cost of living

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cost of living,

amount of money needed to buy the goods and services necessary to maintain a specified standard of livingstandard of living,
level of consumption that an individual, group, or nation has achieved. The evaluation of a standard of living is relative, depending upon the judgment of the observer as to what constitutes a high or a low scale.
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. The cost of living is closely tied to rates of inflationinflation,
in economics, persistent and relatively large increase in the general price level of goods and services. Its opposite is deflation, a process of generally declining prices. The U.S.
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 and deflation. In estimating such costs, food, clothing, rent, fuel, lighting, and furnishings as well as expenses for communication, education, recreation, transportation, and medical services are generally included. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measurement of the cost of living prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tracks changes in retail prices of an average "market basket." Changes are compared to prices in a previously selected base year, from which figures the percentage increase or decrease in the cost of living can be calculated. In addition to changes over time, such analyses must also consider regional variations in the cost of living, and the relative weighting of the components of the index must be reappraised periodically. The CPI is based the spending habits of 14,000 households that are considered representative of the U.S. urban and metropolitan population; data collectors collect and compile some 80,000 price quotes monthly. The first attempt to gather data on the cost of living in the United States was made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1890. The dramatic increase in the rate of inflation during the 1970s led to the widespread use of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) in wage agreements, real estate leases, and such government benefits as social security. These adjustments are often made using the CPI.

Bibliography

See bibliography under standard of livingstandard of living,
level of consumption that an individual, group, or nation has achieved. The evaluation of a standard of living is relative, depending upon the judgment of the observer as to what constitutes a high or a low scale.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

cost of living

1. 
a. the basic cost of the food, clothing, shelter, and fuel necessary to maintain life, esp at a standard regarded as basic or minimal
b. (as modifier): the cost-of-living index
2. the average expenditure of a person or family in a given period
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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