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San Diego

The cost of living in San Diego was 16.4% above the nation’s average during the first three months of 1985, according to a recently released survey by the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Assn.

Among 14 metropolitan areas with populations over 500,000 covered in the survey, San Diego’s overall cost-of-living index was exceeded only by New York, which was 34.4% higher than the average, and Los Angeles, 16.6% higher. Among the areas ranking immediately below San Diego were Philadelphia (14.0% higher), San Jose (12.1%), Houston (9.0%) and Phoenix (4.7%).

However, several urban areas were not included in the survey, including San Francisco and Orange County.

Researchers found that San Diegans’ bills were 61.1% higher than the national average for housing, 27.3% higher for transportation, 25% higher for health care, and 2.3% higher for miscellaneous goods and services. The grocery bills were 3.6% below average, while utility bills were 22.2% below average--even though San Diego Gas & Electric’s cost per kilowatt hour is among the highest in the country.

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