So, you’re stuck with the classic problem of where to spend your $100 and your choices are Bangor, Lewiston, Portland or any of the untamed non-metropolitan areas in between.
Naturally, you’d consult the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. And here’s what the bureau would say: Go to Lewiston. Bangor’s not far behind. And the Portland area will cost you just a bit.
I can’t actually speak for the bureau, but the data — analyzed by the Tax Foundation for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas — speaks for itself.
It’s another look at how Maine’s purchasing power stacks up against other states, which I wrote about in more detail in April.
The Tax Foundation used the BEA’s price parity index figures to calculate the relative value of $100 in metro and non-metro areas across the country. The BEA has used those price parity indices to adjust its numbers on personal income, expenditures and other measures, allowing more meaningful comparisons between the states and cities.
At the national level, Maine’s in the bottom of half of states for what your $100 will buy. Compared with the average value of $100 in all metro and non-metro areas of the country, that amount of money will get you $101.73 worth of goods or services in Maine, according to the Tax Foundation’s accounting.
Compare that with South Dakota, where $100 will get you what’s worth $117.39 in the average state. If you’re wondering what average feels like, it’s something like Rhode Island or Vermont.
See how all of the states compare in this master bar chart: