Cheapest Places to Live in The US With Low Cost of Living
We understand that saving money for the future is one of the things you prioritize as you start a family or just a single young pro. One of the significant ways to have enough savings is to live where the cost of living affordable.
Your decision on where to live will significantly influence your quality of life. The amount it will cost you to own a home in the Southwest will only get you a 1-bedroom rental apartment in New York.
Good news, many metropolitan areas in the United States offer low cost of living, great potential jobs, and an excellent lifestyle for people from all parts of the world.
Although the cost of living in Texas is very reasonable, as it is home to seven of the most affordable cities in the country, there are still some other states in the country that comes up multiple times on our list. To offer you help on relocating without busting your budget, we have gathered a list of some of the most affordable cities in the United States. Continue reading to determine which cities are the most affordable option for you to live in and the ones you would love to visit the next time you wish to travel.
In this article
Features of the Cost of Living
We don’t just arrive at this list. We considered the average monthly costs of five popular expenses as a parameter for our research. They include:
- Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment
- Utilities such as electricity, water, etc.
Your cost of living can certainly be affected by many factors.
The cost of living of someone who cooks all their meal at home and rides in public transport systems cannot be compared to someone who eats pizza and drives SUV around the city.
The figures in this report are just a guide as we did not factor in lifestyle differences. Find our rankings below.
You have to consider the national average before you can determine the ten most affordable cities in the United States.
Note that the figures consider data from expensive cities like San Francisco and New York, as well as other affordable areas. From research, we discover the following:
|Average Household Income:||$59,039|
|Average List Price for Home:||$254,900|
|Average Price for Home Sale:||$347,825|
|Regular Gasoline Cost Per Gallon:||$2.70|
|Transit Pass Cost per month:||$67|
|Median Commute Time:||25.4 minutes|
|Median Property Tax Burden:||1.15%|
|Tax Rate for Local Sales:||47%|
|Income Tax Rate for State & Local:||9%|
|Utility Cost Index:||100|
|Cost of Living Index:||100|
1. Dothan, Ala.
Although the cost of living in Dothan is lower, it is a beautiful city knowing for hosting two professional barbecue competitions even as a small city in the country. However, Dothan is popularly known for peanuts.
A larger percentage of the peanut crop in the United States is produced and processed in Dothan and is thus regarded as the Peanut Capital of the World. By nature, the annual National peanut festival is observed in this city.
Housing cost in Dothan is about 30% lower to the national housing average. Healthcare, transportation, and utilities are also lower there from 10 to 13%.
The price of grocery items in Dothan is only 1% expensive, and so it is difficult to spot the difference at checkout.
Although the cost of living index doesn’t factor in the price of peanuts, we assume it will come cheaper in the city.
|Cost of Living:||15.2% lower compared to U.S. Avg|
|Avg Household Income:||$43,316|
|Avg Home Value:||$143,800|
2. Temple, Texas
The city is located about 65 miles north of Austin, and it begins as a 19th-century railroad town but has developed to a modern city today.
You will find many regional medical centers in the city as well as distribution and logistics companies due to its location in Central Texas.
Your bank account is safe in Temple, regardless of your profession.
In general, the cost of living here is 15% lower than the national average. Utilities in Temple are a bit higher as well as healthcare at 9% higher; however, the cost of other stuff makes up for it.
The average cost of a house in Temple is $230,724 compared to $347,825, which is the national average.
In Temple, the average cost of a half-gallon of milk is $1.13 compared to the national average at $1.93.
Residents spend around 10% less on transportation in Temple. Joe Greene, a defensive tackle at the NFL Hall of Fame is born and brought up in this city.
|Cost of Living:||15.0% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$49,970|
|Average Home Value:||$132,200|
3. Decatur, Ala
This is another Alabama city on this list with an affordable cost of living. Decatur is a city in Alabama located in the east of the Tennessee River after Florence; and it has excellent outdoor activities, low cost of living, and many cultural diversions.
The city enjoys boosts in its economy from the Marshall Space Flight Center owned by NASA close to Huntsville and its ever-busy port on the Tennessee River.
The economy is also helped by Tourism in places like the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge as well as festivals like the Hot Air Balloon Classic in Alabama.
All these are available to residents without affecting their budget.
Housing cost in Decatur is about 40% lower compared to the national average.
The rental of an apartment here is half the price of what an average American pays monthly.
