"Imagine a store offering a range of goods and services, each for sale at the national-average price for that particular item," Chokshi writes. "Now, imagine a shopping cart filled with $100 worth of items from that store. In Hawaii, $100 buys about 85 percent of the goods in the cart thanks to the high prices there. In other words, $100 in Hawaii feels more like $85.60, compared to the national average. In Mississippi, the opposite is true. With $100, you would be able to buy the cart’s contents and more: the equivalent of $115.30 of goods and services from the national-average store."
A dollar "buys the least in the District of Columbia ($84.70), Hawaii, New York ($86.40), New Jersey ($87.30), California ($89) and Maryland ($90.70)," Chokshi writes. "The 'real value' of a dollar is highest in Mississippi, Arkansas ($114.30), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.60) and Kentucky ($112.70)," but those states have low per-capita incomes. (Map: Per-capita incomes after adjusting for purchasing power, based on the national average prices of a variety of goods and services)