Cost-of-Living Calculators on the Web: An Empirical Snapshot

Joseph R. Zumalt, Rebecca A. Smith, Yoo Seong Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Employment-related resources have always been a vital part of the reference collection in academic and public libraries. To assist job seekers, the Web is now presenting free and interesting opportunities for collecting cost-of-living data. However, librarians need to be advised of their relevance and reliability. This article looks at four well-known salary and/or cost-of-living calculator commercial Web sites:,,, and The Web sites are compared in terms of value-added content. By presenting the potential salary differences of a hypothetical relocation from one U.S city to twenty-six other U.S. cities, this study identifies the anomalies found when using these calculators. The implication is that librarians should be more thorough in comparing free Web sites before linking them to their Web pages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalReference and User Services Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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