Calculating Your Cost of Living:
Meet Greater Reading, PA

The Greater Reading Area’s cost of living is quite a bit lower than in a number of areas across the U.S. and the state of Pennsylvania as a whole. In places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and even the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area, the cost of living ranges from 10-20 percent higher than it is in the Greater Reading Area. Living in the Greater Reading Area is generally more affordable than many other areas, making it a wonderful place to start a career, raise a family, or retire.

Berks County Serves as an Affordable Haven for All

For the second time in two years, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) participated in the Cost of Living Index through Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).

Through government survey data on expenditure patterns, C2ER weighs the cost of living for the top fifth of earners in the area. There are six main categories that make up the Cost of Living Index:

Each of these categories and their weights contribute to a given area’s composite index, or, its cost of living number.

There are a total of 60 items used to score an area’s cost of living. Some of these items are standard: like gasoline, rent, a gallon of milk. However, some items are a bit more abstract, like a 3-pack of Penn Brand Tennis Balls, a pair of boy’s jeans, and yoga classes.

What Makes the Greater Reading Area So Affordable?

This year, the cost of living in Berks County, and the Reading MSA as a whole, has earned an 89.5 on a 100-point scale. Comparative to the rest of the nation, anything below 100 is considered to be more affordable than average, while anything above 100 is considered to be more expensive than average.

Berks County is proud to fall 11.5 points below average when it comes to affordability and cost of living, but what exactly is behind this number? For one, our housing costs play a large part.

As mentioned above, housing accounts for nearly 30 percent of an area’s total cost of living score. In Q3 of 2019, the Greater Reading Area’s housing score was 78.1, showing just how affordable housing can be in our community.

In recent years, Berk’s county’s cost of living score has been lower than it has been in prior years. This isn’t because prices of goods and services haven’t increased, but because they’ve increased at a much slower rate than the national average.

What Makes the Greater Reading Area So Affordable?

The Berks County area’s lower cost of living helps to highlight the community as a more affordable and better place to live, work, and do business.

If you’re looking for a higher quality-of-life, there’s no better place to get started than the Greater Reading Area. Whether you’re an employee looking for work, or an employer seeking the tools to attract the talent you want, you can find everything you need right here at home. Meet Greater Reading today.