MASON CITY, Iowa - A new report released Wednesday shows that Mason City is an affordable place to live.
The Cost of Living Index Report consists of 269 metropolitan and micropolitan areas in the country, and lists scores based on six factors, including housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care and goods and services. Data is gathered from every participating community for each quarter throughout the year, with an average determined at the end of the year.
In Iowa, Mason City has a composite score of 88.4, second only after Burlington's 84.2. The Quad Cities were the most expensive, with a 96.3 score, followed by Cedar Rapids' 95.0. In addition, Mason City is affordable compared to nearby cities in the Upper Midwest: Mankato and St. Cloud, both in Minnesota, had scores of 93.7 and 95.8, respectively, while Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had a score of 99.5.
Mike Petersen has lived in Mason City his whole life, and says life is pretty comfortable here.
"There's a lot around here. I don't think we're short of anywhere else as far as things to do and places to go," Petersen says.
According to Mason City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robin Anderson, the city is consistently rated one of the more cost-effective places to live.
"Mason City's housing, groceries and health care are significantly lower than other Iowa communities and other similarly-sized cities in the Midwest," Anderson says.
As such, the score is an important factor in business relocation and to attract workers to the area.
All in all, Petersen is happy to stay right where he is.
"I don't like really big cities and the congested feel. I like where Mason City is right now," Petersen says.