The price of things like pizza, dry cleaning, and haircuts are relatively cheaper in Decatur.
You can also check out Hartselle, as it is just about 10 miles south of the city.
|Cost Of Living:||14.7% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$43,176|
|Average Home Value:||$130,600|
4. Anniston, Ala.
Anniston (another city with the lowest cost of living) is just an hour’s drive away to the east of Birmingham.
Most mountain bikers, hikers, and other outdoor people enjoy this city due to its closeness to the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge.
This city is where you will find The Big Chair, which is a 33-ft tall office chair that was previously recognized by Guinness World Records.
However, the low cost of living in Anniston has a downside, and this is the frequent occurrence of violent crime.
The unemployment rate in the city is higher than the national average. Although the average income here is about $25,000 lower than the national average, however, costs of housing and apartment values here will compensate for that.
Some parts of Anniston see their housing cost and home value as expensive even though Anniston is the county seat.
There are charming architectural places in Anniston, such as historic churches and Victorian homes while the economic view could be discouraging.
|Cost Of Living:||14.7% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$32,070|
|Average Home Value:||$95,700|
5. Springfield, Mo.
The cost of living in Springfield, which is the place of birth of Route 66 and popularly known as Queen City of the Ozarks, is 14% lower than the national average.
The citizens are able to save huge money on housing costs as it is over 30% lower than the national housing average.
The average home value is about $82,000 lower than the national average.
The median home price set at $241,713 is still over $100,000 lower than the national average in the U.S.
Renting an apartment here is about 30% cheaper. Savings on utilities, groceries, and transportation are also easy in Springfield.
Healthcare in the city is a bit costlier than the national average.
The culture in Springfield is modern enough to compete with others, even though it is not the largest city in Missouri.
Some of what the city offers include Springfield Ballet, Springfield Opera, and Springfield Symphony.
This is where the State University is also located.
|Cost Of Living:||14.1% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$34,775|
|Average Home Value:||$111,600|
6. Danville, Ill
Danville is located about 120 miles to the south of Chicago, and it is a small city where Donald O’ Connor, Dick Van Dyke, Bobby Short, and Gene Hackman all once lived.
Abraham Lincoln spent 18 years in Danville practicing law. Over twelve sites are commemorating the time he spent in the city.
The city was known for coal mining in the 20th century before the coal industry was out of business after the Second World War (WW) II.
The major employers in the city today include grocery distributors Mclane or Midwest, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Prices are regulated in Danville due to the unemployment rate, low average income, and home values.
Housing costs such as mortgages and rents are 37% lower to the national average.
House in Danville cost an average of $216,209 compared to the national average of $347,825.
|Cost Of Living:||14.0% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$36,410|
|Average Home Value:||$64,700|
7. Florence, Ala
Florence is located in the northwest region of Alabama along the Tennessee River; just about 2 hours’ drive away from Birmingham.
Aside from the birth of Helen Keller in Florence, it also houses many other attractions. The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where The Rolling Stones recorded the hit songs Brown Sugar and Wild Horses is located in Florence.
The only house in Alabama designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a legendary architect, is located in Florence. The University of Alabama is also located in Florence.
Fortunately for residents, all these attractions still come at affordable prices. Housing costs are almost 30% lower than the national average in the United States.
For instance, the average cost of apartment rental is $595 compared to the national average of over $1,000. Healthcare in Florence costs about 20% less.
All the important expenses considered by the cost of the living index also cost a bit.
|Cost Of Living:||14.0% Below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$37,843|
|Average Home Value:||$126,600|
8. Fayetteville, Ark
Living in Fayetteville is quite good and affordable. This city, although small, located deep inside the Ozarks; always make the list of best places to reside in the United States.
The city houses the University of Arkansas as well as closer to Bentonville, where the largest retailer in the world (WALMART) is located.
The city is fast becoming a metropolitan area, and the unemployment rate is reducing with the help of those institutions. Regardless, Fayetteville is still cheap for both civilians and students to live.
Even though the average income of this city is the largest on this list, its housing cost is still 27% lower to the national average.
Transportation, healthcare, and groceries in Fayetteville are also not expensive.
|Cost Of Living:||13.5% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$41,158|
|Average Home Value:||$193,000|
9. Texarkana, Texas-Ark.
These two cities contain the most affordable real estate to reside in the United States, most especially when considering greater expenses.
