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News Release Information

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area – January 2023

Area prices were down 0.3 percent over the past 2 months, up 4.4 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), decreased 0.3 percent for the 2 months ending in January 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the January decline was the largest bimonthly decrease since March 2020 and was due largely to a decline in the medical care index. The all items less food and energy index, which includes medical care, contributed the most to the decrease as it declined 0.5 percent, while the energy index was down 1.9 percent. These declines were offset by a 1.6-percent rise in the food index. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U index was up 4.4 percent, the smallest price increase since July 2021. The all items less food and energy index was mainly responsible as it rose 3.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Food prices were up 6.5 percent over the year and the energy index increased 10.2 percent over the year. (See table 1.)


The food index rose 1.6 percent over the last 2 months, the same as the November bimonthly increase. Prices for food at home were also up 1.6 percent, while prices for food away from home increased 1.7 percent. Within the food at home category, prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 2.5 percent while cereals and bakery products prices were up 3.5 percent. Prices for eggs advanced over the 2-month period. Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials prices increased 3.8 percent (this index has risen every January for the last 6 years) and the other food at home index increased 0.9 percent. The only grocery category to register a decrease was fruits and vegetables with a 0.4-percent decline, falling slightly after a 3.5-percent increase last November.

Over-the-year, food prices increased 6.5 percent; increases in 2022 ranged from 6.2 percent to 8.9 percent. The 7.6-percent increase for grocery prices was the smallest 12-month increase in the past year, down from the peak of 12.4 percent in July. Prices for food away from home were up 5.1 percent over the year (the same as last November). All grocery categories had price increases from a year ago but generally moderated from previous rates of increase. Prices for dairy and related products were up 16.2 percent, down from the series high of 18.8 percent in July; meats, poultry, fish, and eggs prices increased 7.0 percent and other food at home index had a 5.6-percent rise, well below the series high of 15.6 percent last July.  


In January, the energy index decreased 1.9 percent over the 2-month period due to a 6.5-percent decline in the gasoline index; the last time both indexes rose was July 2022. The utility (piped) gas index increased 9.5 percent and the electricity index registered no change.  

Energy prices continued to moderate, up 10.2 percent over the year, the smallest increase since March 2021. Prices across all energy components were up including electricity which rose 16.4 percent, continuing a trend of bimonthly increases ranging from 10.0 to 19.1 percent since May 2022. The utility (piped) gas service index was up 21.9 percent while gasoline prices increased 1.8 percent, down from the peak of 61.3 percent in June and the smallest change in the index in nearly 2 years.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.5 percent in the 2 months ended in January 2023, the first decline in the index since March 2020. This was mainly because of lower prices for medical care, down 6.7 percent, the largest 2-month decrease since the index began in 1998. A lower medical care services index was responsible for the decline. Prices for public transportation were down while the new and used motor vehicles index had a 0.7-percent decrease caused by lower prices for used cars and trucks (down 3.9 percent). Components of the all items less food and energy index that offset the decreases included shelter (up 0.5 percent), apparel (up 3.3 percent), and recreation (up 0.6 percent). Within shelter, owners’ equivalent rent of residences increased 0.7 percent, rent of primary residence was up 1.0 percent, but lodging away from home declined.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 3.6 percent (the smallest increase since July 2021). This increase was primarily due to a 4.5-percent rise in the shelter index, as a component index, owners’ equivalent rent of residences was up 4.4 percent; both were the highest rise since May 2007. Also in shelter, the index for rent of primary residence advanced 6.2 percent, the greatest increase since September 2002. All other main components of the all items less food and energy index were up over the year. Prices for new and used motor vehicles rose 4.5 percent, and the recreation index had a 3.6-percent increase. Within the new and used motor vehicle index, prices for used cars and trucks were down 11.3 percent, the largest drop since the series began in 2018.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month


0.5 0.8 0.5 1.6 0.7 1.5 0.9 6.0 -0.3 4.4


0.7 1.6 -0.4 0.4 0.7 2.6 1.9 7.3


0.6 1.6 0.1 -0.1 1.3 3.8 1.5 7.5


-0.3 1.2 0.6 0.8 1.2 4.4 1.1 7.5


0.1 0.9 0.6 1.2 0.7 4.5 -0.2 6.5


-0.2 1.5 0.0 1.4 1.2 5.8 0.3 5.6

The March 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is scheduled to be released on April 12, 2023.

Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) a CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. population. The CPI-U includes, in addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Each month, prices are collected in 75 urban areas across the country from about 6,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 retail establishments—department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index.

The index measures price changes from a designated reference date; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000.  Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to obtain a U.S. city average. Because the sample size of a local area is smaller, the local area index is subject to substantially more sampling and other measurement error than the national index. In addition, local indexes are not adjusted for seasonal influences. As a result, local area indexes show greater volatility than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. NOTE: Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices between cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MA-WV, Core Based Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; the counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the county of Jefferson in West Virginia.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from

All items

300.085   299.149 4.4 -0.3  

Food and beverages

295.475   300.246 6.4 1.6  


304.207   309.141 6.5 1.6  

Food at home

287.522 289.262 292.227 7.6 1.6 1.0

Cereals and bakery products

375.761   388.780 8.0 3.5  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

317.415   325.326 7.0 2.5  

Dairy and related products

291.525   295.614 16.2 1.4  

Fruits and vegetables

299.901   298.774 5.2 -0.4  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

244.604   253.918 10.0 3.8  

Other food at home

235.940   237.967 5.6 0.9  

Food away from home

325.158   330.605 5.1 1.7  

Alcoholic beverages

214.179   217.549 4.3 1.6  


308.793   310.474 5.0 0.5  


365.269 366.830 367.096 4.5 0.5 0.1

Rent of primary residence

399.862 402.524 403.934 6.2 1.0 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

373.766 375.594 376.231 4.4 0.7 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

373.766 375.594 376.231 4.4 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

285.436   290.883 15.3 1.9  

Household energy

227.955 228.726 233.225 17.9 2.3 2.0

Energy services

231.228 232.427 237.199 17.9 2.6 2.1


247.885 246.442 247.996 16.4 0.0 0.6

Utility (piped) gas service

185.037 191.135 202.561 21.9 9.5 6.0

Household furnishings and operations

128.019   128.072 2.1 0.0  


153.638   158.712 0.9 3.3  


262.753   256.886 5.4 -2.2  

Private transportation

272.019   268.036 4.9 -1.5  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

124.816   123.914 4.5 -0.7  

New vehicles(1)

228.873   229.051 5.3 0.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

419.747   403.196 -11.3 -3.9  

Motor fuel

341.784 310.448 319.274 2.3 -6.6 2.8

Gasoline (all types)

336.345 305.349 314.350 1.8 -6.5 2.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

328.645 297.622 306.838 1.5 -6.6 3.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

344.639 317.085 322.733 2.7 -6.4 1.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

358.386 331.746 338.201 4.2 -5.6 1.9

Medical care

541.610   505.570 0.3 -6.7  


125.278   126.038 3.6 0.6  

Education and communication(3)

163.136   163.522 1.3 0.2  

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,590.079   1,585.466 5.3 -0.3  

Other goods and services

487.977   489.667 3.3 0.3  

Commodity and service group


210.723   211.450 3.2 0.3  

Commodities less food and beverages

168.495   167.723 1.3 -0.5  

Nondurables less food and beverages

217.048   215.361 1.7 -0.8  


121.826   121.585 0.9 -0.2  


379.675   377.196 5.1 -0.7  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

273.152   271.098 4.2 -0.8  

All items less medical care

288.656   289.501 4.7 0.3  

Commodities less food

170.467   169.809 1.4 -0.4  


255.260   256.691 4.3 0.6  

Nondurables less food

216.227   214.925 1.9 -0.6  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

408.725   400.108 5.4 -2.1  

Services less medical care services

362.893   364.183 5.8 0.4  


283.575 271.610 278.054 10.2 -1.9 2.4

All items less energy

305.661   305.045 4.0 -0.2  

All items less food and energy

307.154   305.582 3.6 -0.5  

(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2023