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.

Find Out Which Halloween Candy Is Most Popular in Your State

Astor Mars via Candystore.com
Astor Mars via Candystore.com

As a child, the thought of sorting your candy stash after a trick-or-treating marathon probably distracted you just enough so that your parents could force you into a thick turtleneck underneath your Halloween costume. While your position on dressing appropriately for the weather may have changed since then, you've likely retained your opinions about which Halloween candy is the best … or worst.

To find out how people’s hot takes on sweet treats differ across the nation, CandyStore.com analyzed their sales data from the last 12 years to reveal the top-selling candy brand in each state.

Unlike with gas station coffee, there aren’t any obvious regional trends when it comes to Halloween candy. Skittles, the overall bestseller, also took the top spot in an impressive seven states, which included Florida, Minnesota, Hawaii, and California. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups followed closely with five states, hopping from North Carolina to Kansas and beyond.

Some classic candy brands were conspicuous only by their scarcity—Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfinger, Kit Kat, and Hershey’s Mini Bars only won one or two states apiece, and 3 Musketeers finished with zero. Cinnamon-y Hot Tamales ran away with a gobsmacking four states (New York, Indiana, Arizona, and Virginia), while salt water taffy took three: Washington, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

CandyStore.com also compiled lists of the best and worst Halloween candies, based on 30,000 customer surveys as well as rankings from Business Insider, Bon Appétit, and more. However, it seems that some people’s opinions don’t match what they’re actually buying. Nerds, which came in at number six on the best list, didn’t make it on the map even once.

Candy corn, the sickeningly saccharine blend of sugar, honey, dextrose, and corn syrup that everybody loves to hate, was unsurprisingly rated the number one worst Halloween confectionery. But five states—Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Nevada—purchase it more than any other candy.

Hungry for more knowledge about your fun-sized snack of choice? Find out how 25 Halloween candies got their names here.

[h/t CandyStore.com]

The Best Gas Station Coffee in Every State

Vera_Petrunina/iStock via Getty Images
Vera_Petrunina/iStock via Getty Images

In recent years, social media has become a hotbed of debate for diehard fans of regional gas stations—there’s even an upcoming documentary about whether Sheetz or Wawa is better. While these discussions usually factor in food, beverages, and overall experience, GasBuddy has narrowed the discourse to one specific question in honor of National Coffee Day on September 29: Which gas station has the best coffee in each state?

To answer it, the Boston-based tech company—whose app helps you find the lowest gas prices in your area—analyzed about 2 million user reviews across more than 150,000 gas stations nationwide. The data was limited to stores with at least 20 locations in a given state, so the results are mostly well-known franchise brands like Wawa and QuikTrip. Since gas stations vary by region, however, there are probably at least a few you’ve never heard of.

Based on coffee alone, it looks like Wawa is better than Sheetz. It serves the highest-rated coffee in six states, including Pennsylvania (where it was founded), New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Wawa might rule the mid-Atlantic, but Cumberland Farms reigns supreme in New England, where its coffee ranked highest in its home state of Massachusetts and four other northeastern states.

GasBuddy best coffee in every state map
GasBuddy

QuikTrip, not to be confused with Kwik Trip, tied Wawa with six states scattered across the country, from South Carolina to Arizona. California, not known for sticking to the status quo when it comes to chin curtain beards or anything else, is the only state willing to declare its love for 7-Eleven bean juice.

While people may have questioned the quality of gas station coffee in the past, that’s no longer the case. Frank Beard, a convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy, explained in a press release that gas station brands have responded to the demand for a one-stop-shop experience with “offerings that are competitive with national coffee brands, including sourcing premium coffee beans and making handcrafted espresso beverages.”

Today’s gas stations may boast top-notch coffee, hand-breaded fried chicken, and more, but here are some things you’ll no longer see there.

[h/t GasBuddy]

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