NOTE – This is the second part of a series published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal regarding the upcoming sales tax election. Over the next several weeks we will look at among other things: what a sales tax represents, how the tax is derived, why parish officials state that an increase is needed, where the additional funds will be applied and when the new tax rate, if approved, will take effect. Today – How expensive is it to live in Jackson Parish?
Living in Louisiana is less expensive than it is on average across the U.S. as a whole. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, goods and services in the state cost 10.9% less than they do on average nationwide. Compared with all other states, Louisiana has the 10th lowest overall cost of living. Cost of Living in Jackson Parish is 12.8% lower than the National Average but increased 1.2% from a year ago. The largest increases were found in Transportation, Food, and Housing.
According to 247wallst.com the statewide average of the cost of living in dollars for a family of four was $72,727.00 and in Jackson Parish $66,909.87, which ranked as the 18th least expensive in the state. For single households in Jackson Parish the amount was $34,995.38 which ranked 31st in lowest cost.
The cost of living estimate is based on data related to five general categories: housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and energy. These are the universally recognized core components of any cost of living estimate and represent those expenses that apply to everyone. Obviously, there may be other factors that could contribute to your particular cost of living situation and not everyone has the same spending habits.
Two of these factors, transportation and food, weigh heavily in regard to a sales tax. In regard to transportation the average commute back and forth to work for Jackson Parish residents is 31.2 miles and 92% of commuters drive their own vehicle. This is compared to an 85.5% nationwide. On average the typical motorist in the state drives 10,538 miles a year. Taking into account an average cost per gallon price of $1.90 for 2020 that comes to $829.00 in money spent just on gas.
Food is another every day expense that has a significant impact on the overall cost of living in an area. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in Louisiana, a single adult spends an average of $3,119 on food annually, and a family of four spends $9,006 on average. For context, the nationwide average annual food expenditure is $3,240 for a single adult and $9,354 for a family of four.
Obviously, there may be other factors that could contribute to your particular cost of living situation and not everyone has the same spending habits. For instance, according to the livability.com website, 31.8% of Jackson Parish resident adults drank beer in the last six months, while 40.80% dined out at restaurant’s with an average of $539.00 per person being spent. Additional information shows that 11.2% of the parish population attended at least one sporting event last year, 8.2% visited a zoo, 6.4% attended a theater and 3.8% went to an art gallery.