According to an online and mobile bill-paying service, Yumans pay the highest household bills out of 11 Arizona communities, and ranks no. 22 nationwide, with an average monthly total of $1,252.
Driven by utility bills almost double the average, the number is 20.7 percent higher than the national average of $1,037 and accounts for 35% of household income in Yuma, said Jim Kreyenhagen, vice president of marketing and consumer services for Seattle-based doxo inc.
The company’s research arm, doxoINSIGHTS, compared bills in nine of the most common categories paid by its 3 million users in 916 areas across the country in the survey, released last week.
Kreyenhagen said the sample size doxo has to work with is what makes it different from other studies.
“We have data that really hasn’t been available before to show the cost of living, or what’s the average bill being paid across the country, based on zip codes and regions. We have a very steady distribution of users throughout the U.S., and Yuma is one of those cities where we have quite a few users,” he said.
Housing costs, one sector where Yuma tends to be on the lower end, were excluded because they’re covered by so many other studies, Kreyenhagen said.
“You’re a bit higher in two categories, and they’re two of the more expensive ones,” he added.
One of them is utilities, including the electricity needed to run the air conditioning residents survive on during the summer.
He said he wasn’t that surprised by that result: “Compared to the national average of $249, you guys came in as $469, and I think you guys in hot environments, you run air conditioning, and it’s just expensive to run that stuff.”
Auto loan payments came in 18 percent higher than the U.S. average, and that could have some kind of tie to the weather too, he said.
“It looks like regions that are sunnier in climates, we see this in L.A. and Florida too, you like your cars,” Kreyenhagen said. “You get nicer cars than people do in certain other environments, and I think you have that, where your auto loans tend to be higher than the rest of the country.”
Yumans on doxo pay 47 percent less than the national average for life insurance, the best deal on any of the nine categories they looked at. Kreyenhagen said that may be because more people buy that through their employers or some other source.
Yuma’s monthly costs are higher than nearby regions, including San Diego’s $1,030 and Phoenix’s $953, he said. El Centro comes closest at $1,134, and Lake Havasu City-Kingman isn’t far behind at $1,033.
The survey also highlights some of the most common entities residents paid bills to which are specific to that region.
For Yuma the list was topped by Far West Sewer and Water, Spectrum, the city of Yuma, Southwest Gas and Aqua Finance, which works with dealers to offer consumers financing on water treatment systems, home improvement, HVAC (air conditioning), recreational vehicles and other high-dollar items.
Yuma tends to be near the average on most cost-of-living surveys, which do usually factor housing in. According to the Sperling’s Best Places website, Yuma’s cost of living index is 94.5, just below the average of 100.
AreaVibes gives Yuma costs a similar rating of 92, with the lowest (and therefore best) score in housing, at 73. PayScale finds the cost of living here 4 percent lower than average, with the comparatively cheapest bills for housing and the highest for utilities and groceries.