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What is the Cost of Living Index (COLI)?

FCEDC subscribes to the Cost of Living Index (COLI) produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). The Cost of Living Index by C2ER is the most reliable source of city-to-city comparisons of key consumer costs available anywhere for about 300 cities or MSAs. COLI data is recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau , U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

COLI is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items.  C2ER separates the data into six different categories:

  • grocery items (26 food and household related items)
  • housing (mortgage rates, new home purchase, apartment rent)
  • utilities (electricity, natural gas, telephone)
  • transportation (gasoline, auto maintenance)
  • health care (doctor, optometrist, & dentist visits; prescription and non-prescription drugs)
  • miscellaneous goods and services (fast food, haircuts, clothing, dry cleaning, entertainment, vet services, appliance repair)

These index items have been carefully chosen to reflect the different categories of consumer expenditures. Weights assigned to relative costs are based on government survey data for expenditure patterns for mid-management households. All items are priced in each participating city/MSA on a quarterly basis and according to standardized specifications.  When the six categories are combined, a composite index is generated for a regional area such as Fond du Lac County.

Why is it important?

A lower cost of living attracts PEOPLE and BUSINESSES.

If it costs less to live in Fond du Lac County, in addition to other quality of life benefits, attracting workforce talent can be easier.   How does a new job offer here in the Fond du Lac area compare to one elsewhere?   If cost of living in Fond du Lac County is more favorable for a company’s employees, the chances of attracting that new company may also increase.

Current COLI Data

Quarter after quarter, the Fond du Lac area continues to be a very affordable place to live, work and raise a family. 

COLI Composite Index 2017 Annual Average        Percent above or below the National Average of 100
95.1 4.9% BELOW

Comparison with Other Cities/Counties in Wisconsin

Fond du Lac County’s overall cost of living is very similar to other participating Wisconsin locations, apart from Madison which represent a larger urban center.  Each quarterly report is unique and is not compared to previous quarters due to normal fluctuations in the number of participants collecting information and individual items prices within categories.

Place (Metro Area) Composite Index Grocery Items Housing Utilities Transportation Health Care Miscellaneous Goods & Services
Eau Claire, WI 94.8 92.8 79.6 106.8 110.8 109.8 98.0
Fond du Lac, WI 95.1 100.8 81.2 98.7 97.9 115.8 100.3
Madison, WI 108.5 102.1 110.1 106.7 108.7 120.2 108.9
Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield, WI 91.7 95.1 80.4 91.4 97.3 111.2 95.6