Urban and Rural Cost of Living Difference

This debate endures mainly due to the limitations of existing data and methodologies for making geographic COL adjustments to well-being metrics. For instance, these technical issues have been for decades and remain a focal point of efforts to improve upon Federal measures of poverty. Capturing and making adjustments for geographic differences in COL has consistently been identified as "one of the most troublesome concepts of poverty measurement" (GAO, 1997). To make advances on this issue, the current OMB working group on alternative poverty measures, to which Farrigan is a contributor, has identified the need for more COL empirical work and particularly studies that test the utility of lesser-explored datasets and approaches (unpublished interim report 2020). This project will meet that need by uniquely applying a living wage approach and corresponding dataset to identify and examine the circumstances of the cost of living differences across rural and urban areas. In doing so, we will address several outstanding research questions relevant to rural economies and rural household well-being.