Saturday, April 1, 2023
April 1, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

The price of inflation in Clark County

Columbian reporters break down how, where costs have increased – and where they’ve stabilized

The Columbian
success iconThis article is available exclusively to subscribers like you.

Rent. Food. Utilities. Education. Just about everything is getting more expensive in Clark County.

Prices rose by 6 percent nationally in the 12 months ending in February, down from 6.8 percent the year before.

Local inflation rates are more difficult to grasp overall, but reporting by Columbian staffers determined how much more costly each of these local necessities have become over the course of about a year.

Some of the most localized data comes from Seattle, where the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Consumer Price Index is the closest representation of Vancouver’s cost of living, according to Clark County regional economist Scott Bailey.


Food prices, including grocery and restaurant purchases, have risen 11.3 percent since December 2021, according to the latest Consumer Price Index measure for the Seattle area.

Consumers paid more for cereal and bakery products, which increased by 3.2 percent in the last two months of the year and by 17.8 percent since 2021.

The index showed that the price for meats, poultry, fish and eggs fell 2.1 percent over the last two months of the year. They showed no increase in 2022, but they had jumped by 22.5 percent the year before.

Dairy-related products rose by 15.9 percent over 2022, while fruits and vegetables rose by 6 percent.

The total food increase did seem to slow near the end of the year, advancing just 0.8 percent for the last two months of 2022.

Restaurant owners are seeing their costs rise. Restaurant-specific food increased by 15 percent, according to the index.

“Restaurant costs have increased across the board at such an alarming rate over the past few years,” said Mychal Dynes, owner of Little Conejo in Vancouver. “When I speak to colleagues in the industry, we are all trying to avoid raising prices because most of us feel like we just recently did.”

—Sarah Wolf


Last year, Vancouver rental rates outpaced the national average, ranking the 10th highest nationwide. Average Vancouver rents increased by 5.6 percent, compared with the national average of 3 percent and statewide average of 1.6 percent, according to

Vancouver rents have risen by 28.3 percent since the pandemic started three years ago.

As of February, the average rent is $1,507 for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, an 8 percent increase from the previous year, according to data from A two-bedroom averages $1,695 — an 11 percent year-over-year increase.

Vancouver home prices, meanwhile, rose at the eighth-fastest rate in the state in the past year.

Fifty-two percent of homes in the city are owner-occupied, according to Zumper, and the average home sells for $553,800 as of January — a 6.7 percent increase compared with 2022.

Demand was also high for homes in Vancouver. According to Redfin, home sales were considered “somewhat competitive” in 2022 and sold on average in 30 days — this drove the median house price to $475,000, according to Redfin data — a $25,000 increase from the start of the year to the end.

—Mia Ryder-Marks


Clark County residents are also seeing prices rise for most of their utilities. In January the city of Vancouver raised utility prices by an average of $5.50 for water, sewer and stormwater services.

Waste Connections increased trash and recycling rates in Vancouver between 3.3 percent and 7.4 percent for the eight most common resident services in the last year.

NW Natural announced a price hike of $16 per month for an average residential customer from November through March 2023, when yearly natural gas use is typically at its highest.

While residential customers are seeing a modest increase, the average small-commercial NW Natural customer has seen a gas price increase of about $54 more per month.

Clark Public Utilities is not anticipating any rate increases for its electric and water customers. According to a statement from Nancy Barnes, president of the Clark Public Utilities Board of Commissioners, the utility has not increased rates in a dozen years.

—Carlos Fuentes


Tuition rates for higher education increased at a slightly higher rate in 2022 compared with previous years.

At Clark College, the cost of tuition for an average in-state student increased by 6.62 percent in 2022. Average out-of-state students saw tuition increase 4.35 percent in 2022.

At Washington State University Vancouver, tuition increased by 2.26 percent. Full-time in-state students paid an average of $11,306 per year in 2022, compared with $11,056 in 2021.

For property owners in the Vancouver area, combined school tax rates decreased slightly in 2022.

Those living within the Evergreen Public Schools boundaries saw a decrease from $3.90 to $3.79 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Those living within the Vancouver Public Schools boundaries to the west saw a similar decrease from $3.71 to $3.59 per $1,000 of assessed value. Vancouver voters recently approved a replacement educational operations levy, which will begin collections in 2024.

—Griffin Reilly


Gasoline prices decreased slightly from 2022 to 2023. The average price per gallon for unleaded in Vancouver, according to AAA, was $3.7536 on Jan. 1, down from $3.8007 one year earlier.

Diesel prices are about a dollar more expensive per gallon now than last year, snapping up $4.8677 per gallon on Jan. 1 from $3.8266 a year before.

Transit costs held steady, and even dropped to zero for some riders. C-Tran’s board of directors approved an extension of the transit agency’s reduced fares indefinitely in December, keeping the local bus fare for adults at $1 per ride, down from $1.80, and express fare at $2.50 per ride, down from $3.85.

In September, C-Tran’s board of directors also approved the expansion of the transit agency’s youth opportunity pass program to provide free transit access to all riders 18 and younger.

—William Seekamp

Internet and cable

Xfinity customers are also paying more this year. Comcast raised its rates for almost every fee effective Jan. 1, with an increase of about 4 percent nationally.

Comcast is the only cable provider in Vancouver and unincorporated Clark County and services Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield and Washougal.

The Broadcast TV fee went up from $22.65 to $28.95. Choice TV Select and Choice TV Select with the TV Box went up from $32.50 to $37.50 and $40 to $46.50, respectively. Acorn TV On Demand rose from $5.99 to $6.99.

Connect rose from $60 to $61. Connect More rose from $70 to $73. Fast went up from $80 to $83, while Superfast went from $90 to $93. Gigabit Extra and Gigabit both rose from $110 to $113 and from $100 to $103, respectively. The internet and voice equipment rental rose by a dollar to $15.

The TV Box and TV adapter for primary TV rose from $7.50 to $9. Installation rose to $100 from $99. Meanwhile, the autopay and paperless discount declined from $10 to $5. The regional sports fee went up to $9.35 from $8.75.

—Sarah Wolf