Jefferson County scored favorably in a newly published Smartasset study on places in Wisconsin with the most favorable costs of living — ranking ninth out of the state’s 72 counties.
Jefferson County’s cost of living was listed at $38,703 annually, while the median income was $66,291. By comparison, Waukesha County, which was ranked first in the state, had a cost of living of $47,616, with a median income of 87,277.
Dodge County was ranked 24th in Wisconsin, with people there earning a median income of $60,652, with a cost of living of $38,938.
Coming in just behind Jefferson County, at 10th in the state, was Kewaunee County, with a cost of living of $37,949 and a median income of $61,747. Ahead of Jefferson County, in eight place, was Columbia County, with a cost of living of $39,995, but a median income of $68,005.
As a national reference point, a person would need to earn $82,345 in New York City to have the same standard of living that $64,773 provides in Sun Prairie.
The cost of living calculator used by Smartasset looked at living expenses such as housing, food, taxes, education and childcare, transportation, healthcare and items such as clothes and cleaning supplies.
“Understanding the cost of living in a given place helps you make an informed decision about the salary you’ll need to maintain the same standard of living,” Smartasset said.
Explaining its methodology, Smartasset said the study identifies the places where average living expenses are most affordable for the people living there.
“To find these places, we measured the cost of living relative to income to determine the purchasing power in each county,” Smartasset said. “We calculated two different cost of living metrics for a household with one adult and no dependents. One reflected the baseline cost of living in each location and the other reflected expenditures typical to someone making the county’s median income. We combined these two numbers using a weighted average based on how close each county’s median income was to the minimum livable income in that area. We then subtracted income taxes paid in that area.”
Finally, according to Smartasset, they calculated purchasing power in each county by determining the weighted cost of living as a percentage of median income. The top locations were those with the highest median income relative to the cost of living.
Smartasset describes itself as, “a financial technology company aiming to provide the best personal finance advice on the web.” It offers free and personalized tools to empower people to make smart personal finance decisions around home-buying, investing, retirement, taxes and more.