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The cost of living in southern Utah is relatively stable, but the most recently collected data indicate that costs in St. George have escalated, while Cedar City costs are climbing more slowly.

Alan Hamlin, professor of business at Southern Utah University, notes that preliminary study data collected for the third quarter of 1995 show an upward spike in southern Utah prices, especially in St. George. "The data compiled in early July for the third quarter indicate that there has been continued upward pressure on prices in St. George. Overall prices rose at an 8.36 percent annual pace in St. George and a 2.64 percent annual rate in Cedar City."Complete information for the first quarter of 1995 shows a different picture. The composite cost of living for St. George for that quarter was 100.2 on an indexed scale (or 100.2 percent of the national average cost). That is slightly lower than the previous quarter's 102.2.

Cedar City's composite costs were 94.0, up slightly from the 92.7 registered a quarter earlier.

Other Utah cities and their first quarter 1995 costs include Provo, 96.3; Logan, 101.4; and Salt Lake City, 100.9. All Utah cities were within about eight percent of each other, regardless of the rural or urban nature of the area, according to Hamlin. The cost of living in selected out-of-state cities was Las Vegas, 105.6; Flagstaff, Ariz., 107.8; Denver, 105.3; Los Angeles, 122.0; and San Diego, 122.8.

Hamlin's study, funded jointly by WECCO, the Five County Association of Governments, St. George and Cedar City, results in quarterly data, which is then included in the Cost of Living Index, published by the American Chamber of Commerce Researcher's Association. Costs for cities around the nation can then be compared.

The breakdown of individual first quarter categories for St. George includes food, 100.3; housing, 109.6; utilities, 79.2; transportation, 104.8; health care, 93.6; and miscellaneous, 97.2.

Cedar City's equivalent costs are food, 100.6; housing, 84.0; utilities, 87.2; transportation, 104.0; health care 97.9; and miscellaneous, 97.4.