Mason City ranks favorably among Iowa communities in the most recent Cost of Living
Index Report, which averaged data submitted in 2018. Each quarter, chamber staff
members collect data to assist the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) in producing the quarterly index. Raw data from 270 metropolitan and micropolitan areas across the United States is analyzed to compare the cost of living in various geographic locations. The index is based on six components—housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.
Mason City has an index of 88.0. By comparison, Manhattan in New York City—the most
expensive place to live—has an index of 248.5. The least expensive locale in the study is
Harlingen, TX with an index of 75.8.