Cost of Living

May 31, 2019

Costs of living in our towns depend in part upon ages of our neighbors. Here are median ages in nearby communities in 2017.

Median Age (Years)

Median refers to the middle number when all ages are arranged from oldest to youngest.

The graph suggests three levels of median age. The oldest were in Los Olivos and Santa Ynez. The next level includes Buellton and Solvang. The youngest were in Los Alamos and the United States.

Higher median household incomes accompany older ages in our towns. Median household incomes in 2017 were Los Olivos, $106,462; Santa Ynez, $92,417; Buellton, $77,412; Solvang, $73,373; Los Alamos, $64,484; and United States, $57,652.

Notice that Los Olivos had both the top median age and the top median household income, Santa Ynez had the second highest of both, and so on. We see a perfect positive correlation between the two sets of variables.


A cliche among statisticians says that correlation is not causation, meaning that one set of closely correlated numbers does not necessarily cause the other. Observation tells us that income seems very unlikely to cause age, while higher age alone seldom causes higher household income.

One general pattern of incomes across the cycle of life in the United States is a likely source of the perfect positive correlation of household income with age in our towns. Incomes usually tend to rise from early adulthood to an age of fifty years or more, and then decline as retirement takes place.

Probably we can find lower costs of living in places where median ages of our neighbors are lower. Yet all our towns had median ages greater than that of the United States. We live in a high cost part of the country.

Please go online to Census Bureau, American Community Survey, for details of median age by place, and median household income by place. See online Google Scholar for citations on lifecycle income.

Posted in Dr. Ken Hardwood.