Where can you get the best bang for your buck? Definitely not here in New Jersey, according to an analysis of federal data by the Tax Foundation.


A $100 bill in New Jersey, the report states, would get you the same goods and services that cost $87.34 in a state at the national average price level.

Essentially, you're about 13 percent poorer than your income suggests.

"New Jersey is towards the expensive end," said Tax Foundation economist Alan Cole. "The main factor involved in that is that New Jersey is the most densely populated state."

With that distinction comes higher prices for relatively scarce land, meaning higher price levels for living expenses such as rent.

"Every single store that you go to, restaurants — those businesses are also paying high rent," Cole explained. "And they pass along some of those costs to you."

So going to the movies, for example, will be more expensive in New Jersey than a state like Kansas where $100 is really worth $110.38.

Your money would be worth less in the District of Columbia, Hawaii and New York. It would get you the most in Mississippi, followed by Arkansas, Alabama and South Dakota.

Despite New Jersey's poor ranking, the cost of goods is only about 2 percent higher than the national average, the report notes.

"That's because it's pretty easy to ship things to New Jersey," Cole said. "It's pretty easy to get there and gas doesn't cost that much."

The analysis used data from the personal consumption expenditures index collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.