Housing costs in the cities is around 29% lower than the national average. Renting an apartment goes for an average of $700 in this fenced city while the national average here is over $1,000.
Residents are of Texarkana and Texas-Arkpay 10% less than what an average American pays on transportation and utilities. Healthcare and groceries here are also less expensive.
The cost of living index states that a visit to the doctor would cost an average of $99.61 in Texarkana while the national average is at $110.28.
Twelve eggs cost a national average of $1.80 while it costs $1.38 in Texarkana.
|Cost Of Living:||13.4% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$47,722|
|Average Home Value:||$116,500|
10. Lynchburg, Va
This city is located below the popular Blue Ridge Mountains and is where Liberty University, which is also the largest employer in the city, is located.
Lynchburg has varieties of businesses and industries in it, which makes it more than a town known for just the college.
The prospect of getting a job in Lynchburg is positive, and the unemployment rate in the city is lower compared to the national average, and thus it ranks closer to the top on the list of well-being index by Gallup.
Lynchburg residents don’t pay much on housing compared to what the national average requires.
The cost of transportation and groceries is around 15% lower than what an average American citizen pays.
Citizens are saving about 6% on healthcare in Lynchburg. There are still some expensive things in Lynchburg.
The costs of beer and wine in the city are higher than the national average, so are utility bills as well.
|Cost Of Living:||13.0% below U.S. Average|
|Average Household Income:||$41,971|
|Average Home Value:||$153,800|
|Unemployment Rate:||3.7% (United States: 3.8%)|
There is an announcement by Northwest Arkansas that it will pay new residents $10,000 to relocate to an area that was known as one of the best liveable places in the continent. All thanks to the low cost of living, world-class institutions, arts, outdoor activities, as well as a per capita income that is above the national average by 14%.
Zurich, Hong Kong, and Paris are the most expensive cities to live in, as reported by a two-time yearly survey of 138 goods and services in about 130 cities. The last report released in March 2020 shows Osaka, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong tied for the first position.
Florida scores the highest mark for the state to retire, based on the report by a financial firm, but you should consider more factors before you relocate there. The best site for retired people to live these days is also on the list of states many Americans want to stay away from, at least for the moment.
Generally, houses in Texas are so for two major reasons. Firstly, land in Texas is cheaper. There is just more than enough of it, and the majority of it is not being used for any other reason, such as crop plantation. Secondly, wages in Texas are so much lower, leading to lower prices in most areas.
Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Florida, California, Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Georgia, Idaho, Hawaii, Hawaii, and so on don’t charge tax on Social Security.
A gallon of milk in California will cost you $3.80, and $4.34 for a loaf of bread. Large eggs cost $3.45 per dozen, and cheese cost $5.77 per 16 oz. To get skinless, boneless chicken breasts, be ready to spend $5.42 per pound. A frugal consumer should add $500 into his/her monthly budget to buy food in Los Angeles.
The states with the best income to cost of living ratio are Michigan, Alabama, Huntsville, and Kalamazoo. The metropolitan area that has the lowest cost of living is Harlingen, Texas.
While we all have different circumstances, a lot of experts say spending up to 30% of your monthly gross salary on expenses related to housing, rent, and utilities is the best. On the contrary, if your monthly income is $2,000, it is best to spend no more than $600 on rent and other housing-related costs.
For a family of 4 in California, a monthly income of $6,528 or a yearly income of $78,336 would be required to meet their living expenses. A family of 2 adults will aim for an annual income of $49, 078 while spending an estimated $4,090 on housing, food, and other essentials every month.
A suggestion given by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is to spend a minimum of 25% of your monthly gross salary on your rent. For instance, if your salary each year is $30,000 per annum, or $2,500 every month, your monthly budget for rent shouldn’t exceed $625.
It is important to weigh the cost of living in your current town with the cities on this list to determine if it is worth picking up and relocating to any of them. While the cities on this list are all large, affordable, dynamic, and impressive with stable or developing economies, cultural attractions, and strong social institutions, ensure you weigh every option available to you.
There are also many cities that didn’t make the list so you can look out for them if you still feel like you need more. Knowing where to look is the key to locating affordable places to start or continue your life.
When you are done searching and chosen one city to move to, don’t forget to look into our network of national moving companies to help you with your move. Do you think one or two cities are missing on this list? Let us know in the comment box!