Living Standards in St. Louis and the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Let’s Get Real
Recently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has developed the Regional Price Parities (RPPs), spatial price indexes that allow for comparison of cost of living differences across various geographic areas. By construction, RPPs compare the average price level for a region with the national average. Accordingly, unlike traditional, temporal price indexes, RPPs can be used to adjust nominal incomes for cost of living differences, thereby allowing for more accurate comparison of living standards across geographic areas. When adjusting incomes in this manner, the authors find that, despite slow economic growth recently, living standards are relatively high in the St. Louis metropolitan statistical area (MSA). For example, the St. Louis MSA ranks in the top 6 percent of MSAs based on real per capita personal income and in the top 16 percent based on real median household income.