What $100 Is Really Worth in Your State

iStock
iStock

How far can you stretch your dollar? Depends on where you're located in the U.S. The Tax Foundation has taken data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show the real value of $100 in each state. (We've also covered the D.C.-based think tank’s previously analyses, but the numbers changed ever-so-slightly year to year.)

The graphic below compares how much $100 is worth in goods compared to the national average. For instance, in high-price areas like California, New York, and D.C., your $100 is worth significantly less than the U.S. average—in those places, your money has the purchasing power of around $88.18, $86.70, and $85.47, respectively. If you live in Mississippi, meanwhile, your dollars go farther than in any other state. Your $100 is the equivalent of $116.01.

A color-coded map of the U.S. lists the real value of $100 in each state.
Tax Foundation

The data isn't surprising. People move from high-priced regions to cheaper areas of the country all the time. And it’s not just a matter of real estate. In Los Angeles, the average price of a beer is $3.64, but in New York, it’s $5.36, according to GoEuro’s annual Beer Index.

Cities, naturally, tend to be more expensive than rural places, so where you live within a state also has a pretty big impact. It’s much more expensive to live in Manhattan than to live in Syracuse, New York, or to live in Chicago versus downstate Illinois, as the Tax Foundation’s previous work has shown. This difference, however, is generally counter-balanced by the fact that expensive areas typically have higher salaries, too. Minimum wage laws, tax rates, and other factors also play a role.

It’s not just a theoretical exercise. A slight variation in the real value of your dollars can have a significant impact in your standard of living. The Tax Foundation explains:

Regional price differences are strikingly large; real purchasing power is 36 percent greater in Mississippi than it is in the District of Columbia. In other words, by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after-tax income in Mississippi, you would need after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.

The One-Day Record Snowfalls In Each State

Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images
Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images

Long after you’ve grown out of believing in magic, every thick, whirling snowstorm still seems to have been cast upon your town by a winter warlock (or Frozen’s resident ice queen, Elsa).

It’s also pretty magical when those inches of stacked snowflakes add up to a message from your manager telling you not to come into the office. In southern states like Georgia or Florida, sometimes all it takes is a light dusting.

But even those characteristically balmy places have hosted some serious snowstorms over the years, and David Cusick for House Method crunched the numbers to find out which ones made the record books. Using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information, Cusick created a map showing the one-day record snowfall for each state.

Florida finished in last place with a scant total of 4 inches, which occurred in Santa Rosa County on March 6, 1954. About two years before that, on January 14, 1952, Colorado had a staggering 76 inches—that’s more than 3 inches per hour—a national record that’s remained unchallenged for nearly 70 years.

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But other states have come close. The snowstorm that hit Colorado in 1952 wreaked almost as much havoc in California, whose record from the same day was 75 inches. And Washington saw 70 inches of snow in November 1955, beating its 52-inch record from 1935 by a full 18 inches.

Though Midwestern states have gained a reputation for harsh, snowy winters, their one-day record snowfalls are surprisingly moderate. The Illinois and Indiana records are 24 and 26 inches, respectively, both slightly lower than Ohio’s 30-inch snow day from 1901. In 1993, North Carolina bested Ohio’s record by 6 inches.

Wondering how your individual county’s record compares to the overall state one? Cusick created a map for that, too, which you can explore below.

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[h/t House Method]

Google Home vs. Alexa: Which Smart Device Does Your State Prefer?

Todd Williamson, Getty Images
Todd Williamson, Getty Images

If you're thinking of buying a loved one a smart home device for the holidays, you're likely considering two options: Google Home ($70)—a series of smart speakers from the tech giant—and Amazon Echo ($80)—which features the virtual voice assistant Alexa. You could do hours of research weighing the pros and cons of each gadget, or you could pick one based on where your giftee lives. The map below from ASecureLife.com breaks down where each state falls in the Google Home versus Alexa debate.

Map of Google Home vs. Alexa searches.
ASecureLife.com

To create the graphic, the home security company analyzed Google trends data related to searches for Google Home and Amazon Alexa in October 2019. The two terms are fairly evenly matched: Google Home just edges out Alexa with 51 percent of the total search volume nationwide compared to Alex's 49 percent.

The two devices are also spread out across the map. On the West Coast, California and Washington prefer Google, while Oregon likes Alexa. In the South, Alexa dominates Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina, while Google takes Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. New England is split between the two: Google wins New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and Alexa tops searches in Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont. You can check out the full map above.

Google Home and Amazon Echo share a lot of the same capabilities, like connecting with the internet and other devices to set the thermostat, turn off the lights, play music, and answer questions. If your home state's search trends aren't enough to convince you to choose one over the other, you may have to look at more obscure details, such as which one is better at understanding accents and which has the best jokes.

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