$100 buys you less in Rappahannock than in major cities like Los Angeles

If you live in Rappahannock County, the $100 bill in your pocket isn’t as valuable as it appears.

According to the Washington-based Tax Foundation, which studied data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the actual value of $100 in Rappahannock County is $83.96.

So undervalued is a $100 bill here that out of the nation’s 3,142 counties and county-equivalents, Rappahannock is among some 40 counties in the entire nation where one finds the least purchasing power.

Places like Rappahannock where $100 is the most undervalued are concentrated around two large cities in the Northeast — Washington and New York — and surrounding San Francisco, according to the foundation.

But simply drive a few miles south out of Rappahannock into Madison County and $100 is worth up to $115.

Courtesy image

The real value of a $100 bill is the lowest in Honolulu ($80.32), followed by New York City ($82.03), San Francisco ($82.03), Rappahannock and several counties to our north and east surrounding Washington ($83.96), Los Angeles ($85.03), Boston ($90.66), and Seattle ($91.41).

As for getting the most bang for your buck . . . er, $100?

Actually, you don’t have to travel far to find the highest purchasing power in the entire United States — Beckley, W.V., where the real value of $100 is $125.47. However, the majority of large cities in the United States have a healthier dollar than rural Rappahannock County.

“[S]ome large cities do have relatively high purchasing power,” the Tax Foundation finds. “Cincinnati ($112.11), St. Louis ($110.38), and Charlotte ($106.95) are home to major companies, including Procter & Gamble (Ohio), Anheuser-Busch (Missouri), and Bank of America (North Carolina), and have metropolitan populations exceeding 1 million residents.”

Closer to home, besides Madison, $100 is worth up to $105 in Richmond and Charlottesville and their surrounding counties.

And where in the United States is $100 worth precisely $100?

That would be Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Naples, Fla.

“We are interested in this issue because it has important implications for economic policy; some areas are effectively richer or poorer than their nominal incomes suggest,” the Tax Foundation concludes of the study. “Many policies are based on income, like progressive taxes and means-tested federal benefits. If real incomes vary from place to place due to purchasing power, this matters for those policies.”

About John McCaslin 448 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.