources Consulting placed St. Louis as the 102nd costliest city out of 144 cities worldwide. Seattle came in as 103rd and Portland Oregon as 112th. CNNMoney reports:

Mercer conducts the survey to help multinational companies and governments determine how much to pay their expatriate employees. The survey includes 144 cities across the world, and measures costs including housing, food, clothing, transportation and entertainment.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. On one hand I’d say I think they are nuts but on the other I might conclude that as a region if you count transportation maybe we are more costly than Seattle or Portland. Oddly missing from the list was the Dallas-Ft. Worth region.

I think St. Louis is in good company with some important cities, a good association. Didn’t see Memphis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Tulsa or other cites on the list. Our industrial city buddy Detroit was just before us at 101. To see the complete list click here.

What do you think? Is it good to be on such a list and thought of as more expensive than Seattle? Or do we want to keep a reputation for being affordable?

– Steve


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dan Icolari says:

    One of St. Louis’s attractions for my wife and me is that it’s a less costly place to live than New York. But that’s a bonus.

    The real attraction is that St. Louis looks, sounds and moves like a for-real city–an environment that offers the aesthetic, cultural and public transit resources we don’t want to be without.

    I think the advantages I’ve named are, from a long-term perspective, the ones you want to be known for. Lots of places are affordable, but that doesn’t make them dynamic and keep them growing, changing and exciting.

    In the hierarchy of benefits, affordability is a positive, but not a deal-maker. At least not, in my opinion, for the kinds of people St. Louis (City) needs to attract.

  2. Ted says:

    I’m also not sure of what to make of our place on this list. Oddly enough, it seems as if we are right at the border of the first world and the third world. It does seem like a lot of cities are missing, ones that I would expect to be above us.

  3. Dustin says:

    They do not clarify by what criteria these rankings are based. To be fair I am hope that in the aggregate it is all apples to apples. Anectdotally, I suspect not. I know people who live in Seattle and Portland and while they may pay a similar price for milk and bread the cost of putting a roof over one’s head is significantly higher. Yes, Dan, there are many other factors when deciding where to live, and I have always lived by “you get what you pay for”. In the case of St. Louis, though, I think I am getting a deal.

  4. jd says:

    That’s insane. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says “cost of living” is how much it costs to rent or own a place. I lived in Portland, and I know 150,000 barely buys a shack 20 miles from the city, whereas here in St. Louis, you can find some nice places in close proximity.

    CNN/Money Mag should put a disclaimer on these lists they put out, because they usually are for mere entertainment purposes.

    Besides, one can get 2 Big Beufords for 3 bucks here, let’s see Burgerville beat that!

  5. toby says:

    Oddly enough, I very recently got a job offer from Portland, and just how much more expensive it would be is large on my mind.
    FindYourSpot.com said Portland’s cost of living was 16% higher than average, though they did not list what average IS. Then, CNN claims it’s cheaper than St. Louis. I’m confused.
    I understand that rent and mortgage are higher, but one could save plenty on car-care by using all the sterling public transportation options. Plus, they are very bike friendly. I imagine a life without car insurance, getting a rental car when needed, and I swoon. But would I be living in someone’s basement in order to do this?

  6. Scott says:

    The list doesn’t add up – I would suggest looking for other sources to compare cost of living. I want to move to St. Louis from Washington, DC to escape an increasingly difficult lifestyle due to high prices, traffic, etc. I agree with the guy from New York that St. Louis offers a real city experience -but at a good price – a rare combination. That makes St. Louis a value – not cheap! I wouldn’t move someplace just because it is cheap. By the way, I don’t think an accurate listmaker would compare the price of living in Portland without a car with the price of living in St. Louis with a car. Besides, in St. Louis you can get an unlimited bus/rail pass for around $50.00 monthly. In DC, we spend that much in a week.


Comment on this Article: