MICHIGAN CITY | The Michigan City area is the second least expensive place to live in the United States, according to a recent study published by the Wall Street Journal.
It listed Dalton, Ga., as the only community where the cost of living is lower than Michigan City-LaPorte.
"It's no surprise," said Ann Dahm, president of the Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce.
More importantly, Dahm said the cost of living here is low in a community that offers so many other advantages including Lake Michigan and close proximity to Chicago, South Bend and resort destinations in Michigan.
She said making the list would not carry much meaning if "you're in the middle of nowhere."
Michigan City, though, is affordable while offering quality of life factors such as the lakefront, a zoo, shopping, a casino and many other attractions just 60 miles from Chicago and 30 miles from South Bend, she said.
Easy access to transportion like the South Shore Railroad and a north end that's undergoing noticeable revitalization are other bonuses to living in such a low-cost community with a still viable manufacturing base.
"It's not just a low cost-of-living issue. It's the value," said Dahm, who uses low cost and quality of life in marketing Michigan City.
The Wall Street Journal article reports the price for goods and services paid by consumers here is 15.7 percent below the national average while the overall cost of living is 86.7 percent below the average nationwide.
The median home cost in Michigan City-LaPorte is 57.8 percent of the national average and the property tax rate is also below the national average by an unspecified figure, according to the article.
The article also cited an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent in April down by nearly two percentage points from January.
Bert Cook, executive director of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp., said home prices here are low due to a glut of residential properties on the market.
In LaPorte, specifically, he said many of the homes on the market were built long ago and lack appeal to many young homebuyers looking for something modern or more suitable to their needs, another factor in the lower prices.
Cook also uses the low cost of living in his efforts to bring more companies here.
"It's an attractive place to live and raise a family both from the quality of living here and also the cost of living," said Cook.
The Wall Street Journal article lists the eight least expensive with the rest being Sandusky, Ohio; Jonesboro, Ark.; Cape Girardeau-Jackson, Miss.; Danville, Ill.; Morristown, Tenn. and Jefferson City, Mo.