June 23, 2022
Greta Kaul and Walker Orenstein
Across the state, Minnesotans are concerned with the rising cost of living.
Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics again announced record levels of inflation, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of the cost of things people buy, up 8.7 percent from a year ago in the Twin Cities area.
Some of the most rapid rises in price were in things households need: groceries, household energy, and motor vehicle gas were up 14 percent, 40 percent and 47 percent, respectively, over this time last year.
A recent MinnPost poll found widespread concern over the cost of groceries, gas and more among Minnesotans. But those worries were more acute in Greater Minnesota, where more people live in rural areas and where a huge 79 percent of respondents said they felt their incomes were falling behind the cost of living, compared to 72 percent of Twin Cities residents.
Data on inflation in rural areas is sparse. The CPI focuses on tracking inflation in urban areas by looking at the change in the price of goods, weighted on how much they factor into urban household budgets.
But while we don’t have great data on how inflation affects rural residents, economists say it’s probably pinching households more, on average, in rural parts of Greater Minnesota than the cities due to lower wages, logistics and what people spend their money on.