15 Cheapest States to Live in the United States
Want to get more bang for every buck? Consider moving to one of these states, where you’ll find bargain prices on everything from your home to your daily cup of coffee.
The Magnolia state regularly tops the list of the most affordable places to live—and was ranked the third most affordable state in the country for housing, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. It costs about 16 percent less to live here than the average cost nationwide—which is likely due to the fact that it scored dead last among U.S. states for median income. Check out what your state is the best (and worst!) at.
Oklahoma ranks fifth for overall cost of living, thanks to low costs for common goods like groceries. CNBC ranks it as the third most affordable place to live. Oklahoma City remains one of the most affordable big cities—with more than a million population, it still has median rents around $800/month, and median home prices hover around $150,000, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Razorback State ranks third among the most affordable places to live in the United States, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Average home prices are around $320,000, but overall, it’s about 12 percent cheaper to live in Arkansas than in other states. Find out if your state is one of the most stressed out in the country.
The “Show Me State” ranked 6th for affordability, thanks to its second-lowest-in-the-nation housing prices, per CNBC. The median rental is just $759, according to the U.S. Census, and average home price, $246,000. Kansas City, Missouri ranks among the top places to live—and among the cheaper metropolitan cities to live in—according to U.S. News and World Report.
Tennessee may be a good bargain for young families, as it boasts the second-lowest childcare costs in the country, a $2 half-gallon of milk, and it ranks 46th out of the 50 states for the cost of living overall. Consider choo-chooing off to Chattanooga, which has been voted “Best Town Ever” by Outside Magazine twice. Check out the 10 states that people are leaving—and where they’re going.
You’ll likely find a sweet home in Alabama for not a lot of dough. Zillow says the average home price is just $129,000, and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center says Alabama has the cheapest home prices in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranks Huntsville as the 7th best place to live in the country, thanks to its highly educated population and the resurgence of an arts scene, craft breweries and other new businesses downtown.
You’ll be able to afford your own set of ruby slippers if you move to Dorothy Gale’s home state. Kansans spend about 10 percent less than the average American to live in Kansas, and the state ranks 7th in the country for housing affordability. Discover the best-kept secret of every state.
Indiana has some of the cheapest housing in the country, with average home prices right around the $265,000 mark. It ranked tenth in CNBC’s list of the least expensive places to live, thanks to its cheaper gas prices and the influx of new tech jobs to the state. Food & Wine ranked Fort Wayne as a hipster hotspot due to its burgeoning food scene, and an influx of millennials, while U.S. News & World Report gave it the 40th spot on its top places to live ranking.
Michigan’s reputation was built on manufacturing, as the auto industry headquarters and home state of Kelloggs. And Michigan has remained affordable, with its inhabitants spending about 10 percent less than the average American for basic expenses. If you’re looking for a place to settle, consider Grand Rapids, which was ranked the 12th best city in the country by U.S. News & World report, thanks to its popularity as a craft brew mecca and its LGBTQ friendliness. Check out the most iconic movies set in every state.
Steer clear of big-time cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin, and you’ll find plenty of affordable options—like Harlingen, Texas, which CBS ranked as the most affordable place to live in the U.nited States, thanks to a 17 percent lower than average cost of living. But even the big cities may be more affordable than comparable metro areas in other states—in Austin, for example, the median salary is nearly $2,000 more than typical living expenses. Add in the lack of state income tax, and you’ll be living large in the Lone Star state.
Ranked the best state in the whole country by U.S. News and World Report, Iowa is more than just corn farms. You’ll find the legendary state fair, the third best healthcare system, and the fifth best educational system there. And if you’re looking for a place to move, you won’t do much better than Des Moines—which is ranked the fourth best place to live in the country. Check out the 15 best places to move in the United States
Red-hot Atlanta may not be easy on your wallet, but elsewhere, you’ll find bargains galore in this state which sports thriving film production and tech startup scenes, and of course, their famous peaches. It was ranked #9 on CNBC’s most recent “cheapest places to live” list.
The Bluegrass State consistently ranks among the cheaper places to live—it’s currently second in the country for cost of living, and 12th for house affordability—and the lack of state sales tax doesn’t hurt, either. Lexington, which is smack dab in the middle of Kentucky’s storied horse country, is considered one of top 25 cities to live in across the country by U.S. News & World Report, and Louisville ranks in their top 15 cheapest places to live. See which cities are cheapest for you to visit.
West Virginia has the second lowest median income in the country, which helps explain its lower-than-average cost of living. West Virginians pay less than the national average for all but a few miscellaneous expenses and spend about 8 percent less than the average American for their daily expenses.
Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock
Cheap housing costs helped propel this Great Lakes state toward the top of the list. The average house is only $130,900—which is nearly $80,000 less than the national average. Cincinnati, along the Kentucky border, was ranked the 14th most affordable city in the nation by U.S. News and World Report—and comes with a gorgeous new waterfront district that’s perfect for families (and free to visit). Check out these states where your money goes further.