Over the weekend, Congress finally came to an agreement on a new stimulus package intended to fight the ongoing economic turmoil stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. One of the major features of the bill, which is expected to see a vote late Monday, is a $600 direct payment to most adults in the US, along with an extra $600 per child to families.Of course, $600 will go a lot further in some parts of the country than others.The US Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released its latest cost-of-living estimates across US as of 2019. These “regional price parities” show how expensive goods and services are in different states, relative to the national average.We can use the regional price parities to get an idea of how much $600 is actually worth to consumers in each state. The BEA releases price parities every year, indexed to a national average of 100, with values for a state below 100 indicating a lower cost of living than the national average and values higher than 100 meaning more expensive than average goods and services.
In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, New York State had a regional price parity of 116.3, meaning that prices in the state tended to be about 16.3% higher than average. Given that, $600 at the national average price level would be worth just $516 in the Empire State.Meanwhile, Arkansas had a regional price parity of 84.7, meaning that prices in that state were about 15.3% lower than the national average. So, a $600 stimulus check at the national average price would be worth $708 in Arkansas after this cost-of-living adjustment.Following the same logic, this map shows how far a $600 stimulus check would go in each state. Hover over a state to see the regional-price-parity-adjusted value of $600 in that state: