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TEXARKANA, Texas — The cost of living in Texarkana was lower than the national average through the first three months of the year, according to recent measurements.

Texarkana's first-quarter 2021 Cost of Living Index is 82.6, where a score of 100 represents the average of 265 urban areas nationwide, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

By contrast, the Manhattan borough of New York City, the city with the highest cost of living in the U.S., scored 240.6, more than 2.4 times the national average. Kalamazoo, Michigan, the least expensive city in the country, had a Cost of Living Index of 76.3.

The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households with top-20% incomes. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area.

The composite index is based on six component categories: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

A specific measurement of food cost, based on prices of 26 items, gives Texarkana a score of 94. Groceries cost the most in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a score of 157.9, and the least in Temple, Texas, with a score of 77.

The first-quarter report also ranked the cities where it is the most and least expensive to get a haircut. Texarkana's average rate was $17.50. Washington, D.C., topped the list at $44.60, and Harlingen, Texas, was least expensive at $10.

The Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce partnered with CCER to compile data and distributed the quarterly Cost of Living Index report locally on Wednesday.

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