Stats reveal Craig an affordable place to live

Cost of living scores

• Craig:

Housing: 88

Food: 111

Utilities: 91

Transportation: 93

Health: 102

Miscellaneous: 98

Composite: 95

• Steamboat Springs:

Housing: 254

Food: 110

Utilities: 88

Transportation: 92

Health: 105

Miscellaneous: 97

Composite: 153

• Meeker:

Housing: 97

Food: 110

Utilities: 89

Transportation: 95

Health: 101

Miscellaneous: 100

Composite: 99

• Hayden:

Housing: 108

Food: 110

Utilities: 88

Transportation: 92

Health: 105

Miscellaneous: 97

Composite: 102

• Rangely:

Housing: 76

Food: 110

Utilities: 89

Transportation: 95

Health: 101

Miscellaneous: 100

Composite: 91

• Dinosaur:

Housing: 31

Food: 111

Utilities: 91

Transportation: 93

Health: 102

Miscellaneous: 98

Composite: 75

• Rawlins, Wyo.:

Housing: 50

Food: 103

Utilities: 80

Transportation: 75

Health: 97

Miscellaneous: 98

Composite: 77

— For all categories, the national average is 100. A score under 100 indicates the items within a category are more affordable, while a higher score indicates they are less affordable.

— Source: Sperling’s Best Places, www.bestplaces.ne...

Craig is below the national average in four of six cost of living categories, according to statistics used in the latest Yampa Valley Partners Regional Economic Forecast.

The main factor behind the city’s cheaper cost of living is housing, Yampa Valley Partners Executive Director Kate Nowak said.

“Mostly it’s housing,” she said. “Housing is such a big component of anybody’s budget. It’s usually a fourth to a third of anybody’s income that they’re spending on housing.”

The statistics YVP used in the quarterly newsletter are from Sperling’s Best Places, which uses a cost of living index to compare prices in six categories — food, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous.

Each is ranked on a comparative scale, with 100 being the national average. The six categories are then used to create a composite score.

Craig’s composite score is 95, five points below the national average and nearly 60 points below Steamboat Springs’ composite of 153.

The two cities are within three points in all categories except housing, in which Craig has a score of 88 and Steamboat has a score of 254.

As an example, Nowak pointed to statistics used in the newsletter regarding housing prices late last year.

In November, the median house price in Moffat County was $210,000. Comparatively, Steamboat’s median house price was $495,000.

The composite scores of Dinosaur, 75, and Rawlins, Wyo., 77, are largely due to affordable housing.

Rangely, 91, Meeker, 99, and Hayden, 102, had composite scores in the same neighborhood as Craig.

Nowak said food costs also have a large bearing on the composite score.

Craig rated 11 points above the national average and one point above Steamboat in food costs.

In other cities in the region, the food cost was at a similar rate above the national average, a trend Nowak attributed to location.

“Food obviously costs more up here simply because we’re in a remote area, we’ve got to truck it in,” she said.

Otherwise, she said, Craig is still at an affordable rate.

Health costs in Craig are two points above the national average, but other categories all are below the 100 mark. Utilities scored 91, transportation 93, and miscellaneous 98.

“Our utilities are low and they’re low across the board (regionally),” Nowak said. “Transportation (cost) is fairly reasonable, health costs are right around 100 and any of the miscellaneous, which are any other household expenses you might have, are pretty much in line.”

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