The cost of living in the Baton Rouge metro area was 1% lower than the national average pre-pandemic but is 4.6% lower now, which indicates average prices haven’t increased as much locally as in much of the country, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber reports.
That’s not to say inflation isn’t a concern for Capital Region businesses and households, but the finding highlights the region’s relative affordability, which is one of its selling points in attempting to attract workers and investment.
“Look at Zillow; housing prices have gone up,” says Andrew Fitzgerald, BRAC’s senior vice president for business intelligence. “In Baton Rouge as well, just not at the insane pace of the rest of the country.”
Beyond housing, energy also is a key factor in that prices are up but still about 20% below the national average, he says. Fitzgerald also suggests Baton Rouge’s status as a logistics hub might somewhat alleviate supply chain issues locally, though he hasn’t seen research to support that theory.
In November, BRAC commissioned a survey with more than 1,500 respondents who lived in major U.S. metro areas. Data showed that 67% of business professionals under 45 viewed Baton Rouge’s reasonable cost of living as a positive feature, and the phrase “housing prices in Baton Rouge are significantly lower than the national average” had more positive impact than any other message tested on young professionals in every market, Fitzgerald says.
Researchers across the country at organizations like BRAC collect price data that is sent to the Council for Community and Economic Research, which aggregates the data to come up with average costs for each category and determines the cost of living for each participating metro compared to the national average.