Alaska’s cost of living bumped up over in the last year while Kodiak is still ranks as one the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live.
According to a report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Economic Development, Alaska was the fourth costliest state in the country, behind Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut.
The ADOL used data from a cost of living survey from the Council for Community and Economic Research. In it, Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Kodiak were sampled for cost of living data and were compared to 300 other American cities.
The consumer price index, which measures simply prices in Anchorage, maintains that $1,000 from 2000 would purchase $1,141 worth of goods in 2013.
The council’s survey tends to give a better idea of what it costs to live in the rest of the state.
“Unlike other surveys, this one created market baskets and weights for each community, making it useful for looking at the overall difference in cost of living between places as well as comparing items within specific categories,” the DOL report said.
“The costs of living in Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Kodiak were well above the 300-city average. Anchorage weighed in at 127.0, or 27 percent above the national average. Fairbanks registered 136.4, Juneau was 130.9, and Kodiak measured 133.1. Alaska’s communities weren’t the highest in the country, though — nine places had index values higher than anywhere in Alaska,” the report added.
Kodiak’s cost of living is still way up there, and depending on the indicator, is one of the highest places to live not only in the state, but in the U.S. as well.
“The average Kodiakan spends 40 percent more for groceries than the average American does. Utilities are 60 percent above than the national average, you know, transportation, healthcare, all those things,” said Neal Fried, Alaska Dept. of Labor economist in Anchorage.
“Kodiak is a little more remote than the community on the road system. So given its size, I guess you could argue that Kodiak is urban, but off the road system. That means its cost of living typically will be higher than other communities in the state that are on the road system like Fairbanks or Anchorage and places like that,” Fried said.
Fried reports that real estate — the cost of housing — has the biggest impact on cost of living data. Its weight comprises roughly a third to 40 percent of a family’s expenses.
In terms of rentals Kodiak came out highest among other Alaskan cities and way above the U.S. average.
The average cost for a two-bedroom apartment in Kodiak is $1,461 per month. Juneau was Alaska’s next-highest rental rate at $1,407. The U.S. average was $893, with the U.S. high at $3,783 per month.
Other interesting measures in this study was the cost of gas – Kodiak was highest in Alaska at $4.34. The U.S. average was $3.44.
One area where Kodiak was very inexpensive was movie tickets – at $6 on average versus $11.33 in Fairbanks and $10.68 in Anchorage. The U.S. average was $9.42.
“It looks like a good place to go to the movies,” said Fried.
Kodiak, however, has the highest average cost of men’s haircuts anywhere.
“According to this study, Kodiak has the highest cost of haircuts in the country,” said Fried -- $26.67, versus the average in U.S. cities of $13.95.
Contact Peter J. Mladineo at email@example.com