Q1 2024 Cost of Living Index

posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Blog


Waterloo/Cedar Falls, IA – June 11, 2024 – The latest Cost of Living Index (COLI) published quarterly by C2ER – The Council for Community and Economic Research, places the Cedar Valley at an impressive score of 84.7, significantly below the national average of 100. While metros like Chicago scored at 113.7 and Madison, WI scored 104.9. Approximately 261 urban areas in the U.S. participated in the first quarter of the 2024 Cost of Living Index.

This low cost of living in the six-county region of the Cedar Valley is a substantial advantage for business owners and their workforce, highlighting the Cedar Valley as an ideal location for both establishing and growing a business.

Composite Index Breakdown (100 = average):

Housing: 74.1

Utilities: 81.6

The composite index is based on six component categories: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. These comprehensive categories provide a detailed overview of the cost differences across regions, offering businesses a clear picture of operational and living expenses in the Cedar Valley.

Utility Bills and Innovations: The Cedar Valley’s utility costs are among the lowest in the nation, thanks to innovative methods for utility rate collection. The COLI team has adopted Rate Acuity’s utility rate database to estimate monthly bills with greater accuracy and efficiency, ensuring business owners can budget more effectively. As utility bills can vary significantly across the country, the Cedar Valley’s low utility costs provide a competitive edge. Cities in the Western U.S., like Honolulu, Oakland, and San Francisco, face the highest utility bills.

The Cedar Valley ranks at 18.4% lower than the U.S. average for utility bills, standing out as an affordable place for businesses and their employees.

Quarter One 2024 Review: The first quarter of 2024 reaffirms the Cedar Valley’s position as a cost-effective place to live and work, with particularly low housing and utility costs. This favorable economic environment supports business growth and employee satisfaction, making the Cedar Valley an appealing choice for business relocation and expansion.

Benefits for Business Owners and Workforce:

Lower Overheads: Reduced housing and utility costs mean lower overheads for businesses.

Employee Attraction and Retention: Affordable living can help attract and retain a talented workforce, reducing turnover and training costs.

Quality of Life: Lower living expenses contribute to a higher quality of life for employees, boosting morale and productivity.

Explore More with Our Cost of Living Calculator: For business owners and their workforce interested in exploring how the Cedar Valley compares to other regions, visit to use our cost of living calculator. This tool offers personalized insights into potential cost savings and quality of life improvements.


Nicole Sallis
Director of Marketing and Communications 

Grow Cedar Valley