Mason City continues good rating for cost of living in latest survey

MASON CITY — Mason City continues to rank favorably among Midwest communities in the most recent Cost of Living Index Report. The Mason City Chamber of Commerce participates in research to assist the Council for Community and Economic Research in producing their quarterly index report that analyzes 267 metropolitan and micropolitan areas to compare the cost of living. The index is based on the average pricing of 60 different items.

Chamber president Robin Anderson says Mason City’s score of 87.9 compared favorably to similar-sized Iowa communities. A score of 100 represents the national average, while scores below that indicate a lower-than-average cost.  “I think it’s important for people to remember that, especially when it’s so bitterly cold here that people may wonder why they live here, but it’s important to remember it’s really a good value. When we go to the grocery store, when we go to the gas pump, even though we are seeing increases, we are not paying the prices that they are in other parts of the country.”

Anderson says health care costs continue to be lower than the national average.  “When you look at the quality of healthcare here, and the fact that we have a Top 100 hospital and a Top 100 in several individual departments, you are getting quality care for a lower price, so that’s a big value.”

Anderson says utility costs continue to be a concern in the quarterly assessment.  “Our utilities continue to be a little bit higher, and that’s something we battle in economic development all the time, but overall, when you look at our cost of housing and some of our other costs, I think it’s a good tradeoff.”

Comparing Mason City’s score of 87.9 to other communities, Burlington’s index was at 84.7, Dubuque was at 89.3, Sioux City was at 90.1, Iowa City was at 94.7 and Ames was at 95.9.