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White House challenges analysis

The analysis, which examines the changing costs of food, shelter, transportation and energy, found that, compared to January 2021, in November, the average American household paid $940 more for these basic necessities.

Transportation remains the biggest spending category, with families spending an additional $266 in November — perhaps driven by the rising costs of owning and operating a car. But the costs of other categories have also risen by at least $100.

The Biden administration has responded to the analysis, calling it “flawed,” and pointing to federal labor data that indicates consumers now have higher incomes than they did about three years ago.

"Fourteen million more Americans have jobs today than when President Biden took office and household disposable income is up by almost $21,000 since December 2020," a White House spokesman told CBS MoneyWatch.

However, whether those gains have been enough to offset rising prices is another question. Inflation has jumped 17% since the beginning of 2021 — eclipsing the 13.6% gain in wages during the same period, reports CBS MoneyWatch.

Looking at the data, that means that if you want to afford the same quality of life you managed over two years ago, you’ll need extra funds. But exactly how much extra it’ll cost you depends on where you live. Here are the three states where you’ll have to pay the most to achieve the same standard of living.

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There’s a major wealth chasm in the Grand Canyon State, where inflation has skyrocketed by nearly 20%. Households can expect to cough up $12,891 more for the same goods and services they purchased a couple years ago.

Arizona is considered one of the most expensive states to live in 2023, according to a CNBC ranking, which points to the state’s ongoing housing crunch. In November, shelter costs climbed by $242, just behind transportation costs, which went up by $292.

Arizona is grappling with a shortage of 270,000 housing units, according to the latest estimate from the Arizona Department of Housing, keeping prices high along with mortgage rates.


Utah might not be one of the first states to come to mind when you think of the rising cost of living in America — but you can expect to shell out an extra $14,074 for the basics today compared to the beginning of 2021.

Housing is pretty expensive, especially as strong job opportunities in Utah draw more workers. The average home value is around $502,000 in the Beehive State, well over the national average of $346,000, says Zillow.

But transportation was still the biggest spending category in Utah, with households spending a whopping $318 more in November. The state is also known for having one of the highest rates of car ownership in the U.S., with nearly a third of residents owning three vehicles or more, according to Forbes Advisor.

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It’s no secret that Colorado’s one of the costliest states to live in — residents are paying $14,502 more than they did a couple years ago for their everyday costs.

Like in Utah, transportation makes up the biggest spending category in the state. That may come as no surprise, considering the Centennial State is considered one of the most expensive states for owning a car and dealing with car repairs, according to Forbes Advisor.

The state has also seen more wildfires of late — with state officials estimating half the population resides in high-risk areas, driving insurance costs up by more than 50% over the past three years, reports the Colorado Public Radio.


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About the Author

Serah Louis

Serah Louis


Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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