In connection with the rise in inflation, here’s what has risen in price in Seattle and what has not.

Inflation is on everyone’s mind these days. We’ve all seen the news about the soaring CPI that started to rise in May – but what exactly does that mean for your trip to your local supermarket or mall? What goods and services in Seattle have been affected the most?

To find out, I turned to the Cost of Living Index, which is published quarterly by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Arlington, Virginia, a nonprofit research and policy organization. For over 50 years, the Cost of Living Index, or COLI, has measured the cost of various consumer goods and services in hundreds of US cities on a quarterly basis.

COLI researchers collect their data over the same three-day period every quarter. For a city the size of Seattle, COLI researchers collect up to 10 price samples for each item if possible. They are given detailed instructions on how to select each item (e.g. brand, size, etc.) to ensure that items are as comparable as possible across cities. Taxes are not included in the price.

Typically, this data is used to compare the cost of living in one city with another. But in this column, I compared Seattle to myself. I looked at prices from the just released Q3 2021 data (July to September) and from the same release a year earlier.

Seattle data shows that 32 of the 57 items surveyed by the COLI survey have risen over the past year, with many of them rising significantly. Despite this, the remaining 25 items dropped in price or remained the same.


The biggest growth recorded in the data is in the cost of gasoline, which probably won’t surprise anyone. US gasoline prices hit a seven-year high. According to new figures, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline typically costs $ 4.21 in Seattle, up $ 1.35 from a year earlier. 47% more.

COLI reveals that clothing prices have also been hit hard by inflation, which may be the result of supply chain problems associated with the pandemic. The poll includes several items of clothing, all of which are up double digits in Seattle.

The biggest gains came from a pair of well-known brand blue jeans for boys bought from a major department store. According to the latest data, the average price was $ 43.75, up from $ 30.15 a year earlier, an increase of 45%.

Some fast food prices have also gone up dramatically. The price of McDonald’s quarter-pound beer with cheese in Seattle jumped 40% in one year (McDonald’s blamed higher wages and supply costs for the national price hike). A fried chicken sandwich from one of the major fast food chains rose in price in much the same way. But Domino pizza prices rose by a more modest 5%.

Quite a few grocery stores in Seattle have increased significantly in value, but there are others that have fallen in price.

Some of the most significant price spikes in Seattle recorded in the COLI data include the cost of a pound of ribeye steak and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. On the other hand, some commodities, such as a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and a half-gallon of milk, fell double-digit in price.

COLI shows an increase in prices for alcohol and, in particular, for beer. Six packs of Heineken (12 ounces) in Seattle are up 26% year over year.

Expenditures on a number of local services have increased. There are reports of a surge in demand for veterinary services at the local level, and this may explain the 26% increase in the cost of an annual check-up for a healthy young dog.

The cost of home appliance and car overhauls, represented in COLI by washing machine repairs and tire balancing, has also increased in Seattle.

However, one of the most significant drops in prices was for teeth cleaning – by about 15%. The price of a men’s haircut at a barber shop has dropped in much the same way – perhaps stores have cut prices because since many of us have been spending more time at home since the pandemic began, we’ve allowed our grooming habits to loosen a little.

Another point that COLI shows hasn’t gone up despite current inflation: The cost of a digital subscription to your local newspaper in a big city hasn’t changed since last year. Please excuse the shameless fork.