A few days ago, I came across a report that said that the greater Worcester metropolitan area has the third highest highest adjusted median household income in the nation. The way that number was arrived at was by comparing the median household income to the cost of living index. Here’s basically how it works:
A city with a high COLI [cost of living index], then, has high prices for things like housing and food, and a low COLI likewise denotes a relatively inexpensive city. These disparate costs of living can mean that a salary in one city has a far different value than the same amount of money in another city. In other words, a worker making roughly $63,000 in expensive New York City has an adjusted income of around $35,000, whereas a worker earning $63,000 in the more affordable Worcester, Mass., has an adjusted income of nearly twice that–just over $61,000.
I tend to be sceptical of these kinds of reports for a few reasons:
- The upshot of every single livability report seems to always be that it’s great to live in Des Moines (which was, of course, at the top of the list).
- It’s never clear what the Worcester metro area comprises. Westboro? Shrewsbury? Holden?
- It also seems that the list was somewhat skewed. The DC Metro area was #2 on this list, but it had a 2009 median income of $85,168 that (with the cost of living adjustments) became a ‘real’ income of $61,449. But that means that you’re really making more than $20,000 less than your paycheck says. It only looks like you’re making more when compared to other metro areas.
I was waiting for this report to get picked up in the Telegram, because these kinds of articles are really best read in the context of the comments. To that end, Brian says:
Worcester, MA is all about mediocrety. It’s an industrial dump.
Because nothing says mediocrity like misspelling it!