Residents in Coffee County are among the highest earners in Alabama, according to a recently analysis by New York financial technology company SmartAsset.
The analysis was completed as part of the company’s study on the places with the most purchasing power. Coffee was ninth on the list of the top 10 counties in the state for median income. Of those top 10 counties, Coffee has the lowest cost of living.
Wiregrass Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Jonathan Tullos said a number of factors contributed to the good news in SmartAsset’s analysis.
“If you took Coffee County and drilled it down to just Enterprise, it’s even higher than that,” Tullos said. “Fort Rucker has a lot to do with that. Those average wages are much higher than the normal.
“But overall, what it means is we’ve done a good job recruiting and attracting good industry here. … I think it’s a good testament to the type of jobs that we’re able to bring in and have in the area.”
SmartAsset’s research indicated the county leading Alabama in median income is Shelby ($74,063), followed by Madison ($61,318) and Autauga (55,317).
Next is Elmore ($54,981), Saint Clair ($53,483), Limestone ($52,831) and Baldwin (52,562).
Rounding out the top 10 are Tuscaloosa ($50,513), Coffee ($49,821) and Jefferson ($49,321).
Tullos was just as excited about the low cost of living numbers, which translates to more purchasing power for people.
“The cost of living’s kind of indicative of the local governments, the cost of doing business, and then that leads to a better quality of life for people when they choose to live here,” Tullos said. “You couple that with the growth patterns. A few years ago Coffee County was like the fifth fastest-growing county in the state. That leads to why we’re growing.
“People can get a good job, have some disposable income, send their kids to good schools, and they can enjoy the different amenities that are here — close to the beach, not too far away from bigger cities if they want to go visit. There’s a lot of options.”
Coffee County’s cost of living was estimated at $34,056, according to SmartAsset. The other cost of living estimates for the top 10 counties are Shelby ($45,369), Madison ($38,492), Autauga ($38,483), Elmore ($38,560), Saint Clair ($39,137), Limestone (36,996), Baldwin ($39,465), Tuscaloosa ($37,495), and Jefferson ($35,832).
Cost of living in the study included factors like housing, food, taxes, education and childcare, transportation and healthcare.
“In general, I would say it’s probably, more than anything, just a testament to a lot of the things we see and we can’t really quantify or put numbers on,” Tullos said.
“It’s nice to see something like that in writing, when somebody goes and does the leg work and pulls the data together and compares us against our peers in the state. That’s a great thing.”
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