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The housing visible out my window in Kingman is a bargain compared to California and Lake Havasu City.

According to rankings by Sperling, a data company comparing cost of living, Lake Havasu City has the highest cost of living in Arizona. It was a surprise to see Havasu ranked more expensive than Phoenix, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale. Kingman and Bullhead City are both ranked among the 10 lowest cost of living in Arizona.

Different numbers on the cost of housing in the two cities cause them to flip-flop positions.

 

Cost of Living data is gathered from public sources and indexed to a national average. The index numbers are used in the comparisons rather than the actual dollar costs. For example, the index data for groceries are 94 for Kingman and Bullhead City and 93 for Lake Havasu City with 100 the USA average. Individual citizen’s actual grocery costs would vary widely by personal tastes, family income and buying habits. A common set of purchases is used in the data for comparison.

The six categories used are Services, Groceries, Health Care, Housing, Transportation and Utilities. Housing cost is usually the most variable and a key for those retirees who are making relocation choices. If a job, schools, family or other factors determine the location where one will live, cost of living may be a part of the decision that is based more on other factors. Not everyone has options to choose a location with a lower cost of living.

All the numbers for Services, Groceries, Health Care, Transportation and Utilities are the same for Kingman and Bullhead City. Some would question the Utilities number based on air conditioning costs during the hot months. Likely, someone unfamiliar with local conditions would just compare electrical rates, not actual use. All such broad comparison across a nation reaching from ocean to ocean must be a guide only.

Household income averages in Kingman and Bullhead City compared with USA averages paint an interesting picture. Local areas are well above USA averages in some income brackets and lower in the higher brackets. Almost 25 percent of USA households are in the top three brackets beginning at $100,000, then $100,000 to $200.000 and over $200,000. Kingman has 9.99 percent of households and Bullhead City has 8.55 percent in the top three.

Bullhead City and Kingman exceed USA averages in the middle income of $50K to $60K and $69K to $75K. The USA percent of households in this bracket is 17 percent; Bullhead City is 19 percent and Kingman 23.4 percent. These are mostly government employees with long service in schools, federal agencies, local and state governments, and health fields.

The local cities have higher numbers of citizens in households with income under $20,000 than the USA at 6.8 percent. Kingman is at 9.4 percent and Bullhead City at 9.6.

All this data may be a place to research, but many individual needs, personal preferences and realistic limitations are the factors that will dictate the choice made.

There is an old cliché from an earlier era that still applies to these choices. A family with their possessions and family aboard a wagon pulled into the new town to relocate. The local person there to welcome people asked, “Why are moving?” The reply was, “We thought the last place could be changed to just what we wanted.”

The man with the welcome smile replied, “Better you try the next town because the result will be the same here as in the last one.”

When the next wagon arrived, the newcomers were asked the same question. The man in the driver’s seat answered, “Oh, we liked it fine, but our circumstances changed and led us to relocate.”

The man who asked the question, replied, “Then you will find this a place you can call home.”

The moral is simple. Do not choose a place to live to change it to suit your desires. Find another place. Most residents like where they live just as it is. Those who do not tend to move on.

It is like a marriage. When one or both partners expect to change the spouse to suit their standards, divorce is written in the stars.

Note: Dr. Robertson’s book “From the Cross to Pentecost” is a great read during the Easter to Pentecost time. Book or eBook is available on Amazon or check www.marvinswindow.com.

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