Federal data outlines spending in Alaska, Hawaii


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Residents in Alaska and Hawaii probably always felt they paid more for their food, and now data from the government proves it’s true.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released data Thursday showing where consumers spend the most money in each of the 50 states from 1997-2012, including how much is spent on food.

Here are five probably not-so-surprising trends from the data as it applies to the nation’s only two states not connected to the mainland:

1. Food is expensive when it has to be shipped. In 2012, Alaska led the nation for per-capita spending for groceries. Alaskans spent an average $3,852 per person. Hawaii had the third highest per-capita spending at $3,615.

2. When the weather is mostly perfect and you live on an island, things are good for your pocketbook. The analysis shows Hawaii residents spent the least of anyone in the nation when it comes to gasoline or energy, at $882 per person. Surprisingly, Alaska — considered to be the nation’s coldest state — didn’t even crack the top four of highest expenditures. North Dakota led the category, followed by Wyoming, South Dakota and Maine.

3. It’s expensive to live in Hawaii. The survey says residents of the 50th state spent $10,002 annually on housing and utilities in 2012, putting it only behind the $11,985 spent by residents of the District of Columbia.

4. Alaskans shell out a lot for health care. The data puts Alaska into third place for highest per capital spending in 2012 for health care, at $8,173, putting the Last Frontier only behind the District of Columbia and Massachusetts for out-of-pocket expenses.

5. Slow growth. Hawaii had the second slowest growth in per capita spending between 2011-12. Newly oil-rich North Dakota led the nation at 9.2 percent growth. Wyoming had the lowest at 1.4 percent growth, and Hawaii was right behind. The national average for states was 3.3 percent.

 

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