Are you in the market for a home but are tired of skyrocketing housing prices? If your job allows you to be location-independent, these are the cheapest places to live in the U.S. to consider moving to.
U.S. News & World Report ran a study on the cheapest places to live in America based on data from the FBI, U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. News’ personal data.
Four primary factors went into U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, with several weighted subfactors. The primary factors included:
- Quality of life
- Value index
- Desirability index
- Job market index
These were the results.
1. Hickory, North Carolina
Hickory is the cheapest place to live in the U.S. Not only do Hickory’s residents get to enjoy extra money in their pocket compared to many Americans, but its stunning mountain scenery makes it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts.
2: Youngstown, Ohio
Youngstown residents have a new and more exciting reputation than being a Rust Belt city; Youngstown is the second-cheapest place to live in the U.S. In recent years, there’s been an influx of restaurants and shops arriving downtown, and the city isn’t far from Pittsburgh and Cleveland for residents craving a dose of larger city life.
3: Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio Metro Area
It may be a mouthful, but the Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio metro area gives residents-to-be extra bang for their buck, as they get to choose from several affordable and charming downtown areas. All of these places are located on the Ohio River.
4: Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is making a name for itself, being the proud home of a NASA center and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal. It just so happens this up-and-coming city is also one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Snag a home quickly, though, for it may not last much longer.
5: Fort Wayne, Indiana
People who don’t mind cold winters may feel right at home in Fort Wayne, and their wallets will thank them. The Indiana city offers many affordable options for people purchasing a starter home, and its many quiet neighborhoods make it good for raising children.
6: Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a lively city with lots of entertainment, art, and cultural venues. Thanks to its proximity to Interstate 10, Beaumont residents can enjoy living in one of the cheapest places in the U.S. while being a short drive from Houston, Lake Charles, and other visit-worthy spots.
7: Peoria, Illinois
Peoria may not have the architectural charm of Chicago, but it’s a cute and thriving city in its own right. Most importantly? You’ll be able to snag cheaper prices downtown than in many touristy parts of Chicago.
8: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Football lovers, rejoice! That is, if you’re a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay is among the top ten cheapest places to live in America, giving you more wiggle room in your budget to attend NFL games.
9: Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois
The Quad Cities are another opportunity to enjoy lots of affordable city choices in a small area. Don’t let its name fool you, the quad cities have five cities along the Mississippi River. They include:
- Davenport, Iowa
- Bettendorf, Iowa
- Rock Island, Illinois
- Moline, Illinois
- East Moline, Illinois
Phew, that’s a lot of options!
10: Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville rounds out the top ten most affordable cities in the U.S. Although many people think of it as a college town, downtown Knoxville is charming and incredible hiking opportunities are a short drive away.
11: Spartanburg, South Carolina
If you’re a fan of the Denny’s restaurant chain, pack your bags: Spartanburg is home to Denny’s headquarters and is a cheap place to live. Instead of driving around town, consider hopping on a bike instead, for the city is easy to navigate on two wheels.
12: Greenville, South Carolina
It’s hard to beat the views in and around Greenville with its Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop. Manufacturing jobs have been on the rise in Greenville, allowing residents to earn a decent living while enjoying a low cost of living.
13: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Fayetteville is another city that’s seen exponential growth in recent years. Luckily for people wanting a cheap place to move, the cost of living hasn’t skyrocketed there (yet).
14: South Bend, Indiana
South Bend is famous for being home to the University of Notre Dame. But luckily for Americans who are scoping out cheap places to live, the city hasn’t experienced an influx of affluent people driving up the prices. Although South Bend left a lot to be desired after large manufacturers closed in the late 20th century, the downtown area along the St. Joseph River has been undergoing revival.
15: Brownsville, Texas
Not only is Brownsville a great place to live for its low cost of living, but its location where Texas meets Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico will make wanderlusts feel that travel is in their own backyards. People who want to learn Spanish or enjoy authentic Mexican food will also appreciate the opportunities that Brownsville offers.
16: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem joins several Southern cities as being one of the cheapest places in the U.S. While the city is well-known for its diversity and international cuisine, it’s maintained a smaller feel and less population growth compared to other big cities in North Carolina.
17: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is no longer the dirtiest city in America it had a reputation for, but its affordability may trick outsiders into believing that’s still the case. The heart of downtown Chattanooga revolves around its riverfront, and many small businesses thrive there.
18: Lafayette, Louisiana
Festivals, zydeco music, and a low cost of living are some of the wonderful attributes residents who live in Lafayette get to enjoy. The city has a long history rooted in Cajun and Creole communities.
19: Springfield, Missouri
Springfield has a lot going for it, including the affordable lifestyle it gives its residents. The city is the birthplace of the famous Route 66, boasts many green spaces, and is nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks.”
20: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is no longer the world’s oil capital, but it’s one of the cheapest cities in the U.S., which is likely good enough in many locals’ eyes. The city is excellent for those looking for a smaller town feel, as it has a small metro area.
21: Toledo, Ohio
The “Glass City” offers a clear picture of affordability compared to most American cities. People wanting access to larger city happenings will appreciate that Detroit and Cleveland are a short drive from Toledo.
22: Dayton, Ohio
Dayton paves the way for Americans to live a comfortable life without breaking the bank while also paving the way for health: The city offers 350+ miles of paved biking trails. History buffs will appreciate that it has a long history in aviation.
23: Little Rock, Arkansas
Whether history, hiking, or a rich culinary scene is your thing, Little Rock provides many options for its residents’ interests. Although it’s not the cheapest place to live in the U.S., Little Rock’s affordability is still outstanding compared to most American cities.
24: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If you thought a Mid-Atlantic city couldn’t make the list of the cheapest places to live in America, think again. Pittsburgh is more affordable than most cities of similar size while offering its residents job opportunities in technology, education, and more.
25: Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery rounds out the top 25 cheapest places to live in the U.S., with the Alabama city boasting an entertainment district, arts scene, and jobs in civil rights tourism. Residents wanting to catch some sun can also drive to beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in a little over three hours.
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