Different Ways to Interpret Local Data Behind a Recent US News Story


US News & World Report recently published a story on the Best Places to Retire for Less than $100 a Day.  We love stories that look at large datasets and drive the reader to a clear conclusion.  The data came from the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics and the results included cities with more than 140,000 where a retiree could cover his or her basic expenses for $36,500 per year.  The $100 a day included five major categories: housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and utilities.  Based on these requirements, their top 10 list included the following cities:

  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

We recognize that this type of content can drive traffic and awareness for your publication or company.  Consumers love to read these types of lists and share the content when their city or town is featured.

That being said, there’s a lot of ways to analyze local data.  So we took our aggregated local data at Onboard and pulled it through the same criteria as US News; midsize to large cities to find those with the lowest overall cost of living.  We used a “Market Basket" approach which compares the typical cost of goods in a number of categories including various food items, health services, energy / utility costs, apparel, select entertainment and housing.

With this slight change in methodology, we found 51 cities more affordable than those included on the list above including some pretty nice places like Madison, WI, Orlando, FL, Columbus, OH, and Austin, TX.

Brownsville and Laredo, both in Texas, tied for the least expensive cities within these parameters.  All of this demonstrates not only the power of local information, but the different ways you can splice and segment the data to tell a story.  What story are you trying to tell?  How can you differentiate your storyline and generate outcomes for your business?  The more sources you have to pull from, likely the more compelling that story will become for the end consumer.

Why is this all important?  It goes beyond accuracy.  This is important because it can have a real impact on your business.  If you use dynamic local content as part of your content marketing strategy like US News, or to fuel the content on landing pages to boost SEO, or to increase open rates on your drip marketing campaigns, you want that content to be accurate.   The more up-to-date the data, the more successful those initiatives will be because the content will "ring true" for the end user.

If you want to learn more about how local data can improve the outcomes of your marketing initiatives, contact us today.