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Federal data outlines spending in Alaska, Hawaii

By Associated Press 3:01 PM August 7, 2014

Remember the tag lines at the end of restaurant commercials that say the food advertised might be higher in Alaska or Hawaii?

New government data proves it is.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday released data showing spending by the average in each of the 50 states from 1997 to 2012, including how much we spend on eating out.

Here’s 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) It costs more to eat out. Last year, Alaska led the nation for per capita spending for food consumed outside the home. Alaskans spent an average of $3,852 per person, or $15,408 for a family of four to eat at restaurants. 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 expenditures on gasoline or energy goods, 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 and 2012. 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.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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