What $100 Is Really Worth in Your State

iStock
iStock

How far can you stretch your dollar? Depends on where you're located in the U.S. The Tax Foundation has taken data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show the real value of $100 in each state. (We've also covered the D.C.-based think tank’s previously analyses, but the numbers changed ever-so-slightly year to year.)

The graphic below compares how much $100 is worth in goods compared to the national average. For instance, in high-price areas like California, New York, and D.C., your $100 is worth significantly less than the U.S. average—in those places, your money has the purchasing power of around $88.18, $86.70, and $85.47, respectively. If you live in Mississippi, meanwhile, your dollars go farther than in any other state. Your $100 is the equivalent of $116.01.

A color-coded map of the U.S. lists the real value of $100 in each state.
Tax Foundation

The data isn't surprising. People move from high-priced regions to cheaper areas of the country all the time. And it’s not just a matter of real estate. In Los Angeles, the average price of a beer is $3.64, but in New York, it’s $5.36, according to GoEuro’s annual Beer Index.

Cities, naturally, tend to be more expensive than rural places, so where you live within a state also has a pretty big impact. It’s much more expensive to live in Manhattan than to live in Syracuse, New York, or to live in Chicago versus downstate Illinois, as the Tax Foundation’s previous work has shown. This difference, however, is generally counter-balanced by the fact that expensive areas typically have higher salaries, too. Minimum wage laws, tax rates, and other factors also play a role.

It’s not just a theoretical exercise. A slight variation in the real value of your dollars can have a significant impact in your standard of living. The Tax Foundation explains:

Regional price differences are strikingly large; real purchasing power is 36 percent greater in Mississippi than it is in the District of Columbia. In other words, by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after-tax income in Mississippi, you would need after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.

America's Most Charitable States, Ranked

iStock.com/Steve Debenport
iStock.com/Steve Debenport

It may be the season of giving, but some people continue to spread cheer long after the holidays have ended. We’re looking at you, Minnesotans. As Thrillist reports, a new analysis by WalletHub ranks each state by its altruism, and Minnesota comes out on top, followed by Utah and New York.

Each state was awarded up to 100 points depending on how well it met 18 criteria in two main categories: volunteer efforts and charitable contributions. Doing a favor for a neighbor, donating money to non-profit organizations, or searching for “charitable donations” on Google were a few of the actions that landed certain states more points. Other factors taken into account were the number of public charities and Feeding America food banks per capita.

The results revealed that charitable giving doesn’t necessarily correspond with income. West Virginia’s residents, who have the lowest median household income of any state, are the 35th most charitable. Compare that with Hawaii, which has the third highest median household income but comes in at 46th on the list of charitable states.

Hover your cursor over the map below to see how your state ranks.

Source: WalletHub

No matter what state you live in, you should still give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve done a good deed recently. The U.S. is the fourth-most generous country in the world (after Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand), according to the World Giving Index [PDF].

Feeling inspired to give back? Use the Charity Navigator to research your options, and check our these six items you can donate, aside from cash.

[h/t Thrillist]

The Most Popular Christmas Candy in Each State

Halloween may have passed, but we’re approaching an almost equally exciting candy season. Yes, it’s time for candy canes, peppermint bark, holiday-colored M&Ms, and chocolate shaped like Santas and nutcrackers.

CandyStore.com, a bulk candy retailer, recently asked 30,000 of its customers to name their favorite Christmas candy, in order to determine how America’s sweet tooth varies from state to state. And vary it does.

While 10 different states profess to love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the most (and why wouldn’t they), other states were more excited about Christmas-exclusive candies like peppermint bark (perhaps the only candy on the list that people might be enjoying a homemade version of) and candy canes. Eight states preferred candy canes, six preferred M&Ms, and five preferred the red, green, and white reindeer corn.

Some of the least popular candies on the list were PEZ (which was a favorite in eight states last year, but only three in this year’s rankings), chocolate Santas (a favorite in only North Dakota and Wyoming), and Skittles (which were no state’s absolute favorite, but showed up as a few states' second- or third-place choices). Reese’s Pieces, rather then peanut butter cups, showed up in just one state’s rankings (they are a favorite in Montana).

Explore the interactive map below, then check out the full rankings on CandyStore.com.

Source: CandyStore.com.

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