The Cost of Living Map produced with data from The Council for Community and Economic Research allows you to quickly compare the costs of living in U.S. cities. To use the map simply select two cities from the drop-down menu on the map. After making your selections you will see a graphic and an indication of which city is more expensive. The comparison is based on the costs of housing, healthcare, utilities, groceries, and transportation.
The screenshot below is the comparison of Portland, ME and Portland, OR.
Applications for Education
My first thought when seeing this map was that I would use it as the jumping-off point for an assignment in which students research the factors that contribute to increases or decreases in the costs of living in the cities that they choose on the map.
H/T to Larry Ferlazzo and Google Maps Mania.