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The Relative Value of $100 in Every American State and County

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Money at Face Value

Not all money is equal. Even though the face value of money stays relatively constant, the purchasing power that is behind it can differ wildly.

We know this intuitively with our personal experiences with things like inflation, but it is also true depending on where you are spending it. In an expensive metropolitan area it may cost more for ordinary goods, while in a rural place it may buy more than you may expect. Today’s charts use information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to look at data at the state and county level to see where money can get the most “bang for the buck” in purchasing most goods and services.

Hawaii and D.C. are Money Pits

Looking at the cost of living by state level (and including the District of Columbia), the most expensive places to live are: Hawaii, Washington D.C., New York, and New Jersey. California and Maryland are close behind.

In all of these places, on average, spending $100 will only get you about $85 of goods and services relative to the rest of the country.

Here it is mapped:

The Value of $100 by State
The best places to get bang for your buck? Each dollar goes further in the Midwest and the South. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and South Dakota are among the cheapest states to live.

More Granularity by County

The data becomes much more interesting as it becomes more granular. It also makes sense because most people in Washington State know that money goes further in Spokane in comparison to Seattle. In the big metropolitan areas, or parts of remote states such as Alaska or Hawaii, the cost of living goes up significantly.

Here’s the data by county mapped:

The Value of $100 by County
Here’s the five most expensive places in America:

1. Honolulu ($81.37)
2. New York-Newark-Jersey City ($81.83)
3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ($81.97)
4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk ($82.31)
5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($82.44)

The cheapest place? It looks like it is rural Mississippi where $100 can buy you more than $125 of goods.

Original graphics from: Tax Foundation

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Politics

Breaking Down $1.3T in NATO Defense Spending

The U.S. accounts for 68% of NATO’s total combined defense spending.

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Voronoi graphic breaking down $1.3T in NATO defense spending in 2023.

Breaking down $1.3T in NATO Defense Spending

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a political and military alliance comprising 31 countries. Its primary purpose is to facilitate cooperation among member nations, ensuring mutual defense and security.

This graphic breaks down the expected defense expenditures of NATO members in 2023, using data from NATO and based on current prices and exchange rates.

U.S. Dominance of NATO’s Defense Spending

NATO defines defense expenditure as payments made by a national government, excluding regional, local, and municipal authorities, specifically to fulfill the requirements of its armed forces. It requires members to spend at least 2% of its GDP on defense.

A major component of defense expenditure includes payments for active armed forces personnel as well as retired pensioners. Expenditures for stockpiling war reserves of military equipment or supplies are also included. Additionally, it encompasses expenditures for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, as well as the destruction of weapons.

The U.S. is by far the largest contributor to NATO’s budget. In 2023, the country accounted for $860 billion spent by the organization, representing 68% of the total expenditure. This amount is over 10 times more than that of the second-placed country, Germany.

Country2023 Defense Spending (USD, Millions)*
🇺🇸 United States$860,000
🇩🇪 Germany$68,080
🇬🇧 United Kingdom$65,763
🇫🇷 France$56,649
🇮🇹 Italy$31,585
🇵🇱 Poland$29,105
🇨🇦 Canada$28,950
🇪🇸 Spain$19,179
🇳🇱 Netherlands$16,741
🇹🇷 Türkiye$15,842
🇳🇴 Norway$8,814
🇷🇴 Romania$8,481
🇫🇮 Finland$7,325
🇬🇷 Greece$7,125
🇧🇪 Belgium$7,076
🇩🇰 Denmark$6,775
🇭🇺 Hungary$5,036
🇨🇿 Czechia$5,033
🇵🇹 Portugal$4,167
🌐 Other$12,400

*Expected spending in 2023, based on July 2023 data from NATO.

U.S. defense spending, within the context of NATO, aims to support European allies, deter adversaries like Russia, and gain access to additional military resources, among other objectives.

In 2018, then-President Trump sent letters to NATO allies demanding that they spend more on defense to meet the 2% minimum target. In recent years, however, the U.S. has increased its spending, experiencing a 6% jump compared to 2021.

The Future of NATO

After two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, NATO has mostly maintained its unity against Moscow.

The alliance has expanded with Finland’s membership in 2023 and will likely include Sweden soon.

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