Study: Shelby County residents have most purchasing power in state

 

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Residents of Shelby County have the highest purchasing power in Alabama, according to a study recently conducted by a national financial website.

The Smartasset.com website recently released its rankings of the top counties for purchasing power in each state in the country, and Shelby County edged out other areas such as Madison County, Limestone County and Coffee County to top the list.

Our study aims to find the places where average living expenses are most affordable to the people who live there,” read the website. “To find these counties, we looked at the cost of living relative to income to determine the purchasing power.

“First, we calculated two different cost of living numbers for a household with one adult and no dependents. One reflected the baseline cost of living in each area and the other was based on expenditures typical to someone making the county’s median income,” the site read. “We combined the two cost of living numbers using a weighted average based on how close each county’s median income was to the minimal livable income in that area. We then subtracted income taxes paid in that area. Finally, we calculated purchasing power by determining the weighted cost of living as a percentage of median income.”

According to the study, Shelby County has an average cost of living of $43,812, compared to a median income of $70,187. The two numbers help the county post a “purchasing power index” of 72.54 on the site.

Huntsville’s Madison County came in at No. 2 on the list, posting an average cost of living of $37,619, a median income of $57,993 and a purchasing power index of 69.80.

Limestone County, which is also in north Alabama, came in at No. 3 on the list, posting an average cost of living of $33,740, a median income of $49,570 and a purchasing power index of 66.52.

Coffee County in southeast Alabama came in at No. 4 on the list, recording an average cost of living of $32,267, a median income of $46,729 and a purchasing power index of 65.57.

Rounding out the top five was Dale County, also in southeast Alabama. Dale County posted an average cost of living of $31,269, a median income of $45,028 and a purchasing power index of 65.20.

To view the entire list, visit https://smartasset.com/mortgage/cost-of-living-calculator#alabama.