WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Four Palm Beach County cities — Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach — rank in the top 10 of 29 largest municipalities in the state for least expensive cost of living, according to a study by FloridaRentals.com.
Conversely, Tampa is ranked as the most expensive city with Miami the only South Florida in tyhe top 10.
Categories are leisure, groceries, clothing, transport, utilities, bills, child care, salaries. These factors were weighted against the average annual personal income in each city to create an index of the cheapest cities to live in Florida.
The least expensive city was Hollywood with a score of 61.29 followed by Fort Myers in second (60.19), Boca Raton third (59.76), Bradenton fourth (69.64), Melbourne fifth (58.72), Delray Beach sixth (57.59), West Palm Beach seventh (57.31), Boynton Beach eighth (57.26), Deerfield Beach ninth (56.32). Palm Coast 10th (56.20).
The 10 most expensive cities are: Tampa 29th (36.07), Gainesville 28th (41.76), Orlando 27th (44.48), Miami 26th (45.25), Sarasota 25th (47.39), Clearwater 24th (47.64), Kissimmee 23rd (48.71), Ocala 22nd (49.14), Penacola 21st (50.06), St. Petersburg 20th (50.25).
In the middle of the pack are: Capal Coral 11th least expensive (55.33), Deltona 12th (54.93), Port St. Lucie 13th (54.80), Daytona Beach 14th (53.67), Winter Haven 15th (52.52), Fort Lauderdale 16th (52.39), Tallahassee 17th (51.81), Lakeland 18th (50.64), Jacksonville 19th (50.60).
Boca Raton scores highest for clothing and utilities and bills. In Boca Raton, the average cost of a mobile phone monthly plan with calls and 10GB+ data is $43.
Tampa's leisure and transport are the costliest along the cities in the state.
The study noted housing costs can vary across Florida, with Miami, Tampa and Orlando tending to have higher housing costs compared to the more rural cities which offer more affordable housing options. Cost of utilities including electricity, water, and air conditioning, can also vary based on location, usage and the time of year.
“Florida is known for having a relatively diverse cost of living that can vary significantly depending on each specific city," a spokesperson for FloridaRentals.com said in a news releasae. "Whilst Hollywood’s annual personal income per capita is fairly high, at $73,522, other factors rank extremely well against this figure, which is why it ranks at the top spot. Fort Myers’ annual personal income per capita is $62,885 and its cheapest factor is clothing, with the average cost price of a summer dress in a high street retailer is $25.
The study used data from Census.gov, Numbeo and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the data set can befoun at Cheapest cities in Florida to live.xlsx (sharepoint.com)