Bozeman’s new mayor, Carson Taylor, has probed interest from residents and city officials to see how they would react to a potential minimum wage hike in town. The query comes in response to the cost of living in Bozeman, coupled with its average wages.
Bozeman’s cost of living is slightly above average. Bozeman’s score for 2015 hit 102.7. An average cost of living scores a 100 flat, so Bozeman’s cost of living is 2.7% above the national average. Last year, Bozeman living sat at 0.8% above the national average. Manhattan, New York has an average cost of living at 27% above the national average.
The report researched six different categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and goods and services.
Housing affordability has been one of Bozeman’s major obstacles as its grown. Housing costs were 12.9% above the national average. Low utility rates, 15% below average, helped bring Bozeman to a more average level.
However, once coupled with wage growth in Bozeman, the city may actually be less affordable than it appears on the surface. Bozeman’s wages sit at about 73% of national averages due to its high tourism, university jobs, and its status as retail center for Gallatin Valley. All of these sectors offer few full time jobs, often at lower pay grades. Once wage-adjusted, Bozeman’s cost of living increases to 140.1, or 40% above the national average.
Bozeman makes up for its costs with its amenities. Bozeman has been honored as one of the nation’s most livable places as well as a a top 16 worldwide destination. Its activities and its community continue to counteract above average costs. Although the cost of living may appear daunting, Bozeman’s economic growth bodes extremely well for wage growth in the future. As businesses continue to find great success in the area, competition will increase for qualified employees, helping job hunters negotiate for higher wages going forward.